Whether you’re new to TikTok or not, it could be that your camera presence needs some work. A lot of people act perfectly natural in any social situation, but they start to feel awkward as soon as they’re in front of a camera. This is completely normal, but it isn’t great news for TikTok creators who are constantly on camera while making their videos. Of course, not all TikTok videos require you to actually be in front of the camera; in that case, you wouldn’t have to worry about this particular problem. If you are in front of the camera regularly, though, it’s important that you have good camera presence. You should also consider using a professional camera.
What is camera presence?
Even if you aren’t familiar with the phrase, you probably know how to identify it (or the lack of it). Think of a TikTok creator who seems totally natural in their videos – you practically feel like you’re having a conversation with a friend. They have good eye contact with the camera, and their body language is relaxed. If someone can act the same whether or not they’re being filmed, they have great camera presence.
On the other side of the coin, a lack of camera presence is often painful to watch. This is when someone seems distracted or stiff, has a tendency to ramble, or uses unnatural hand gestures. In other words, if you have a hard time focusing on the content because of the person presenting the content, they likely have bad camera presence.
If you suspect that your camera presence needs some work, don’t let that get you down. Just like so many other skills, some people have it naturally, while others can learn it with enough practice. The good news is that it isn’t too hard to improve your camera presence for your TikTok videos. You just have to follow a few practical tips, and let consistent practice take care of the rest.
Tip #1: Don’t rely too much on the inspiration of the moment
Some people can just turn on the camera, start talking, and make an entertaining video with zero planning involved. The problem is that this filming style isn’t for everyone. If you tend to hem and haw when you’re making a video, this could be pretty distracting for viewers. And if there’s one thing everyone knows about TikTok, it’s that people don’t stick around for videos that aren’t entertaining all the way through.
Try to find a balance between rambling your way through an unplanned video, and reading from a carefully written script. The dialogue should have a natural flow, but there should also be some structure to keep you on track. A good way to achieve this is with a simple outline. Make headings for each section of the video, with bullet points below each heading so you don’t leave anything out. This gives structure to the video, but also leaves plenty of room for improvisation.
Tip #2: Improve your cadence and diction
One of the most classic beginner’s mistakes when making a video is talking too quickly. The words may sound like they’re all running together, or even be completely unintelligible at times. This is understandable, since a lot of people do this when they’re nervous. Unfortunately, it makes for a pretty awkward viewing experience.
You may be able to tell already whether or not you struggle with this; if not, it might be a good idea to watch one of your own videos to double-check. Do you sound the way you normally do, or do you seem rushed or slightly out of breath? It isn’t just important for the overall impression you leave on viewers; you should also make sure they’re able to understand what you’re saying!
Tip #3: Keep virtual eye contact
When you watch a well-made TikTok video where the creator is looking directly at viewers, you probably don’t even think twice about what it’s like to get that effect. However, it can feel a lot different when you’re the one in front of the camera. There aren’t any viewers there; it’s just the camera lens staring at you. Even so, you still have to make your followers feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
To get this effect, simply look directly at the camera lens. This mimics eye contact, and makes you seem focused and connected with viewers. While it may feel more natural to occasionally look away from the camera, it may not be a great idea in this case. Ironically, even though you’d do that in real life, it doesn’t translate well to video.
Tip #4: Relax your muscles and use good posture
If you have a tendency to slouch, fidget, or move stiffly in your videos, this will definitely detract from the overall quality. Your TikTok viewers will probably find that distracting, since it puts the focus on you instead of your content.
A helpful hack to fix these issues is to simply relax. Focus on where you’re feeling tense, and consciously relax those muscles. For a lot of people, the tension is in their shoulders and neck. Next, think about what your posture is communicating. Many people tend to slouch, which isn’t that noticeable in real life, but usually looks bad on camera. Try to remember to sit up straight; this will make you look more trustworthy and credible to viewers.
Tip #5: Practice!
The goal isn’t just to develop good camera presence; it’s to have good camera presence without even having to think about it. This will take some practice, especially if you’re trying to implement several of these tips at once.
Start by filming a video so that you can observe how you act on camera. Take notes on what needs to improve, and think about specific ways to make that happen. Then it’s time to practice – simply film yourself over and over, taking notes as you go along, until you’re happy with the result. Before you know it, having great camera presence will be as easy as breathing!