Zoom meetings, happy hour on Hangouts, or other conference calls looking drab after weeks of staying home? By now you know how bad mini webcams, mismatched makeup, and virtual backgrounds look on camera. But a glossy environment is possible, even in quarantine, with a few techniques used by TV news broadcasters to movie stars.
Changing your computer video setup will help you with your next promotion, interview for a new job, and more from home. Dress up your skin, your webcam, and your lighting with these professional tips and you’ll gleam during quarantine meetings.
Frame the shot
Put the bottom of your laptop at the bottom of your chin, so your eyes are looking up just slightly to the camera. If you’re at a desk, lower your chair a little. Make sure people can see the top of your head down to the top of your chest.
Don’t let the background distract from the star: You! Make sure you have a background that is clear of clutter and maybe is the corner of a room, to give viewers a sense of what you look like in that space. Frame it so you’re the broadcaster or interviewer to note. And don’t use silly Zoom backgrounds on business calls, they make you look choppy and ill-lit.
Fill the frame
Notice how people talking on the news look when they’re in those boxes talking to each other? There’s not a lot of space above their heads or below. Make sure you’re facing the middle of the frame with not too much space around you unless of course, you want your boss to see the unwashed laundry! It’s your call!
You look worse on camera, so use makeup to make you look your best. Anyone of any gender looks better with powder makeup on camera. Broadcasters on TV freshen up with it between takes for a reason, it reduces fine lines and signs of tiredness. Go online to get a color match and dab it on a few minutes before your next call.
Blot out spots or darkness on skin
Get rid of the grease on your face by blotting with blotting papers. If you have oily skin, look up charcoal papers or other drying agents that are gentle on skin. Again, this is more skincare protocol than looking movie-ready, but putting on undereye concealer and wiping oil off your nose will help you look super professional and bright.
Face natural light
Facing soft light is key to good looks on calls! Face the light and have your camera face you opposite of it. Natural light with some sun is best. Cloudy days make for flat lighting, which is why you might want to turn on a lamp to the side to give your face definition, but it’s still better than having a desk lamp face you. Face a window in the morning or afternoon, or face the middle of a room during the day when light is harsher. Artificial light comes in several shades your eyes can’t detect, but that looks really bad in those tiny cameras. Get out of the basement and onto the roof, patio, or other well-light outdoor space if you can and have your face shine in all its Zoom glory.
Hollywood lights are a team of three
Inside? Turn three sources of light on at different spaces in the room. The angles will make you look soft on your cheeks and defined on your jawline. Put one light behind your camera/computer, one off to the side about five feet and another farther back. Don’t rely too much on overhead lighting, it casts dark shadows that would make even the best person look grim.
If you’re inside a lot. Set up a strong go-to light. Put one floor lamp or desk lamp behind the camera, so that again, you’re facing the light. Or buy a selfie ring LED light you can clip onto your phone or the top of your computer if you’re in a dark space. Good ones go for around $20 and will make your eyes reverb with the same brightness as a professional interviewee.
Wear a solid, bright color
Black and patterns might be what you have in your closet but invest in a bright or pastel button-up, blouse or vest. Newscasters wear pinks, yellows, blues, and other solids because they show up well on camera, brighten the skin and maybe even boost energy. No one needs to know you’re wearing pajama pants below.
These are some hot tips to look like a broadcast tv star on your next video call. To enter and leave meetings, smile! You’ll look great for it and it removes any concern your video colleagues might have about you if they’re used to seeing you wrapped up in a robe in a cavernous basement on calls.