By Melissa Rogers
We are all doing more work virtually, including conducting a lot of video meetings. And while related memes and jokes have emerged as rapidly as the video meetings themselves, anxiety around how we present ourselves virtually is very real. As your trusty senior video producer at The Hatcher Group, I’m here to help elevate your on-camera presence and alleviate some of the stress and fatigue caused by video meetings. By taking just a few simple steps, you can put your best self forward.
- Lighting is key: First and foremost, don’t sit where there will be a window behind you. Front-facing natural light is best. It evenly accentuates and brightens your skin and features. If you cannot locate with a large window in front of you, try two lamps to either side of your computer for balanced, even lighting. Also, avoid light that is too harsh or directional, as this tends to cast heavy shadows that don’t do anyone any favors. This feels like a good time to remind you that Zoom actually has a feature built in, specifically for the purpose of making you look better. In the Zoom desktop app, there’s a “touch up my appearance” option that applies some skin smoothing.
- Bring it up to eye level: Prop up your computer with a few books so the camera lens is parallel to your eye level to avoid looking down into or up at the lens. Nobody looks good with the camera angled up from below the chin.
- Stabilize your camera: This is especially important when using phone cameras, but try to avoid shaking (secure those books from step 2!) or kicking your desk. Computers pick up and visually exaggerate these vibrations.
- Consider curating your background: Most of us will be working remotely for a while, so take some time to add some flair to your workspace. Find that poster (or degree) you’ve been meaning to hang and, if there is clutter in the background, clear it out. It truly doesn’t take much to get a decent score from Room Rater, so put in a little effort! Or, better yet, use a virtual background to transport yourself to a new location or showcase an aspect of your personality (great as a conversation starter).
- Dress the part: Always have a nice sweater or dress shirt handy. Sometimes phone calls turn into video calls with little notice. And let’s be honest: we’ve all been indulging in the freedom and comfort of casual loungewear while working from home. Hang something that is more business casual than leisurewear on the back of your chair so you are prepared when the camera is on.
Finally, here is a bonus tip – clean your screen! If you appear cloudy or have a halo effect in your video, odds are you need to clean your video lens. I recommend getting a microfiber or lens cleaning cloth and keeping it nearby as a reminder to take that step to help others see you clearly.
I hope these tips help you look and feel better on camera. Just like any other live activity, video calls require a bit of practice. So, if something doesn’t go quite right the first time, keep at it. It will get better!