Throughout my career behind the lens I've been asked countlessly, by both amateurs and professionals, from men to women, from kids to the elderly, "How can I make myself look better in front of the camera?" Well, you probably figured it out already, but the camera does add ten pounds to your waistline. And depending on where you stand, and what type of lens is on the camera, it could add fifty. The old cliché says "The camera lies," but nothing can be farther from the truth. The camera is not your ex; it's a machine that is incapable of crafting unbelievable stories.
The camera creates a bias.
This brings us to three simple and easy steps to looking good in front of the camera.
1. IF POSSIBLE, KNOW YOUR CAMERAMAN – There are two types of people who will capture you in front of the camera: One who is your friend, and one who is your enemy. Know the cameraman who you're dealing with before agreeing to step in front of the lens. Your friend will make you look great and will always sway the camera's bias in your favor. On the other hand, your enemy…well, do I have to really say how bad your enemy would make you look?
If you have the opportunity to choose your cameraman, just make sure you select one who has photographed people that look like you, and made them look their best.
2. GET CLEAN – These are obvious common sense rules that we already know. But somehow, they always get overlooked.
a. Brush your teeth, and do not drink any liquid that could discolor your tongue.
b. For men, trim those nose and ear hairs.
c. For women, wax that peach fuzz mustache off if you have one.
d. Wear clothes that are tailored to make you look your best.
e. DO NOT WEAR anything that is striped as it drives cameras crazy
f. DO NOT WEAR lime green or blue if you are appearing in any scene that may involve a keyed background, such as a weather report.
3. REHEARSE – Looking good is just not about dressing right, it's about standing right and sounding right. Getting it right requires practice.
Let's start with standing right. Don't slouch, stand tall, shoulders back. Have a shoulder wide stance and alter your weight between each foot, making sure you never center your weight evenly between two feet for long periods. This little trick will make you look more confident. Rehearse how you stand in front of a full length mirror. Track your hand movements. Are you hand movements too much or too little. Most of all, don't fidget.
Eye contact, maintain it. Do not let your eyes drift or get distracted at any time. If you are getting interviewed by a reporter, do not break eye contact. If you are being interviewed remotely, you will be talking into a camera lens with a reporter that may be thousands of miles away. Learn how to talk to an inanimate object by rehearsing with one, whether it'd be a coat hanger or chair. While this may sound silly, it is a skill that really pays off in the end. If you can carry on a conversation with a coat hanger, you can carry on a conversation with any reporter.
Dialogue is key. When it comes down to it, it's the words that come from your mouth that will make the difference, not what you wear. If you are just trying to look good for still photographs, then you can skip this paragraph. But if you're appearing on live television, make sure you know your responses by heart and can deliver them well, with eye contact, without stuttering. Also, have a handful of default answers to any question you may encounter that may stump you.
Rehearse all three elements here over and over again: posture, eye contact, and dialogue; until it's natural.
It was the great Deion Sanders that said, "If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good." Nothing could be farther from the truth.
My name is Steve Young, and I'm a former screenwriter, television
producer turned wedding planner. To date, I have planned over 3000
weddings making me some type of wedding-guru. My wedding company can be
found at http://www.dreamweddingshawaii.com.
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