8 Tips For Attorneys Who Want To Look Great On Video
Does the camera love you or maybe another attorney you know?
Some people seem to require no effort to shine either in real life or on screen.
But the truth is, looking good in a video isn’t about being good-looking. It’s about playing to the strengths of the medium and not falling prey to its weaknesses. So take heed of these tips as you prepare for your next video shoot.
- Dress well and dress properly.
This one sounds obvious, but let’s start simple. Dress as you would for a court appointment. For men, wear a suit that fits well and is in good shape. For women, choose something conservative while still being true to your personal style. Slacks are best and skirts (even if they don’t appear on screen) should always be an appropriate length.
- Keep your jewelry modest.
One necklace and a modest set of earrings is plenty. Big shiny gems catch the light on camera even more than in real life. And even simple charm bracelets make more noise than most wearers realize. Leave these and other distracting pieces at home for the day.
- Keep your patterns simple.
Clothing with a complex pattern or busy weave can create a unique visual buzz when you move on camera. For proof of this, pay attention to what your local newscasters wear each night. They don’t always succeed, but you can learn just as much from their fashion missteps. If you must have a pattern to feel like yourself, aim for something fairly broad like windowpane oxfords for men and organic patterns for women. Be wary of high contrast stripes, ginghams and tight weave houndstooth.
- Avoid color extremes.
White shirts and black suits might sound like a safe bet, but on camera whites wash out and black fabric can swallow up the details. A quick and dirty conversion is to trade light greys for white, and dark blues or even deep purples for blacks. When it comes to color, subtle is usually best. If you’re not sure about what to wear for your shoot, bring multiple choices and ask your videographer for a suggestion.
- Watch the lights.
Florescent lighting, present in virtually every business environment, brings out the worst in most people’s appearances. If your office relies on fluorescents, choose a videographer who has their own lighting. A video professional will likely have multiple, diffused lights. These are helpful in removing distracting shadows from your office or worse, your face.
Now, if your office benefits from strong natural light, embrace it. Try to schedule your shoot in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid being overwhelmed by the light. Just make sure it’s shining on you, not your back.
- Know where to look.
Decide in advance whether you’ll be addressing your audience directly or speaking to an off-camera interviewer. That decision will dictate where you look during the video shoot. Bear in mind that looking directly into the lens can be uncomfortable for your audience and rather challenging for you. A quick and dirty rule is: if you’re giving instructions or tips directly to the viewer, looking at the camera may make sense. For nearly everything else, you actually want to look slightly to the side of the camera, like in a news interview.
- Speak clearly.
If you’re not a regular public speaker remember the advice you received back in your job interviewing days: slow down. Nerves and excitement can have a clear impact on the way people talk. One dead giveaway that you need to slow down? You find yourself having a hard time breathing while you speak.
On the other hand, if you tend to clam up when staring down a lens, the best thing you can do is plan out your main points in advance and practice, practice, practice. You don’t need to memorize a speech, but knowing your message and how you want to frame it can provide the confidence you need to push past the awkwardness of speaking on video. Have a glass of water by your side to ensure your voice is as clear as it can be.
- Makeup for all?
Dark circles under your eyes or naturally oily skin can be as distracting as a piece of jewelry. If you are already comfortable with makeup, remember to keep it simple and understated. For those of you with naturally oily skin but an aversion to makeup, consider what options you are comfortable with. You might not need a full powder, but consider grabbing a pack of oil absorbing wipes from the drugstore. At the very least, these can take a bit of the sheen off of your face when enduring a day in the spotlight.
Finally, remember the purpose of your video. You’re there to build a connection with your audience. Your viewers want to get to know the real you, so be yourself. Aim to appear on the camera the same way you may appear in an initial consultation. That will help your next client feel comfortable contacting you – which is why you’re making a video in the first place.