Be honest. Have you ever been surprised when a picture of yourself popped up on the screen in a video conference? Didn’t the face with a dull complexion, thick dark circles under the eyes and a double chin really look comfortable in a place where no one was around? To confirm the kill, I wasn’t alone there. Of course, it’s not the user’s fault. It’s not because of the alcohol you drank last night. The culprits are cameras and rooms and bad lighting and so on. Now let’s change these villains.
Here are 13 ways to look good in any video conference, regardless of the quality of your webcam.
Always shine a light that gently spreads from the front of your face. A lamp or ring light is good, but natural light coming through a window is best. To avoid backlighting, make sure that the light source is not behind or above you. If the window is behind your back, draw the curtains or wait for night.
2. Eye level
The webcam should be placed at the user’s eye level and arm’s length away from each other and set the best angle and combination. This is a way to prevent the double chin effect that can occur when looking down at the camera in a video conference. Don’t show the other person what’s in your nose. If you’re using a laptop or tablet’s built-in webcam, it’s a good idea to use a laptop stand or even stack books until you’re at the right height.
To avoid an awkward angle, first find yourself in an optimal position and sit back comfortably. Built-in webcams often have a wide-angle lens, which will supernaturally magnify your face if you get too close to the camera. It’s a good idea to sit back so that your face and shoulders are centered on the screen.
Resist the temptation to show off your fashion sense with colorful tops. It is good to choose a solid color top in an appropriate shade, such as blue, red, or green. The background should contrast with the top. White or black clothing is not recommended, as it can make the user look blurry or overexposed.
If using a virtual background, sleeved clothing is essential. Otherwise, you risk looking a bit naked in front of the camera. Ground rules are important everywhere and everywhere. Whether it’s a class at school, a meeting with management, or dealing with a troubled customer, you need to dress like a professional.
A white or achromatic wall can achieve the effect of focusing all attention on the user. If you don’t have such a wall, at least keep the back neat and tidy. Otherwise, all attention is drawn to the background, and user announcements are not taken seriously.
6. Virtual background
Consider using a virtual background or background blur to minimize distraction. The backgrounds provided by Microsoft Teams or Zoom are especially useful when you’re on the go or don’t have time to clean them up. Uploading and using a custom background is fine, but don’t use a background that’s too cluttered.
You don’t have to rely solely on the built-in webcam on your laptop or tablet. If you video conference a lot, invest in a good external webcam. For example, proven webcams like the Logitech Brio 500 or the Razer Kiyo Pro are well worth the investment.
A dedicated webcam is the only way to get consistent high-quality images in poor lighting conditions. It shows the user’s movements seamlessly, and the colors match quite well. If the webcam is overkill, third-party apps can also adjust camera settings, brightness, contrast, and more. If you use a mobile device for video conferencing, you should use a device with a high-definition built-in camera.
8. Lapel Microphone
It’s also a good idea to use a separate external lapel mic. The lapel mic sounds good and requires users to move a little farther away from the screen. Your voice will still be heard loud and clear to the person on the other end of the meeting.
Microphones on wired headphones or Bluetooth earbuds are not recommended. It’s usually because the sound quality is bad. The computer’s built-in microphone has worse sound quality, making the user’s voice thin and muffled. Also, no matter which microphone you use, it should be in a quiet location to get the best sound quality.
9. Eye contact
This tip also applies in real life. It is to look into the eyes of the person you are talking to. Of course, in a video conference, you have to look straight into the camera lens. If you only stare at the video footage of the person you are talking to, it will appear to them that you are staring at the back of their face. It’s also a good idea to keep your image off the screen so you don’t observe yourself during the meeting.
10. Stay awake.
Unless you turn off the camera, meeting attendees see you even when you’re not talking. So, you should do it as if you were having a face-to-face meeting.
11. Skin Care
The user’s face becomes the center of a video conference. So, do not overlook skin care and face washing. Do we even need to talk about this? But this carelessness happens in one out of two home offices. Wash your face regularly and use a moisturizer. You should also consider your hair, making sure it doesn’t flow down your face. And if you’re a man, take care of your beard.
Some webcam and videoconferencing apps offer filters that can change the way you look. Some correct the lighting, others hide blemishes on the skin. It even makes it look like the user is always looking at the camera. This is possible with the help of AI.
Please test the video before attending the meeting. Even if it’s difficult, I hope you have a practice meeting just before an important meeting. That way, you won’t have to adjust settings during the meeting.