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‘People buy from people’ – why getting in front of the camera can boost your business. By Graeme Leslie, Designtastic.

If you hate being photographed or how you sound in videos, and you just don’t know what to do with your hands, or where to look, you're not alone. I hate it too. I become conscious of what I think my flaws are, and look for evidence of them when I see the final images or footage.

So why put ourselves through it?

I try to remind myself that I naturally see and hear myself differently to how others perceive me, and crack on with the important job of providing content for my business. And that's the important part. Why? Because photographs and video provide a clear visual representation of your business' brand and the people behind it. Those visual cues increase engagement with your stakeholders – from potential customers to new team members and even investors - which potentially leads to increased revenue and new opportunities.

I understand that knowing that probably doesn't make you any more comfortable with the idea of getting in front of a camera. That’s why it's important to stress that as professionals, we're only interested in creating the best imagery, and we can only achieve that by making the experience as comfortable as possible.

No need to be camera shy!

I regularly collaborate with professional photographer Rory Raitt, of Rawformat Photography, because when it comes to making our subjects feel at ease, he's one of the best in the business.

Rory explains: "I guarantee the first thing anyone will say is ‘I hate getting my photograph taken’, so I concentrate on clearing that from their minds by making simple conversation. With the age of selfies people are more aware of how they look and which side they prefer, so I'll sometimes ask if they have a preferred side to be photographed or filmed from."

And – no word of a lie – Rory's approach really does work. I've lost count of the number of times a session has ended and those in front of the camera have said, "That wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be!”

Rory continues: "To further build their confidence I show them the shots I’ve taken, as often they are pleasantly surprised. Taking photos is my job, and I’m there to fulfil my brief and get the best shot possible. I'll never force anyone to do anything they don't want to do.”

Getting the best out of videography

When it comes to being filmed and speaking in front of a camera, this can be hugely dauting and make you feel under pressure. The environment is completely alien, there are bright lights and a camera pointing directly at you – it’s easy to forget the point you are trying to get across or why you are even there!

I’ve previously worked with videographer, Mark McCluskie, of Bold St Media. It’s his role to portray the client in the best possible light, which means putting them at their ease, as a nervous performance will show. Mark states, “To help the client become accustomed to the environment, I spend five minutes having a conversation with them before I start filming to help them relax. I will also explain the process of videography including the equipment, microphones, the editing and approval process so they are more at ease. And finally, it’s always best to ensure your spokesperson is the best to speak on behalf of your company, and has a deep knowledge or passion of the subject being discussed.”

Sometimes you don’t even notice the transition from small talk to when the camera starts to roll. Of course the cutting and editing tools I have at my disposal help to reassure subjects that their final performance will portray both them and their business in the best possible light.

How can we help?

For me, it’s my job to draft the photography brief, and I work hand-in-hand with our clients to make sure everyone knows what's expected of them. We arrive at our shoot location early, set up our gear so we're ready to go when our clients turn up and don’t waste any of their valuable time. While you’re getting your photos taken, we'll concentrate on direction, lighting and composition. That way you can relax in the knowledge that the photos will fulfil the brief for you and your business.

Preparation is key

As a client – and the subject – there are several things you can do to prepare for your photo or videography session and make the most of the opportunity. I promise you, preparation is one of the most effective antidotes to nerves!

I would suggest you always look clean, tidy and professional, e.g. hair brushed, tie straight, clothes clean and ironed. Solid colours are better, avoid patterns, logos, graphics and illustrations. Dress comfortably, minimise jewellery (it can be a big distraction from you, the subject). And most importantly just enjoy it! The more fun you have, the more relaxed you look in front of the camera, and the more engaged your audience will be.

So get out of your comfort zone and get in front of a camera!