• Pablo Peña

How to Look Great in Your Next Online Video Meeting

Updated: Feb 22, 2021

Young business woman not happy with her looks on video
Not pleased with how you look on video?

How do you look on video meetings?

During this period of social distancing and telecommuting to work, it is likely you must attend online video meetings, for business or other personal reasons. If you have already attended some online meetings and used video, you probably did not like the way you looked on camera.

Did you wonder if there was a way to make yourself look better on screen for your Zoom, Skype, or any other online meeting when you had to turn your camera on? If that question came to mind, then maybe this little secret can help you with your looks on camera and to boost your confidence.

Business woman on online video meeting
Lighting has a strong influence on how you look on camera

For many experienced users of video meetings, the most important detail to pay attention to when preparing how you will look on the screen is the lighting. Yes, that’s right. It’s the light.

The light that is used when you are in front of a video camera has the most influence on how you will look like to people on the other side.This is a brief outline of how you could prepare the lighting for your next video meeting and look like a star.

  • Step one First, find and use the best source of light. Before you sit down in front of your computer, go around your house or office and search for the best light. Ideally use a room with a window. Natural, soft, diffused daylight is the best. Walking around with your laptop and webcam on, looking for the best lighting, may not be the best way. Instead use your mobile telephone. Turn its video camera on. Use the front view video camera as if you were going to take a selfie. Go near a window. Look at yourself on the screen. Especially pay attention to the shadows on your face as the direction the light is coming from changes as you move. The light should come directly on your face and not from above or you will have too many shadows on your face. Avoid light coming from the side, unless you have another source of light to fill in the shadows this will create on one side of your face. Neither use light from behind you. In this last case your face would appear completely dark. Try to avoid direct sunlight that would be too bright. If you do not have a window and the lighting is not good enough, you can find many online suppliers of simple, portable, and easy to use lighting equipment. They are like what you can see at a photographic studio. Once you find that spot with the best lighting, move to the next step.

  • The next step is to find the right camera angle Set your laptop on a flat stable surface in the place that has the best lighting.. The safest would be a table of course. Get a comfortable chair. Sit down. Check the height of the table. If the table is too low, try to put something underneath the laptop so that it is a little higher. The webcam should be at approximately the same level as your eyes. It does not have to be 100% exact. Then move the laptop cover that holds the built-in webcam slowly back and forth as you look at yourself on the screen. Do not leave too much empty space above your head. Another important detail is not to sit too close to the screen. Many modern webcams have wide angle lens. If you get too close your face will look distorted. Move slowly towards and away from the camera a few times until you find the right distance. The ideal would be within arm’s reach. One more thing to consider is what lies behind you. Ideally the backdrop is not a clutter of objects that will distract your interlocutor and draw attention away from you and what you are saying. Having a plain, uniform background is particularly important if you plan on using the chroma keying function that some meeting software now offers. This allows you to remove the actual background and insert a virtual one. The more clutter behind you, the less well this will work. The more contrast there is between you and the backdrop the better it will work.

  • Finally, do not forget to test your computer audio before your online meeting. Most online video meeting software have a section within their settings to test the speakers and the microphone. To find the right volume level for the mic and the speakers, use their test function. It will record your own voice and play it back. Then adjust the levels accordingly.

Then you are all set and ready to go.

With practice and experience you will get better at this. Making yourself or someone else look their best will be a piece of cake for you.