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Mastering the Lens: 6 Mindset Shifts to Overcome Camera Nerves

If you’re like many people, the very idea of speaking on camera might induce feelings of self-doubt and anxiety, along with physical symptoms like nausea or profuse sweating. None of these are pleasant to experience, which is why so many people avoid being on camera. 

Especially when stepping into the spotlight amplifies feelings of self-consciousness. Whether you’re filming a vlog, participating in a virtual meeting, or speaking in a live stream, the lens can shine like an unforgiving spotlight, magnifying every imperfection and amplifying every nervous twitch. 

However, if you assume that your aversion to being on camera will limit your success, I’m here to say, “Only if you let it.” 

In fact, you might be surprised to learn that many successful actors are actually camera shy, but that didn’t stop them from starring in blockbuster films and winning awards. Take Al Pacino, for example, who has said, “My first language was shy. It’s only by having been thrust into the limelight that I have learned to cope with my shyness.”

While the sink or swim might be effective for people like Pacino, I believe that by shifting your mindset, you can conquer those camera nerves and leave your audience thinking you’re a pro. 

A big part of my job is working with my clients on reframing their perspective and encouraging them to embrace the camera as a powerful tool for connection and communication, rather than a vehicle for criticism. 

These are the six major mindset shifts I share with my clients to help them level up their on-camera performance and communication. 

  1. Focus on your message, not the medium: Instead of fixating on the camera itself, shift your focus to the message you want to convey. Remember why you’re on camera in the first place—to share valuable insights, engage with your audience, or promote your brand. When you approach the camera with a clear sense of purpose, it becomes a conduit for your message rather than a source of intimidation. Make friends with the camera in order to maximize your time in front of it to impart wisdom and establish yourself as a voice of authority in your field. People will appreciate this and benefit from the expertise and experience you’re willing to share. 
  1. Embrace imperfection because perfection isn’t real: Perfection is non-existent, especially when it comes to on-camera appearances. Accept that mistakes will happen, and that’s okay. Embrace the natural ebb and flow of conversation, and don’t let minor slip-ups derail your confidence. Remember, authenticity is far more compelling than flawless execution. People like to identify with others and embracing your flaws will only make you more approachable and appreciated as an on-camera presence. 
  1. Visualize your success: Rather than assume you’ll screw up, which takes up valuable headspace and sends the wrong message to your brain, visualize yourself delivering a confident and compelling performance on camera. Imagine the camera as a friendly face, eager to hear what you have to say. Picture yourself speaking with clarity, conviction, and charisma. Visualization can help alleviate anxiety and boost your confidence when the camera starts rolling. Smiling is another way to trick your brain into thinking all is well and you’re feeling comfortable. 
  1. Don’t forget to breathe — properly!: Deep breathing isn’t just for yoga class—it’s a powerful tool for calming nerves and centering yourself before going on camera. Practice mindful breathing exercises to ground yourself in the present moment and release tension from your body. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat as needed to soothe jangled nerves and cultivate a sense of calm.
  1. Stop thinking about you; invest in your audience: Instead of getting caught up in self-criticism and negative self-talk, shift your focus outward to your audience. This actually isn’t about you at all. The people in your audience are real people with real needs and interests. They need your information. Channel your energy into connecting with them, engaging their attention, and adding value to their lives. When you approach the camera with a spirit of service and generosity, your nerves will naturally fade into the background.
  1. Celebrate every win, big or small: Every on-camera appearance is an opportunity for growth and learning. Instead of dwelling on perceived failures or shortcomings, take time to celebrate your wins, no matter how small. Did you deliver a particularly poignant anecdote? Nailed a tricky transition? Land a punchline to the delight of your audience? Celebrate those victories and use them as fuel for future success.

Conquering camera nerves is really about outsmarting them by simply shifting your mindset from fear to empowerment. Focus on your message, embrace imperfection, visualize success, practice mindful breathing, invest in your audience, and celebrate your wins to transform your on-camera experience from a source of anxiety to a platform for growth and self-expression. 

You’ve got this and I’m here to make sure you do. Reach out when you’re ready to invest in your on-camera persona and start enjoying your time in front of the lens. 

Let’s go! 

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