With “social distancing”, quarantines and working from home being the new normal we’re all spending time on Zoom or FaceTime video calls for work and to stay in touch with family & friends. But it’s not always easy to look good on video (especially if you’re older) so I’m sharing my best “blogger secrets” for How to Look Your Best on Video Calls!
Finding flattering lighting is one of the best ways to look good on video and generally speaking, the most flattering light is indirect natural light from a window that’s directly in front of you! The least flattering light is direct bright sun or light coming from the side or overhead because it will cast dark shadows. Light from behind you will leave you in shadow.
Blogger Trick: To find the most flattering light, bring up the camera on your cell phone & flip it around so you can see yourself on the screen. Now walk around to different areas and notice where the light is softest and illuminates your face without creating too many shadows. Once you find that spot, that’s where you should set up your video area!
The most flattering light is soft indirect natural light that doesn’t cast a lot of shadows!
If it’s dim out or you don’t have a window available you can use a household lamp or purchase a small tabletop ring light to supplement the light. Place the lamp/ring light behind your laptop or phone so the camera is in between you and the light with the light above the laptop or phone so they don’t cast shadows on your face.
This tabletop ring light is just $45 and is dimmable so it works well at night too! #2 Camera Angle
How many times have you turned on your phone/ipad/laptop when it’s in your lap and been shocked at the jowls & neck wrinkles staring back at you? A low camera angle is universally unflattering.
If you raise your camera to slightly above eye level, it forces your chin up which reduces the look of jowls & neck wrinkles. You can raise your laptop up with boxes or books (I use a 12″ file box).
You want to sit roughly arms length from your laptop (so you can still reach your keyboard) and angle the lid down a little so you have 1/2 inch of space above your head. You don’t want to be too low in the shot. Webcams have wide angle lenses so they take in a wide field of view but they distort your face if you come in too close. Ideally you want your head (with a little room above) down to mid-chest in the shot.
There’s too much space above my head in this shot. Angle the laptop lid down to decrease the empty space above your head and include more of your torso!
You can elevate your phone using the same stack of books or file box and lean it against something but to get the slightly downward angle it helps to use a tabletop tripod.
If you have a pop-socket you can hang your phone from the lip of a mug (works horizontal or vertical). Added bonus, your arm won’t get tired and your hands will be free!
If you want to look good, you’ll have to put a little effort into your hair and makeup! Take 10-15 minutes to put on mascara and lipstick and fix your hair (even if you just do the front). Doing my self-care rituals like hair & makeup makes me feel better and more normal during these unusual times!
Spritz the front of your hair with water & do a quick blow out of your bangs or use a hot styling tool to organize the front sections of hair. You want to look like you usually do at work so mascara & lipstick at a minimum. stay at home makeup, makeup 101 for mature beginners
Dress codes are more relaxed when working from home but wearing your giant hoodie or your jammies looks unprofessional! Only your top half will show on video calls so wear your regular work tops or what would be acceptable in your office on casual fridays. You can wear whatever you want on the bottom but make sure you have everything you need for the call because if you have to get up during the call everyone will see that you’re still in your jammies on the bottom!
Once you choose your filming spot preview what’s in the shot and clean up the background. It should be neat & clutter free, and ideally it would be an area that you can keep clean.
Laptop and phone cameras have a wide angle lens so whatever’s behind you will be in the shot so best to keep it neat and free of clutter!
Try to reduce noises from pets, kids, & appliances. While people are more relaxed and some noise distractions should be expected, no one wants to hear your dog bark for the entire call. Cats, dogs and kids walking through or wanting a little attention are usually welcome!
Try not to stare at yourself on the screen when you’re speaking. You’ll look more engaged when you look into the camera, so figure out where it is and look right into the lense!
Try not to play with your hair, scratch your nose, rub your eyes, or stick fingers in your ears! People don’t realize how much they do these things which can be distracting, annoying, and sometimes just gross!
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