13 Musts to Look Best on Video

It’s estimated by 2017 that over 60% of the content we consume on our mobile devices will be video content. As such, all of us will be on video, whether it is simply for a conversation with the family via video or if we are being interviewed by a national media outlet.

Since these videos will be archived forever, it is important for us to put our best face forward. Below are 13 tips to help you look like a professional.

1. Smile; specifically concentrate on raising your cheekbones. This will naturally give the illusion to the camera that your eyes are sparkling.

2. Focus on yoga-esque breaths: deep and slow. This breathing technique will help relax your face and body and also will help prevent you from talking too fast.

tip 2 yogic breaths

3. Use a good microphone; they are cheap, so go out and buy a good one.

4. Make sure the light is in your face and not behind you. Natural light is best at dawn and dusk. If you can shoot during these periods, it will make you look your best.

5. Overemphasize everything: your words, excitement, volume, gestures, eyes, etc. Do not shout as if you are scolding a misbehaving dog, but you need to project as if you are on stage performing a play. The first time I saw Magic Johnson being interviewed, I thought why is he shouting instead of talking in his normal voice? Then I found out the first few times I saw myself interviewed—if you are talking in your normal tone, you come across as drab and unexcited. If the bubbly Magic Johnson has to take it up a notch to look excited on film, then we all need to!

6. Be concise: If you are filming your own video, make it less than two minutes. If you are being interviewed, answer the question with your most powerful statement first. If it appears, the interviewer wants more than you can go to the second and third most powerful points.

7. Use Make-up: If offered HD make-up, accept it. If you do not have it you can look tired, shiny and old. If you are at home, apply base make-up with a brush—this will dramatically reduce shine and lines. If you are like me and do not have base make-up lying around, use a cotton swap to go over your face quickly to at least remove the oil and dirt.

8. Spend the majority of the time looking into the camera. The camera is your audience. If you are on Skype/Facetime, do not watch your little image in the corner. Look into the camera. If you are being interviewed, ask the interviewer where you should place most of your eye contact. When you get on the television show Ellen, make sure you know where the various cameras are and “work” each camera. If speaking on stage and you are being recorded, ask the cinematographer where you can and can’t walk to be in the light and in the frame still. Make sure you play to the camera for your major points of emphasis; you can use these for your highlight reel later.

tip 8 camera

9. Hum happy birthday: it helps relax the vocal chords. Then immediately say, “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.”

10. Wear clothes that you are most comfortable in—what you feel you look the best in, but do not have things that would distract. If you are comfortable, then you will be confident. For David Cameron, this might be a suit with a blue tie; for Garth Brooks, it might be jeans and an open collared black shirt. Try to be consistent in what you wear on video; this makes you more memorable. Johnny Cash—the man in black, Tiger Woods—red shirt on Sundays, Gene Simmons—exercise tank top, Mark Zuckerberg—hooded sweatshirt, etc.

11. Be Yourself: The above are tips to help put your best face forward. Make sure you are yourself on the camera. This can be difficult. Some speaking coaches say do not use your hands, but then I paid close attention to the one of the best speakers in the world, Jim Collins (Author of From Good to Great) and he definitely uses his hands. The difference was that every movement had a purpose. If you are going to move or speak with your hands, do so with a purpose.

tip 11 be yourself

12. Have Fun!

13. Do post-mortems. The beautiful thing about video is you can review. Act as if you are the head coach of the New England Patriots and review video to get an advantage. How many “um”s do you say, are you slouching, do you look better with your glasses on or off, do you say “like” or other “pet” words too often. What little quirks do you have (dropping your head, slouching your shoulders, turning your back to the audience, shifty eyes)? Review these and put them into the notes section of your phone. Review the top three quirks you have the night before giving a presentation and right before you go on stage, as this will remind you to work on them.

Some of the best you can learn from:  Benjamin Zander, Dan Heath, Jim Collins,Tim Sanders, Guy Kawasaki, Andy Stanley.

More information can be found in my latest book What Happens in Vegas, Stays on YouTube (click here).

Photos supplied by Shutterstock

About the Author: Erik Qualman

Often called a Digital Dale Carnegie and The Tony Robbins of Tech, Erik Qualman is a #1 Best Selling Author and Motivational Keynote Speaker that has spoken in 49 countries.


His Socialnomics work has been featured on 60 Minutes to the Wall Street Journal and used by the National Guard to NASA. His book Digital Leader propelled him to be voted the 2nd Most Likeable Author in the World behind Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling. Qualman is a sitting professor at Harvard & MIT’s edX labs.


His latest book What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube is a Pulitzer Prize nominated work.


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