10 On-Camera Tips for Better Website Video (With Bonus Off-Camera Tips!)

Foster Web Marketing Attorney Video Production

Attorneys and doctors often avoid making videos for their websites, and it’s not because they don’t believe in the marketing power of video. In fact, a lot of the time, they are completely convinced that video will help them market and grow their businesses better. 

Instead, the hesitance actually comes down to being a little inexperienced on screen or a little unsure what to do once the cameras are rolling.

Does that sound like you? Have you been avoiding making videos because you’re camera shy or lacking the practical advice you need to make it happen? If so, the tips we share below should have you confident, prepared, and ready to shoot effective videos for your website in no time.   

Stop! Do These 3 Things Before You Start Shooting

Part of shooting a great video is in the preparation, especially when your plan is to use that video to market your business. Before you get in front of the camera, here are three things to work through that will start to shape your video strategy:

  1. Focus on why you’re creating a video. Why are you making a video? Who is your audience? How can you make a real connection with those kinds of viewers? A video is sort of like a “first date” with your potential clients. You need to be ready to show your target audience—through your topics and tone—that you know your stuff, understand their needs, and can give them valuable guidance.  
  2. Understand your quality limitations. Nobody wants to sit through a video that’s tough to watch or listen to because of quality issues. And putting out a grainy video that you shot on your phone isn’t only a waste of time—it is likely to have a negative impact on your marketing and SEO efforts. If you don’t have the ability to produce a high-quality video on your own, it is highly recommended that you look at hiring a video studio, building your own in-house studio, or calling in a team of professionals for an on-site shoot. In the end, one high-quality video can do more for your practice than 50 terrible videos.
  3. Come up with a post-shoot plan for editing and promotion. Editing videos and promoting them are skills that take time to master. Even if you shoot your own videos at home or in your office, it can make a lot of sense to have them edited and promoted by professionals. Raw videos won’t get you far, but properly edited videos that fit into your overall marketing strategy will capture the right kind of attention.

Tips for Shooting Better Website Videos

10 Tips That Make You Look Like a Natural on Camera

It’s normal to be a little nervous before you shoot a video. Most people get the jitters before they get on camera, and most first-timers need some coaching on the little tricks and tweaks that’ll make them look great. Even people who are already comfortable speaking in front of a crowd can improve their on-camera presence with a few tips!

We like to share the advice we got from Jess Todtfeld, the president of Media Training Worldwide in a training session with our America's Premier Experts colleagues. While Jess’ advice is specifically about how to be interviewed on TV, we think it’s super-relevant and practical advice for attorneys shooting videos for their websites:

  1. Lean forward 15 degrees toward the camera. Some postures that look normal in person can look distorted on camera. For example, sitting up straight can make you look stiff or anxious in a video, while leaning back can give the illusion that you have a small head and big gut. We’ve found that most people look best on camera when they lean slightly toward the camera.
  2. Look at the interviewer. If you are doing an interview-style video with another person, you always want to look at the interviewer—not the camera. It should look and feel like a natural conversation. However, if you’re shooting a solo video, you should always look at your “audience,” which means looking at the camera.
  3. Move your head. You naturally move your head and make expressions when you have a conversation with someone, and you want to do the same on camera. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking unnatural, seeming too rigid, or staring unblinkingly into the camera. You don’t have to go overboard, but you should move your head naturally from time to time as you speak.
  4. Move your hands. People look at your face during conversations, but they also watch your hands. Broad, slow gestures can help emphasize what you’re talking about and make you appear more natural and engaging on camera.
  5. Move your body. While you don’t want to make distracting movements or seem like you’re pacing back and forth, you don’t want to stand rigidly still either. A few natural shifts in body posture are usually enough to keep you from appearing anxious or overly formal.
  6. Wear solid colors (but not just any solid colors). Solid colors and simple fabrics tend to look best on camera, but there are still some colors you might want to avoid. Black, white, and very bright or “neon” colors can look jarring or odd on camera. Patterns that look great in person can look very different through the lens. Pastels can appear more muted or greyed out on film, and sometimes solid greens or blues can interfere with green screen filming. If you’re unsure what might work best, ask your studio ahead of time or do a few test shoots.
  7. Speak louder than normal. People need to hear what you’re saying to get value out of your video, so you’ll want to speak a little louder and more clearly than you might in everyday life.
  8. Speak with more energy than normal. The same goes for the energy in your voice and words, not just the volume. You don’t want to drone on in monotone or put people to sleep. Instead, you want to keep people engaged in what you’re saying and enthusiastic about your guidance.
  9. Focus on just three message points per video. You don’t want to pack too much information into your videos or speed your way through what you want to say. Instead, limit your videos to no more than three points that support the main topic. If you have more to say about the subject, consider shooting a series of videos or supporting your video content with written articles and blog posts where you can go more in depth.
  10. Be conversational. (Don't try to memorize a script!) It’s great to have a rough script in mind before you shoot your video, but don’t feel like you have to stick to every word. The most effective videos tend to be more informal, spontaneous, and conversational in tone, whether you’re on video by yourself or in an interview setting. 

FWM has done thousands of videos for lawyers and doctors over the years, and we love the opportunity to introduce new clients to the ins and outs of creating awesome video. If you want to harness the power of video without the hassle of trying to do it on your own, choose one of our on-site video shoot packages, and our experienced team will come to you.

A Little Bonus Advice About Calls to Action in Your Website Videos

Don’t let your video leave your audience hanging at the end! Before you shut the camera off, you always want to include a “call to action” that tells people what to do next or where to go for more information.

Need some ideas? Here are some easy ways you to incorporate a call to action into your web videos:

  • Ask viewers to contact you or visit your website. 
  • Add your phone number and website address to the bottom of your video. 
  • Explain how viewers can request your free book.  
  • Use overlay text and annotations to tell your viewers more.
  • Ask viewers to share or comment on your video. 

For years, FWM has guided attorneys and doctors through the entire process of getting professional video on their websites. We do everything from brainstorming initial ideas to seamlessly integrating and optimizing your videos for maximum exposure. Want an easy way to start shooting more effective videos with the pros? Check out our on-site video shoot packages or talk to us about our other video options at 888.886.0939.

Jim Folliard
Connect with me
Founder, Director, Cinematographer, Photographer & Editor
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