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How To Be Comfortable In Front Of A Camera [Podcast Ep. 22]

Want to learn how to to be comfortable in front of a camera?

In this special feature episode, I interview Apryl Evans, blogger and founder of The Rockstar Mom Sisterhood

Apryl also has experience as a recording artist, model, and radio personality, and will be sharing some of her best strategies for feeling confident on camera.

More specifically, she’ll be sharing:

  • How to use photography and video to more deeply connect with your audience
  • Camera confidence tips for people who feel self-conscious 
  • Tried-and-true tactics for flattering photos
  • Skills that anyone who wants to be natural on camera should practice
  • Advice for planning shoots in a way that feels authentic and on-brand 
  • How to constructively critique your shoots
  • And more! 

Basically, if you’re interested in gaining some confidence on camera you won’t want to miss this episode!

How To Be Comfortable In Front Of A Camera – Podcast Episode Audio

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How To Be Confident On Camera [Video]

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Here is the livestream interview replay:

Tools Mentioned In This Episode

Ring light (affiliate link). This is the same one I personally use when shooting photos and videos at home with my smartphone.

It not only makes for a handy tripod with a timer, but the light illuminates the face in a flattering way. You can adjust the brightness and shade of the light, too. 

Calm AppA helpful app for meditation and sleep. Remember, dedicating time to self-care can help you be more natural on camera.

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how to be comfortable in front of a camera

Gaining Confidence On Camera – Episode Transcript

This transcript about being more natural on camera was created with the help of automation software. I’ve tried to go in and add text where the software missed words and information, so some sections may not be 100% word-for-word what was said in the video interview. 

Bolded & larger heading lines are Jessie, while the typical paragraph font is Apryl.

Q: Thank you so much Apryl for taking the time to talk about how to be confident in front of a camera. To start, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me!

I am the CEO of Rockstar Mom Sisterhood. We’re for moms who think outside the box who want to travel, who think that life is so much more than what we were brought up to believe as far as, you know, just get up, go to work, come home, make dinner, go to bed, kiss the kids — and rinse and repeat.

I’ve never been somebody that wants to follow that. I’m kind of a free spirit. 

Actually, I started my career in music. I am a singer-songwriter. I’ve done everything from musicals to country music. I just love music. I love being on stage. So I did that for a long time and now that I’m a mom, I just kind of want to kick back and enjoy my life.

 

I love what you said there because I feel like many people wait for whatever it is — the two weeks per year vacation or retirement — where they’re like, “Okay, then I’m going to be able to relax and enjoy.” But really we should be enjoying our lives every day. Because you never know what will happen.

Q: While being on camera is not the easiest thing for most people, it is a strong medium for bloggers as they can connect on a more personal level with their audience. How do you feel as though this has helped you?

As you explore how to be confident in front of a camera, remember that — especially if you’re representing your company or even as a musician or you’re a blogger, it doesn’t matter what kind of entrepreneur you are — you are the face of your brand.

So I look at certain brands where, you know, you have Nike and that’s a great brand, but there’s no face to the brand. They just use celebrities to represent.

But then there are other brands with a face to them that I really find myself in tune with, like Disney. You have Walt Disney, who was the big kid that we got to see in all of us. So he used his personal brand to reach out to everybody. It encouraged them to have that fun side, even if they’re an adult.

Tony Robbins is another great one. I love Tony Robbins. Any time I start to feel like I’m getting down again, I just like let him lift me right back up.

But he’s associated with that and he has built such a brand that when you think about personal development, you think Tony Robbins.

 

Another example is Oprah. She’s built this huge conglomerate all around her personal brand.

And what these people can do is inspire people.

Learn how to get confident & comfortable #OnCamera in this episode of #TPTBPodcast!Click to Tweet

When I first started out as a musician, I thought that I had to really just be what everybody else was. I dyed my hair super blonde, too. 

And it wasn’t until I met with a mentor that actually sat with me and she was like, “Get your hair back to your natural color. Just be yourself. And that’s what’s going to shine through.”

And as soon as I did that, it was like a switch went off. All of a sudden my career as a musician started to soar. I was opening up for big-name stars like Janet Kramer, Craig Campbell, and Parmelee playing all these shows with them. This was thanks to me just being me.

I was getting up on stage and I was acting silly and I was just being myself. And by doing that, I was able to really connect with the audience.

That was when the audience members started coming up to me afterward and I had a table set up and they wanted my autograph.

They were connecting to me on Twitter. They were connecting to me on Facebook. Instagram wasn’t as big then, but there were a few people that were connecting there.

Your audience wants to find something in you that lives in them — that maybe they’re afraid that they won’t be able to let out.

You’re basically appealing to their emotional side. And if you’re appealing to their emotional side, then that’s what’s going to get them when they think of whatever service it is that you offer.

 

Q: Building on that, what would be the first step someone who is camera shy should take to get more comfortable on camera?

I’m going to preface this by saying that I grew up as a very shy child. I was very, very quiet. I was kind of the nerd in class. So for me to gain confidence on camera was hard work.

I don’t want anybody to feel like somebody just woke up one day and they were just really great in front of the camera. I’m sure those people exist, but that wasn’t me. And if I can get to this point that anybody can.

So the first thing you really have to think about is your confidence. Create a mindful morning routine that gets you feeling confident and positive. That could be doing meditation, some incantations of positive statements, going for a walk to get the blood flowing — whatever it is that will help you feel positive.

By the way, here is a mindful morning routine that can help you gain some camera confidence:

Once you do this you’ll be better able to improve your mindset and clear limiting beliefs.

Once that happens, what you want to do is to start practicing the first few shoots. They might not all look great, but remember that it’s a learning process. Just get comfortable, learn to laugh at yourself, just have fun with it.

And, most importantly, just start. I always think of Tony Robbins saying to just show up and eventually you’re going to get there. You’re going to feel that confidence.

 

Q: When you personally started exploring how to get comfortable on camera, did you do test shots for yourself or were these things that you shared publicly?

They were test shots for myself. I just wanted to start to feel comfortable and see what worked and what didn’t work.

I think that’s a great idea! I’d add to give yourself a little break as you explore how to confident in front of a camera. The first time you get in front of a camera you’re, of course, going to need to play around a bit. I know personally I have a habit of repeating the same awkward phrases when I do video. But practicing and re-watching helps me notice this.

Everybody does that!

If you were to look up “Apryl Evans bloopers” on YouTube, you’ll see I did the same thing. When I worked for Rat Rock News — a radio station — creating this reel was part of my practice. It was where I really learned what I liked and how I looked on camera.

Making a blooper reel from your videos is just one way to gain #VideoSkills and #CameraConfidence. Snag more tips for getting comfortable on camera in this episode of #TPTBPodcast!Click to Tweet

And each week I got better and better. I did the video editing myself and as I was going through all the old videos from the whole year, I realized I said the same strange phrases over and over again.

I actually took those clips and put them all in a row, making fun of myself as I made my own blooper reel. Again, it’s like you realize you say these things — but just have fun with it. That’s part of who you are, you know?

Exactly. And I think something cool that we’ve been seeing particularly on Instagram is people getting more into the funny bloopers and the unedited shots and in-the-moment shares. I’m personally resonating with that a lot. 

Yes, I think being yourself is huge and I think that is what is really going to get the right audience. You know, they’re going to relate to you, you’re going to relate to them and, and that’s where you’re going to have your truest little tribe.

Totally. I can admit I’ve fallen into the “perfect travel Instagrammer” mindset and thought I had to take certain shots in certain clothing. But my goal is to help people travel and be a relatable model to my audience, and I realized I wasn’t doing that when trying to be someone I’m not. 

That’s important because you want your audience to see themselves in you. 

I personally love following the people that don’t look perfect, especially because I don’t look perfect.

 

Q: Absolutely. So are there any go-to poses or angles that tend to flatter most people?

One of the things that I’ve realized when doing still shots is angles, angles, angles; all kinds of angles!

Anything straight on can make your face look wide, so I always try to just turn a little bit to the side.

On that note, find your good side. That’s what these tests sheets are for. Like I know this is my good side, so I’m going to always turn a little bit this way, you know?

And also if you’re a female, stick that hip out. Stick it out so far it almost is uncomfortable. It’s going to give you such a better angle.

Pop your leg — that always works. It’s going to give you that curvature that you’re looking for.

And then use your elbow. Don’t have it straight out, but kind of back a little bit, and put your hand on your hip while you’re doing that. Or even just turn to the side a tiny, tiny bit even with your hips. If you’re feeling bloated, that’s going to kind of camouflage that with the poses.

With still photos, too, remember there’s always Photoshop and Lightroom.

 

When I was younger I used to model, and one exercise my coach had me do was to silently say the alphabet during a shoot. It gave a nice variety of shots without needing to really change anything in the frame and having this instruction gave me a boost of camera confidence.

I had one photographer I worked with on a Mets calendar who shot a lot of Maxim models.

And then he shot my EAP cover shoot and he was having me do this really weird thing where I like parted my lips just a little bit and it looked great on all these other women, but it just looked odd on me. It was so not me.

It probably looked odd on you because it felt like it wasn’t you.

Exactly. And that’s it, too. You really want to do something that you feel confident doing.

If you’re goofy, take some goofy pictures. Always make sure to have fun. 

This woman I follow, Alison Marshall, takes all of these professional-quality photos but she always has crazy hats on, crazy colors, her tongue sticking out. It’s nuts but it’s so her. Honestly, even if she wasn’t in the picture, like if the face was blurred out, I would know that it’s her because of her personal style.

 

Q: So what are some skills people can practice to get more comfortable on camera?

I think being natural on camera is really just going to come back down to the practice and confidence and I encourage everybody to find some sort of personal growth program that works for you.

There are free resources out there, but feeling comfortable in your own skin and knowing that you don’t have to look like these Instagram models in order to attract a following is important.

One of the most important things to remember when working to get comfortable on camera as a #blogger is that your best asset will be confidence in who you are -- imperfections and all! #TPTBPodcastClick to Tweet

Like I said, some of my favorite people are not a size zero. I’m not a size zero. I used to be and now I’m not, and it actually took me a long time to get comfortable with myself as far as that goes to me.

When I was thinking of launching Rockstar Mom Sisterhood, I actually kept putting it off because I didn’t want to do a photo shoot because I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. And that was a mistake because you have to love yourself as you are.

So I just really focused on my goal of getting back to my old self while still celebrating who I was in the present. 

I feel like we all have these goals — whether it’s about weight or something else, like a work goal — and we think if just reach them that then we’ll be happy. But you have to enjoy the journey and be happy leading up to that goal, too.

Right? You can’t stop living your life. And maybe by showing up in your imperfect state, or at least imperfect in your mind, you can inspire somebody with your journey.

Maybe somebody is going to want to join you and maybe you are meant to show up to help that person or those people. And that’s serving others.

 

Q: In terms of how to be confident on camera, you mentioned having a personal program to become more self-assured. Do you have any resources or programs that you recommend that maybe worked for you or just that you’ve heard are great?

I love meditation. At first, it feels very strange. I use the Calm App and I find that it’s absolutely wonderful. I use it to go to sleep and then I do a meditation or two during the day.

I can’t always do it in the morning because my son is so active. So when he naps, I do my meditation.

So just find the time whenever you can fit it in. But I’ve found that at first it felt really awkward and strange. But after about 30 days, you really start to see the difference in your life and how you handle stress.

Also, getting some movement in is helpful. You don’t have to be a gym rat, but just getting the blood flowing can help with camera confidence as well as general life confidence. 

Finally, I love to go back from time to time, when I start to feel like I’m losing my confidence, and write my story out. For example, I’ll write a story of a win that I had or multiple wins that I had.

You know, I worked for a radio station for a year and I won a contest that was partially radio station decision and partially listener decision. It was basically a pageant and we had to do photoshoots and video shoots in order to be a part of it. We had to show up at events and network.

And so I had so many people tell me, “I don’t know why you’re bothering, you’re not going to win this. You’re putting so much time into this. What are the chances?”

My reply:

“Well, what are the chances if I don’t try?”

So I kept showing up, and I ended up winning the whole thing and it completely changed my career. And every time I start to feel down, I write my wins, like that one. 

These wins can be big or small, but you want to remind yourself of who you are and practice gratitude.

Say it out loud. Say, “I am thankful for this.” Or if you’re a religious person, “Thank you God for my health. For my beautiful house. For my children.”

If you do this for about 30 days you’re going to get addicted to it, and once you get addicted to it then it’s just going to keep on getting better. 

 

Q: Would you say starting on an app or something a little bit smaller is easier than creating full videos to start getting comfortable on camera?

I’d suggest Instagram or Facebook where you can reach out to people. You can find an audience but you don’t have to go so big and all in.

I love Instagram Stories for gaining confidence on camera, too, because you can record it and you don’t have to save it to your highlights, so you can have 24 hours of it being out there.

Then you can also see what the reaction is to this content. Use it as a practice tool. 

A friend of mine has a brand called GOAL Traveler. She wasn’t big into video and then she did a challenge a while back that was, I believe, 30 days of going live on Facebook each day. And she had to do something every day and you could honestly see her just getting better and better at the videos and getting more confident. And now she’s on almost every day on Facebook and Instagram and she’s really good at it.

This just goes right back to just showing up.

I’m currently doing a personal development program right now with Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi and a lot of the people in there actually are very shy on camera. But there’s a Facebook group and they want everybody to go on camera and introduce themselves.

Pro tip: If you want to get comfortable on camera as a #blogger then challenge yourself to show up live daily for 30 days. You'll likely be amazed at your improvements, too! #TPTBPodcastClick to Tweet

It’s the people who are so afraid to show up who are really pretty good. And with practice they can be great, too.

It’s abnormal to talk to your phone. It’s something that does take practice to get used to. But I think, like you said, practice, practice, practice, and then by the end of it, you might find a skill that you never knew you had.

 

Q: So what does your process look like for planning a shoot in a way that is on brand and feels right for you?

So what I do is I just kind of get a vision. I start researching. Pinterest is great because you can create a mood board on there, make it private and nobody else needs to see it.

Just get some ideas for the kind of pictures that you want.

And also one of the things that is the most important thing that you can do is you have to select the right photographer for you. 

I also think it’s important to envision what outfit I want and for what scene. For instance, we just did a photo shoot for Rockstar Mom Sisterhood. It was my son and me, and I had this idea that I really wanted to get some sort of a classic rock band t-shirt and matching leather jackets.

Now my son is 10 months old and he was nine months old at the time. So finding a baby leather jacket was a challenge. But I had the vision in my mind and this was what I wanted. To me, this was very on-brand because it’s “rockstar mom.” I was just thinking outside the box.

It’s super important to think about wardrobe, hair, and makeup. You can hire a professional, though I don’t recommend going cheap because the look may not come out the way you want it, which means you may not like the photos/videos as a result.

Alternatively, you can DIY the hair and makeup and use YouTube tutorials for help. Just make sure to practice the look first so you know you like it and how to do it. I’d recommend also taking test shots with the look so you know what it looks like on camera. 

Pro tip:

If you do hire a professional makeup artist, still make sure to bring your own makeup. I say this from experience as I once had someone I hired not show up!

 

Q: How do you decide if it’s worth splurging for a professional team vs DIYing an on-camera shoot?

First off, I love DIYing it! If you are going to DIY it, invest in some fun lighting for your little home studio, like a ring light. Mine has a little stand for my phone and it can actually change different colors and it’s fantastic for doing a DIY shoot.

I guess deciding whether to hire a professional team or go the DIY route is a personal decision.

Personally, I just started doing it again to build up my new website. I had some older photos but they were with my music brand. So I really wanted to have something that represented that.

Want to get more comfortable on camera as a #blogger? This episode of #TPTBPodcast offers powerful advice for gaining #CameraConfidence!Click to Tweet

And then what I did was I reached out to a couple of different photographers that I liked and I asked if they had any kind of package where they offer a discount for multiple shoots booked.

I ended up finding a great deal for about $200 per shoot and getting some great content!

 

Q: So after a shoot, what do you feel are the best ways for someone to critique themselves without feeling guilty or negative?

One thing I want anybody who is trying to learn how to be confident on camera to remember is that nobody’s perfect.

Like you said, Instagram is very polished. Youtube is very edited. So what you’re seeing is the polished result.

When you’re doing your test shoots, that’s not the polished result, you know? So when you’re critiquing yourself, I want you to use humor and be able to make light of yourself.

Like I said, I made a whole blooper reel out of my own silliness that I did on video. So you have to be able to laugh at yourself. Remember, some of the people I love to follow the most on social media are not perfect. As a matter of fact, some of them make their whole career on their imperfections.

Just roll with it. Don’t think you need to look like anybody else.

Also, you’re looking at it to get better. You want to focus on the positive by finding what you do like about the shots. Then when you find something you don’t like, make sure you understand why vs simply bashing yourself or picking yourself apart. You want to make sure it’s constructive criticism.

 

I think it’s important to remember, too, just how much can be edited with apps like FaceTune nowadays. So as you explore how to get comfortable on camera don’t compare yourself to what you see on social media. 

It is wild! It’s one thing to do simple tweaks like removing pimples and undereye bags, but you don’t want to change the way you look so that your audience doesn’t recognize you in person.

Going back to that photographer I mentioned who over-edited my photos, I actually edited them back. He made my eyes look huge and sucked in my face, and I imagined people not even knowing it was me — and that this would also lead to people not trusting me. 

I find that some of my imperfections are part of my brand and I’ve learned to own them, you know? 

Part of my whole music thing was being a little rough around the edges and I would go on stage with a Jack and Coke. I was more Miranda Lambert than Faith Hill, let’s put it that way. But that’s who I am. I’m not super polished, so I didn’t want people to think that I was lying on my album cover.

And that’s the same thing with Instagram. You don’t want people to think that you’re lying in your photos. They’re not going to be able to relate to you.

 

Think about it this way:

If you show up at your friend’s house, do you expect them to be in full regalia all the time? Of course, you don’t. You know, they might be in their pajamas and if you can see whoever you’re following in those moments, then all of a sudden it’s like a friendship.

It’s like the celebrities that you feel like you really know. Do you know Zachary Levi? He’s from the movie Shazam!. He does a phenomenal job at being himself on social media. He does Instagram Lives and he’s in the middle of a workout in his gym and he just looks like a mess.

I love following him and learning from him about how to relate to people because he is unapologetically himself. That is so important. People love him for it. It’s amazing. And so again, just build that trust and build the friendship with your followers.

There’s a woman I follow, Hilary Rushford, who will be teaching a class on Instagram Live and you hop on and she’s curling her hair. But you feel like you’re in her house with her just hanging out. And I bet it probably does feel a little bit more natural to just be doing what you would be doing in that movement.

I definitely think that! And, and for somebody who is trying to learn how to be comfortable in front of a camera, that’s something to think about, too.

Maybe you’re curling your hair or packing a suitcase in the video while you talk. It can make you feel more comfortable and can also be more interesting to the viewer.

 

Q: How do you decide what brand elements to include in a shoot?

I went through quite a few years of I guess self-discovery, and that’s why I love to focus on the personal development things.

But what I try to really do is pick up on my oddities from day to day or pick up on the things that I do that are part of my personality. For example, Jack and Coke was my favorite drink at the time. So I was like, “Well, why not bring that into my brand?”

And then the other thing that I had was I always had really interesting shoes. People would show up to the shows and be like, “What shoes is she wearing this time?” Take something that you love and make it part of your brand.

Here is how one #blogger decides what to include in her photo and video shoots to really capture her brand on camera! #TPTBPodcastClick to Tweet

I always think about Beyonce, who says that when she gets on stage she is Sasha Fierce. Back when I was with the radio station, I would interview these rock stars and musicians and I found they were often more subdued in person than on stage.

They were still the same person, but they brought out their most extreme parts on the stage.

I kind of took a lesson from them. I wouldn’t drink Jack and Coke all day, but to have it with me was a more extreme version of myself. It’s still a part of myself and I’m still keeping the raw elements. 

So it was just a lot of self-discovery and noticing little things throughout the day.

 

Alright, now I hope you enjoyed this episode on how to be comfortable in front of a camera.

I hope you feel inspired and empowered to go work on your storytelling skills, find creative ways to tell a story, and maybe even pinpoint your own creative writing process.

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Happy blogging!

 

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