10 Camera Presence Tricks to Look Confident on Camera

Published | Jun 9, 2023

You see your favorite video creators and YouTubers online and they seem to have it all together and they are SUPER confident on camera. You might even watch one of my videos and think dang, his videos is so polished and he seems to have all his s*** together.

I want you to make videos that leave others saying the same thing, so I am sharing 10 tricks with you to Look more Confident on camera.

Remember that there is always more than meets the eye.

Trick 1.) Plan Ahead.

I know this is so unsexy and old school but it is my secret sauce to making great videos and looking confident on camera on a regular basis. This is a big one so I won’t be rushing through it. As a wise man once said…

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

– Benjamin Franklin

There are a lot of ways to plan ahead when it comes to video production, but here are some of my favorites:

“Write a Script” – wait dan a script? Like I am going to have to memorize lines like an actor? I can’t do that. No, you don’t have to memorize a script, BUT you do need to write one. This can come in many forms like a literal script read from a teleprompter or a bullet point list that you can reference every so often to keep you on track. I’ve even seen people use sticky notes with topics on them so they can glance over and know what to talk about next. No matter how you write your script it will make the final product better.

“Schedule Your Filming Time” – I film my content on Sunday’s because it is the best day for me for several reasons.

  1. I have the house to myself on Sunday’s and can lock in for a good chunk of time and film more than 1 video.
  2. It is the quietest day in my neighborhood (unlike Monday’s when 5 different garbage companies send their trucks through the neighborhood and all I hear is banging and squealing brakes from 7am to 7PM – woosah.
  3. Planning ahead can also look like making sure your studio is clean and everything is set up and ready to go for the shoot. For me it’s Batteries are charged, scripts are loaded into my teleprompter and I am looking and feeling my best for the shoot.

“Batch Your Efforts”. After decades of professional video production experience I will promise you that it is UNFATHOMABLY easier to write 5 scripts and then film 5 videos, and then edit 5 videos and then publish 5 videos than it is to release 5 videos 1 video at a time. Please just trust me on this one. If you look at my production schedule I film on Sundays, write on Mondays, Edit on Thursdays, and Schedule My Videos on the weekends. This is what keeps me sane and more importantly consistent!

Trick 2.) Speak Conversationally

Now I know what you are thinking. Okay Dan you said script everything and now you are saying to be conversational? What gives? I admit that this is something that develops and becomes easier over time BUT if you keep it top of mind while you speak, your brain will start to behave in a way that is conducive to being conversational.

Sometimes I like to pretend I am answering someones question or just having a chat about what I know with someone at a coffee shop. There is a huge difference between saying “Schedule Your Filming Time For Best Results” and “be sure to schedule your filming time, I film on Sundays because I have the house to myself AND it’s the quietest day in my neighborhood, unlike Monday’s when the garbage trucks run all day. ugh” – it’s just way more conversational and part of what makes it conversational is that it is based in story which brings me to…

Trick 3.) Be a Storyteller

I want to point out that there is a big difference between a “Story Doer” someone who thinks story is some thing to be “done” or a framework used where you just fill in the blanks and deploy and a “Storyteller” which is someone who shares experiences and creates relatability with their audience with tools like metaphor, analogy, and idioms often based on their own life experiences. Story is something to keep top of mind as you write your scripts and decide how you are going to share information with your audience. Check out the different between these two paragraphs.

“An article on the power of storytelling stated that you connect better with an audience if you tell stories as opposed to just stating facts. It went on to say that humans relate strongly to story because stories help us understand complex ideas and filter the intricate and complicated world around us.”

VS.

“You know, the other day I was wondering why humans relate so strongly to storytelling. So I started to research this idea and ran across a really interesting article that broke down some of the elements in a way that was really impactful. As I poured over the page the words jumped off the screen and I started to realize how stories help us communicate and understand complex ideas. They give us the power to connect quickly with our audience and they make our experiences something that other humans can easily relate to. It really started to sink in as I read that stories keep us sane by helping us filter the intricate and complicated world around us.”

Did you FEEL the difference?

Trick 4.) Get in the Reps

Yes, another boring trick. Repetition is the one part I can’t even do for my paying clients and students. Camera Confidence is a muscle and just like a muscle you need to exercise it for it to become stronger. But it needs to be purposeful exercise. Just like if you were trying to grow your biceps you wouldn’t just do random weightlifting moves, you would do exercises like curls, you need to focus your efforts when growing your camera confidence muscles. If you EVER hear someone say, just make your first 100 videos – they will be bad and that is ok… think twice before following that advice. Actively seeking out critique and feedback from trusted friends, other creators, your audience and even professionals like myself is the perfect way to avoid “Faking it until you make it”. Instead “make it, test it, hone it, and make it again until you make it”

This is the exact reason I created the Video Sandbox, a place where you can test ideas and video content and receive loving critiques and feedback from peers and professionals like myself all in a safe and nurturing environment.

Another great way to get in the reps is to use my “Hear no Evil, See no Evil” exercise. Film yourself, whether its a short 60 second test video on your smartphone or a rough draft of an upcoming YouTube video and then do this.

  1. Watch your video in it’s entirety and take some notes while you critique yourself. How is the pacing? Does your video hold your attention? Is it coherent and easy to understand? Did you behave like a storyteller in your video?
  2. Turn away from the screen or turn your phone away from you and just “Listen” to your video. Takes notes, How does the pacing seem now? Are you rushing or speaking too slowly? Does your video sound conversational? Would YOU want to listen to that person for 5 minutes straight?
  3. Now Watch your video again but this time with the sound OFF. Take notes, how is your demeanor? Are you talking with your hands? Does your body language make sense with the content you are sharing? AND is your final edit keeping you visually engaged. Are the cuts frequent enough or so frequent they are distracting? Are you using B-Roll or on screen animations to drive home your points? Are there any pattern interruptions along the way to keep things interesting?

Take action on your notes, list your bad habits and squash them over time and reinforce the things you are doing well. Double down on those!

Keep in mind we are always striving to hit the Big 4 in our videos. Are we making videos that are Educational, Inspirational, Entertaining, and Practical?

Two of those are the minimum, Three is a great video, and Four is a masterpiece.

Trick 5.) Know Your SH*T

Like you have to REALLY know your shit inside and out. I know my audience and they are entrepreneurs and professionals and if they are in business serving others they better really know their sh*t anyway, right? If you confidently know your area of expertise in real life, it will show on camera. If you know the point of the video you are trying to make, it will show on camera. If you’ve researched, scripted, planned ahead and got in the reps, it will show on camera. If you are just making it up, playing it by ear, throwing it all together off the top of your head, improvising, faking it until you make it… If you’re just winging it, it will show on camera!

Beyond just being a subject matter expert, if you have all the other elements of making great videos in line, all the tricks we are talking about today, you will come across confidently on camera!

Trick 6.) Film One Long Clip

Many people are surprised to know that I film between 22-28 minutes for one of my 4-5 minute videos. This is a simple thing, but really powerful when you record your videos, just hit record and go until you’re done. It’s so much easier to edit one long clip as opposed to 20 shorter ones. Plus, it keeps you from having to get up and down outta your seat a bunch of times to hit record and stop. How does this help you look more confident On camera, you might say, well, now you can go into your shoots knowing that all you have to do is deliver your thoughts. 3-6 sentences at a time is enough to have a smooth edit when you are complete. Yes, you’ll still make mistakes and Yes, you’ll flub and have to start sentences over, but you will find a groove and you’ll only use the best parts in your final video anyway, and that brings Comfort and Confidence.

Pro Tip: To make editing easier I record a single snap near my microphone before I deliver a take and then double snap after I’ve delivered a take that I’m really happy with. If I am not thrilled with the take I snap once which lines me up for the next take. Then when I’m looking at my audio or wave form of my video clip in my timeline, I know that any part where I see one snap, this peak here followed by two snaps, these two peaks here, then the space between them is a usable take which saves me a ton of time not having to watch back all my bad takes.

Trick 7.) Edit Before You Edit

Put yourself together before you ever hit record. This will look differently for everyone, of course, but I think we all know what we do to help ourselves feel our best.
I’m not saying you have to put on a full face of makeup or wear a three piece suit, but you could treat creating video content like you’re going to catch up with an old friend you haven’t seen for a while for dinner. And wouldn’t you wanna go out looking and feeling your best. The video version of this could be clothes you’re comfortable in and your filming space being clean and ready to go.

I know I feel my best when my head has a fresh shave and I don’t have those old bald guy hair patches on either side of my head, plus a freshly shaven head feels pretty amazing. Anyway, if you’ve never tried it, you should totally shave your head. 🤣

I also have pretty dark areas around my eyes, and I proudly wear makeup every time I’m going to be on camera, whether it’s giving a workshop, being on a Zoom call or making a YouTube video, it evens out my skin a bit and it cuts down on the glare that a bald head can give when you’re using lights in my studio. And it just makes me feel more confident. So whatever your version is, don’t be afraid to edit yourself before you edit your video.

Trick 8.) Be Yourself

My saying for others when they ask me how is it that I come across so authentic is “Be Yourself SO HARD that nobody else can touch it.”

When you create content and you put your whole self into it, your style, your vibe, your brand will start to shine through. I always say I am lazy and THAT is why I am authentic. Yeah, I am so lazy that I don’t have the time or energy to put into creating a persona for anyone. I have to spend that energy in more important places. So you get what you get. Jeans, T-Shirts, Hoodies, Boots, Tattoos, Earrings and a Beard with a Big Heart and a desire to help other communicate more effectively with their audiences. Being myself is the only thing I have the patience for.

Trick 9.) Positively Effect Your Own Mood

Use Everything at Your Disposal to Positively Effect Your Mood. Video is a super powerful medium and although it is only a 2 dimensional image on a screen you can still feel someones mood through the screen. You can also smell bullsh*t through a screen as well.

There are a lot of different ways to come at this. Have some chill time before you hit record. Drink plenty of water and maybe meditate or do some simple breathing exercises before you record. Take a minute to think about all the people that your content might educate, entertain, or inspire.

I often get told that I look upset or angry, especially when I am concentrating or am super into what someone is saying. My gaze hardens and my brow furls which can be misconstrued as negative when in fact it is very positive in my case. one hack I use all the time is to smile super big, like ridiculously big and cheesy and then let my smile settle into a grin before I deliver my next line. Sometimes I even force a laugh before I start talking which softens my face and increases the energy level of my performance by a noticeable amount.

Trick 10.) Don’t Care More Than Others Do

Don’t care more than others do. I know it is cliche to say and easier said than done, but try your best not to care what others think. The harsh reality is that most people don’t care about your video anyway. You hair out of place, pimple on your cheek, wearing the same shirt in most of your videos, I guarantee you that no one cares nearly as much as you. So embrace that and get to making great video content.

The only person that can stand in your way, is you.

I always say my real job is to help Entrepreneurs give themselves permission to be great on camera, which in other words is – helping YOU get out of your own way!


If you want to continue learning about how to be amazing on camera, go and read my blog called “The Power of Authenticity” next.

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