It has been over a year since we were struck by a worldwide pandemic.. While adapting to the many changes Covid-19 brought with it, we had to work from home. As a result, video calls became the only source of follow-up with peers at both personal and professional levels.
There are very easy ways of appearing presentable on a webcam, which require some understanding of the lighting and angles. We’ve put together a few tips for you to follow and look your best.
Tip 1: Good lighting is essential
If there is one piece of advice that we want you to take from this article, it is the importance of good lighting. Natural light makes you look more flattering and hence we recommend it over all other kinds of artificial lights. Move around your house with a front-facing camera and figure out the ideal place. That’s where you need to set up your “zoom call area”.
If there are no windows where you want to work, don’t rely on the ceiling bulbs!
Here is what you can do instead
Invest in a light source like a lightbox or ring lamp. Place it right in front of you. It will help prevent the shadows on your face. With this, watch out for too much light in the background. It might end up making you look like a silhouette.
Bonus advice: This advice comes straight out of TikTok. Use YouTube videos titled “white screen”, to lighten up your face. You can play it on your TV and place the laptop in front. This brightens up your face and acts like a light source. Trust us, it makes a huge difference!
Tip 2: Figure out the right angle
Do not be afraid to pile up books and place your laptop over them. You want the camera to be at eye level, as it makes your face look the most flattering. This is most similar to how you appear when talking to people in real life.
Tip 3: Double-check your background
Remove all unnecessary stuff from your background. You do not need a white wall or a plain background behind you. The idea is to have a clean, tidy background that has no distractions. The unclean house speaks about your personality. If you want to leave a good impression on your colleagues, making sure you have a nice and tidy background is a must.
In case of any emergency, zoom provides a list of virtual backgrounds that you can use. They can be a little funny, but hey it is better to fly in the clouds or be in a jungle than being in a messy room.
Bonus Advice: There needs to be a distance between you and your background. This provides a depth of field, making your background blur and putting you as a subject in focus.
Tip 4: Put a “Do not disturb” for your roommates and family
Inform your housemates that you will be on a video call. The last thing you want is someone walking behind you and creating a full embarrassing moment for you. By now we are familiar with zoom fails. Let’s avoid that.
Tip 5: Look presentable
Try to look similar to how you look in person when you are with your colleagues. Take a shower, comb your hair and wear appropriate clothes. Try not to wear sweatpants and Pajamas as bottoms. Even though nobody can see what you are wearing below, you might have to stand. Keep this in mind to avoid any embarrassment. If you are with your friends, we might give you a pass on this.
Tip 6: Look into the camera instead of the screen
Of course, you will want to see what is shared on the screen. However, when you are talking, you should look into the little camera over the screen. This shows other participants that you are attentive and you are hearing them.
Tip 7: Don’t move too much
Staying still and minimizing hand moments must be practiced because lagging is common when talking through a webcam. Too much movement can be distracting for the viewer. In addition to that, you should place yourself at a good distance from the camera to look less intimidating.
Tip 8: Sound your best
You can use the laptop’s in-built microphone, however, we recommend that you utilize an external microphone. Wireless or not, play around and figure out how you can sound clear and professional. With that, make sure you are at a place where there is no background noise. Although microphones can help with noise canceling, we would want you to pick your zoom call where there is no sound.
Tip 9: Hair and Makeup
The whole idea of video calling is to look similar to how you look in person. Keep the make-up to a minimum. Focus on your eyes and lips. It is time to pick up that mascara and use it generously. Also, don’t be afraid to bronze your face. Webcams don’t pick up harsh makeup lines. Keep your hair simple.
Tip 10: Put the food away
Make time for your meals after you have completed the video calling. Of course, you can resist eating for some time. However, if you are on a long call, sipping tea/coffee is perfectly fine.
Don’t use your webcam as a mirror. Join a meeting and check everything in your background. Have an area in your house allocated for zoom calls. This helps prevent any last-minute mistakes. Along with that, practice looking into the camera. You can put a sticker beside the camera to remind yourself. You can use notes. Every speaker and every presenter recommends using a script if you are nervous.
We are going through tough times. Everyone is nervous to some extent when they are seeing themselves on camera. The above-mentioned tips will surely help you look professional as well as presentable!