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Glasses or No Glasses?

By January 9, 2019Blog

“Glasses on or glasses off?”

It’s a common question and my answer is always the same, “You tell me.”

Deciding on whether or not to wear your glasses when speaking on camera is a scenario where form follows function.

  • If you are nearsighted and the camera appears to be a fuzzy blob, you should definitely opt to wear them. If you opt out, you will find it terribly difficult to stay relaxed, because you’ve made yourself uncomfortable at your core. Even worse, you could possibly squint at your audience.
  • If glasses are part of your authentic self, then they should be part of your on-camera wardrobe.

Once, a participant in one of my series of workshops took drastic measures—going from glasses to contacts within a matter of days. The first day, she watched her bespectacled-self doing her baseline performance and apparently decided she needed to take immediate action. Two days and an optometrist appointment later, she came in for session two, sans glasses.

Despite that example, going on camera does not mandate that you toss your eyewear, especially if you need them desperately to see. However, you want to make sure your eye contact with the audience isn’t impeded by an unwanted reflection on the lenses.

  • If you are presenting to a camera on your phone or laptop, check the shot beforehand to see if you are registering any odd glares. It may be a matter of adjusting the position of the camera or light sources.
  • If you are relying solely on the light emanating from the computer screen, rethink that. Not only is it unflattering, but you will also run the risk of having the reflection of whatever is on the screen appear on the lenses of your glasses.
  • If you are presenting in a formal studio setting, ask the crew to watch out for strange reflections which may only show up if you turn your head certain ways. The crew can make modifications to the lighting setup to account for that.
  • If your glasses are simply for style, you may want to skip them altogether to avoid any of these issues.

The decision to wear or not wear glasses comes down to your comfort level with or without them. You can always compensate for the occasional glare. You can’t edit out a squint.

Learn More: On-Camera Coach

If you found this information valuable, check out my book, On-Camera Coach: Tools and Techniques for Business Professionals in a Video-Driven World, now available from Wiley Publishing. On-Camera Coach aims to take the mystery out of communicating through the camera and provides specific tips and techniques that can make your message sing—and you, the messenger, feel confident in a job well done.