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"I want to start promoting my music on YouTube, but I’m camera-shy. What do I do?"

Psychologists and PR pros share tips & wisdom to help you overcome camera shyness.

Photo by Nicolas Ladino Silva / Unsplash
This piece is part of our upcoming Ask a Pro series, where experts and industry professionals answer your questions. If you want to get your pain point addressed by a pro, not generic post from Google or AI, send it to us at If you're an expert who wants to help us with upcoming features, feel free to reach out as well.

We've talked to psychologists and PR pros who shared quite a few tips and wisdom that might help you overcome camera shyness and promote your music without any psychological barriers. And now—a mic to our experts.

🎙 Rebecca May, Global PR Strategist & Founder, RM Publicity:

Many creatives find that "showing up," and being visible doesn't come naturally to them. However, with the right mindset and coaching, many seasoned musicians have been able to boost their confidence and improve their stage presence significantly.

Preparation is important. Make sure you are comfortable and happy with your lighting, test your mic, have water next to you in case you need it, and remember that mindset is key. Practicing regularly can also help build confidence over time, making the process feel more natural and less intimidating.

The best actionable step is to count to 10 and just do it when you are ready. Procrastination only causes more anxiety and will stop you from taking action.

Therefore, get ready and, when you are ready, actually take the step. If you say to yourself, “Okay, I’ll do it in an hour,” that hour becomes the afternoon, and that afternoon becomes tomorrow. You also get better with practice. If you look at anyone’s first videos, most of YouTube’s biggest stars would say their early videos were terrible, but over time, you become more at ease, find your voice, and dare I say, even start to enjoy the process.

🎙 Robert Bradley, Bradley Public Relations & Marketing.

Having a YouTube video isn't a deal breaker, but if anything, I'd choose at least one medium and create content on that platform (TikTok, Instagram, YoutTube, Facebook, Snap etc). It's fiercely competitive out there and there are a ton of artists, so I'd say you're doing yourself a favor by creating content and making yourself easier to discover. People aren't going to accidentally stumble upon your Spotify or Apple Music page unless you are already gaining hype or are on tons of playlists. Get yourself out there any way you can, and know that video content is one of the best ways.

Being camera-shy is one of the most common traits with artists; despite many artists looking confident on stage, I'd say a good majority are actually introverted, and putting themselves out there on video probably conjures the same level of fear as speaking in front of a class.

Artists can always create other types of content that use album artwork, live footage, music videos, and more without having to put their own voice or face on camera for YouTube. However, fans love to hear from the actual artist, and I recommend taking some time to look at content from other artists and bands that they respect. You'll probably find that the video content is very relaxed and can give you more ideas on what to say or do when behind the camera.

Even if you start by using a "podcast-style" format where you only use audio and speak about your latest song, video, or album on YouTube, that's a great start. Once you have done a few clips with just audio and a cover image, you can then flip on the camera and start vlogging about your latest music and efforts as an artist. With anything, it takes multiple tries.

Don't be afraid to mess up, your fans, friends and family are more supportive and forgiving of errors than you think.

As someone who is camera-shy, I would say just do it and don't overthink it. Go turn on the camera, quickly think about what you want to promote, and start talking. You'll be surprised, and your video will probably be 2X or 3X the length you thought you'd create. Then edit if absolutely necessary, but I recommend just posting it. Then, do it again, and again, and again until it feels like second nature.

A good majority of artists are actually introverted, despite many looking confident on stage.

🎙 Dr. Paul Losoff, PsyD, Bedrock Psychology Group (used to be a professional guitarist).

Most musicians have had to overcome varying degrees of stage fright at some point in their musical journeys, yet they have gained confidence in their craft to overcome it.

Also, most musicians I've encountered absolutely cringe when they listen back to themselves playing. It's really hard to-not-listen to imperfections. Yet, listening back to oneself is one of the most highly regarding tools to improve your skills.

The same concepts and experiences should hold true for camera shyness. The more one does this, the more confidence they build. The old adage holds true here: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice!"

Most musicians absolutely cringe when they listen back to themselves playing. Yet, listening back to oneself is one of the most highly regarding tools to improve your skills.

🎙 Danielle Henderson, THRIVE, Training hub for anxiety & OCD intervention and education.

Camera shyness can stem from a variety of reasons that can include fear of judgment, social anxiety, past negative experiences with public speaking, or negative beliefs about oneself. Overcoming camera shyness takes a two-step approach that includes tackling the unhelpful thinking patterns and the behaviors that are reinforcing it.

For example, if someone thinks that they will be viewed as incompetent or stupid when on camera (unhelpful thinking), they may avoid getting on camera (behavior) and will never get the chance to prove that people likely don't view them negatively and that they can handle getting in front of a camera. Practice getting in front of cameras as much as possible to help overcome these fears. If this isn't realistic, practice speaking in front of a mirror or recording yourself speaking to build up some tolerance.

Practicing acceptance can be a way to reduce some of the unhelpful thoughts that can accompany camera shyness. When we are feeling anxious, our brains will often tell us really scary stories about what will happen during the feared event. For example, with camera shyness, our brains may make up a story about how you get in front of the camera, freeze, then when you are finally able to speak, stumble on your words and can't get your point across. Super scary, right.

When we start to engage with that story, think about it, try to plan against it, and try to prepare for it, we give it power and it starts to grow. What we can practice instead is trying not to struggle with it.

Accept that it could happen, or it could not, but that there's nothing to do with it right now...because there isn't!
A quick trick you can try in the moment before getting on camera is a grounding exercise called 5-4-3-2-1. This mindfulness technique can be helpful for feeling anxious before getting on camera and brings you back to the present. You do it by naming 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch/feel, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. Combine this with some deep breaths and get ready to get on camera.