PRO TIPS TO LOOK GOOD DURING A VIDEO CONFERENCE CALL
Updated: Mar 28, 2020
(Article en français 🇫🇷)
With the recent social distancing in the US and lockdown happening in Europe, most of us are now working from home, having work meetings through video calls using Zoom and calling friends and family via Zoom, Skype, or HouseParty.
The portrait photographer in me wants to share with you few simple lights and angle tricks to have you look your BEST during those calls. You will also discover some great hidden features in Zoom and Skype to make your appearance neater.
And before everything, REMEMBER THAT PEOPLE CAN SEE YOU even if you are not talking, here is the funniest video around these days.
Either using your phone or your computer, the lens in those have a short focal length.
NO NEED to know what that means at all (Let's keep the techy stuff out).
However, what you need to know is at which angle to put your phone or computer to make you look GOOD. We don't want you to have a massive neck and triple chin if you don't have one!
PUT YOUR COMPUTER/PHONE AT YOUR EYE LEVEL
KEEP IT AS STRAIGHT AS POSSIBLE.
If you put it lower or if you tilt it upward, hello double chin horror!
You don't need any specific equipment or light to have a nice lit video & image. You just want to make sure people can see you properly while looking fresh & neat.
PUT THE LIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU.
Either the window light or your office lamp, the same simple rule applies
If you put your lamp on the side or if you set yourself with the window on your side, it creates big shadows on your face which will enhance wrinkles & co.
If you put your lamp or have your window in your back,
you will have a nice halo but people will mainly see a dark silhouette:
If you have it above you,
it creates big shadows under your eyes and makes you look tired.
THE PRO TIP
I say "Pro" because that how photographers in a photo studio use light and bounce it around to make it nice and soft. (Nothing to do with any pro equipment! Nothing needed at all)
If you are in a dark room with an office lamp and a wall in front of you and you apply the rule to set the office lamp in front of you, you have this quite harsh light on your face.
It's not that bad, but it can end up being almost too strong.
By simply turning your office lamp TOWARDS THE WALL in front of you, the light will now bounce off the wall and be all soft and super nice on your face. (You are more than welcome 😉)
The cleaner the better as you want people to focus on you and what you are saying, and not on your background. It doesn't have to be a white wall like in my example, but try to keep it as uncluttered as possible: it can be a shelf with few books, some indoor plants, etc.
Avoid having your entire living room with all the mess visible. And if you have no other choice, use Skype in priority and discover at the last part of this article a feature that will help you.
JUST A KIND REMINDER OF THE USUAL TIPS
We already know all of that but it's always good to remind ourselves (you can also head to this series of articles with lots of tips when working from home) :
Get dressed completely (you never know if at some point you will have to stand and get something away from your computer)
Remind everyone in your household that you are having a work call and show them the area that they should NOT cross.
If you have kids, lock the door not to end up like this guy
Mute yourself when you are not speaking to avoid the annoying background noises
THE 'TOUCH UP MY APPEARANCE' FEATURE ON ZOOM
It's a very subtle feature but it will help!
1. Go to the settings
2. Click on the 'Video Tab'
3. And check the 3rd box of the 'My Video' category called "Touch up my appearance".
It's some kind of subtle filter to smooth slightly the details, which can definitely help if you have trouble sleeping these days with what's happening in the world.
There is also a super fun 'VIRTUAL BACKGROUND' feature 😂
Maybe keep it for family and friends calls in priority !!
OTHE 'BLUR BACKGROUND' FEATURE ON SKYPE
For the ones who can not have an uncluttered background, that's the perfect feature.
1. Go in the Audio & Video settings
2. Click to activate the option to 'Blur my background for all calls'.
TADA !! All neat!