Remote work is here to stay, which means that video calls aren’t going away any time soon. It can be tricky to look good on camera, especially if you’re not used to being on video. Try out these 12 tips to look better on a video call, from getting your lighting right to wearing shapewear to smooth your work attire:
Ways to Look Your Best on a Video Call
1. Get good lighting.
Good lighting is the no. 1 factor in looking good on camera. Ideally, you will want a natural light source that is across from you and behind your laptop. If the sunlight is too bright, you might want to put up a sheer curtain to diffuse it. Avoid being backlit if at all possible, which will make your screen super dark and cast you in shadows. If you don’t have enough natural light in your house, a ring light can help augment it.
2. Upgrade your technology.
Sometimes what’s making you look bad is your grainy webcam. If your computer has seen better days, it might be time to upgrade to an external webcam. Bad video quality can also be caused by internet lag. If you need a better signal, consider a Wi-Fi booster or a new router that can give you the network you need.
3. Test it ahead of time.
Before an important call, download the video software that you need and test your video and audio quality beforehand. This way, you have plenty of time to troubleshoot in case something is wrong. You won’t look good on the call if you log in late covered in anxiety sweat, so do yourself a favor and plan ahead.
4. Adjust the camera angle.
The most flattering camera angle is at eye level or slightly above it, which is why it’s unfortunate that laptop cameras usually sit below our chins when we have a video call at a desk. Elevate your computer on a laptop stand or even a stack of books for your call to get the height that you need. Try to keep your eyes in the top third of the screen so your face will be centered.
5. Choose your shirt wisely.
Since your colleagues mostly see from the shoulders on up, selecting the right top is key to looking good. Choose a color that’s different from both your background and your skin tone for best results. Make sure that the top doesn’t have a lot of frills or anything that would distract from your face. Avoid shiny jewelry and buttons that can cause a glare on the camera. Shapewear can help you get smooth lines under your clothes, and a back support bra will encourage good posture.
6. Make sure to wear (somewhat) nice bottoms.
Just because your colleagues will mostly see your top half doesn’t mean that you should neglect the bottom half. Wear comfortable, breathable bottoms that won’t chafe when you sit. Whatever you do, don’t go pants-less. You never know when an emergency might arise and you have to stand up on the video call in full view of everyone!
7. Select a background.
In a perfect world, you’d sit in front of a blank background, or perhaps some tasteful bookshelves. If that’s not an option in your current office setup, it might be worth getting a collapsible background that you can throw up anytime to ensure that you don’t have any distractions behind you.
8. Clean up the room.
Speaking of distractions, clutter will make you look bad on a video call no matter how carefully you have set up your lighting and selected your clothes. Before your call, do a sweep of the room and put away anything that is out of place, or at least move it where the camera can’t see it. No one wants to look at your pile of dirty underwear.
See Also: How to Get Rid of Sunspots
9. Be careful with colors.
When choosing both your clothes and your background, try to avoid colors that are very light and very dark. The camera will try to compensate for these shades, washing out the rest of the screen (i.e., your face). Opt for neutral colors in the same family, and keep patterns small and unobtrusive if you don’t like solid colors.
10. Get serious about skincare.
Being on camera can exacerbate the appearance of certain skin conditions. For instance, the lights can make your face look even more oily than in person or cause rosacea patches to look even more red than usual. Creating a skincare routine that focuses on creating healthy, even skin will help you look fabulous on and off camera.
11. Wear makeup strategically.
Makeup can help you look better on camera and feel more confident, but you shouldn’t necessarily be doing the same routine you do off-camera. For instance, eye makeup doesn’t show up very well on camera, so you can just stick to mascara. A tinted moisturizer will even out your skin tone without making it look like you’re wearing makeup, and lip balm will keep chapped lips from looking flaky. Even if you don’t wear makeup, you might want to consider keeping oil blotting sheets on hand to control shine.
12. Try out a filter.
Some video call software, such as Zoom, provides filters that smooth out your skin and improve your appearance—no makeup required. If that sounds appealing to you, consider playing around with some of these filters to see what effects they have. Make sure not to choose one that’s too exaggerated or it will look unnatural (we’re looking at you, potato filter).
Say goodbye to bad-looking video calls with these 12 tips. Video calls are going to be a staple of the new work world, so you’ll really benefit from embracing the medium and learning how to present it in a good light (pun intended).
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