Some people have a natural ability to look good on video. It’s not necessarily about being physically attractive either. Yes, those fortunate to have been born with good genetics do have some advantages, but physical beauty does not necessarily translate to looking good on video.
Some people just “pop” onscreen. They seem to genuinely enjoy being in front of the video camera and know how to put their “best self” forward. This skill comes naturally to some, but for most of us, it is a learned skill.
In this article, I will share the secret of knowing which angle is most flattering for your face (something I have considerable experience with as a fitness/features cover model etc). You may not know this, but celebrities who are filmed for a living have learned which facial angles and expressions work best for them, and they take care to present this angle to the camera most of the time.
No One is Perfect
No one has a perfectly symmetrical face. But, we all have a “best side”. Film directors know this and they study their leading actors to figure out the best side to film people on. Most celebrities don’t have perfect symmetry, but film directors know how to “work around it” and film them on an angle where the less flattering side is minimized e.g. Meryl Streep, Barbara Streisand, Shannon Doherty, Paris Hilton.
I admire actors who resist pressure from studios to undergo cosmetic surgery and insist on keeping their own unique look. However, these people are fortunate – they have a team of people around them coaching them how to look good on camera. I’m going to teach you how to do this for yourself, so you can focus on delivering your video presentation without being self-conscious about your appearance!
How do You Find Your Best Side?
- Hold your digital camera at arm’s length and take a large number of still photos of your face from different angles; front on, right profile, left profile and all the angles in-between
- Now do this using your video camera and slowly turn your face from side to side while keeping your eye on the lens. Combine this with slowly lifting your chin up and down, and tilting your head on various angles
- Use extreme angles and tilts. Notice how your nostrils dominate the shot if you tilt your head back too far, or how you get a double chin if you tilt your head towards your chest. Play around with extremes so that you have a reference point of “what not to do”. You may get a good laugh in too!
- Now view and playback all your images frame by frame and save each image. Notice that you are drawn to some shots and not so much to others. This will be an (intuitive) indicator of your best angle/s. Narrow your choices down, and try to select which angle is most flattering for you.
Once you have chosen your best angle, make sure you are filmed from this angle wherever possible – e.g. if you are being interviewed or if you are addressing the video camera directly, you can (subtly) position yourself to present your best angle/side to the camera.
“Work Around” Tips
- If you have a large nose and it makes you feel overly self-conscious on video, you need to avoid being filmed in full profile (side on) shots. Any side turns you make with your head will need to be subtle. Where possible, make sure that both eyes can see the video camera lens
- Keep your chin up and level to reduce the appearance of a double chin. Lengthen your neck, and position yourself so that the camera is at eye level or slightly above. As a bonus, this also helps reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.
- Always face your light source – good lighting will make you look GREAT on screen! It fills in facial shadows, brings light to your eyes and can make hair look shiner on some angles
- Always wear make-up when appearing on video – this rule also applies to men. See: Let’s Make Up! How to Look Good in Your Video Presentations and Look Good on Video. Make Up Techniques for Men and Women.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Then it’s up to you to practice showing your best angle in front of the mirror or on video wherever possible. You may feel silly at first, great! It means that there is a little self-consciousness coming to the surface – so process it. Doing mirror work gets you comfortable with how your viewers will perceive you until showing your best angle to the camera becomes totally natural for you.
Many clients come to me saying they hate (their words) the way they appear on the video screen. I help them to view themselves more objectively, and coach them how to film themselves in the most favorable way so they feel more confident and deliver better video presentations.
I encourage my clients to take the focus off themselves and instead put their focus on delivering their message – i.e. how much value they are offering to their viewers and how they want their viewers to feel after watching their videos etc.
No matter what, learn to love the way you look. You are terrific!
It has taken me many years to learn what works and what doesn’t on video – from giving auditions, to working as a TV actor and presenter, cover and fitness model; to being a talent agent; to working behind the camera in talent casting, where I have observed literally thousands of individuals trying out for TV commercials; to working in post-production edit suites as part of an advertising firm.
No matter what, learn to love the way you look. Inner confidence is such an attractive quality having it will really enhance your on-screen presence.