Although some people have already returned to their offices, some still work from home to follow the recommendations of social distancing. And unless you’re a freelancer, working from home means lots of online meetings. 

But it’s not only about work. Video calls have always come in handy for families and couples who live in different countries. 

Although some people see it as mere vanity, learning how to look your best on video calls is getting more important than ever. Like it or not, some colleagues and interviewers may jump to conclusions based on how you look.

Let’s see some quick tips that will make you look more professional!

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How to Look Your Best on Video Calls

How to Look Your Best on Video Calls

Step 1: Let There Be Light!

I don’t know about you, but I rather see clear facial features than a mysterious silhouette! 

But no worries, it doesn’t take a professional to set a suitable, well-lit environment. All you have to do is make sure the light is falling on your face while making the least shadows. 

In the morning, your best bet would be to sit in front of a window. But surely, make sure it’s closed to avoid disrupting the call with the sound of cars and passersby. 

In the evening, set a lamp just behind your laptop or phone. Try to pick a soft lamp that won’t tire your eyes. And make sure the shadow of the device you’re using doesn’t extend onto your face. 

Experiment With Lots of Settings

If I have an important call coming up, I like to record multiple videos in different settings around my home. I experiment with light, shadows, camera height, etc. 

Believe it or not, bright environments may not always look that good. If light hits your face from a weird angle, the shadows can make you look tired, grumpy, or even creepy!

Step 2: Raise Up Your Camera 

Do you know why dad’s selfies look weird? It’s all about the angle. As a rule of thumb, the camera must stand in front of your eyes, or slightly higher. 

When you set it lower than that, you’ll give people an unflattering view of your nostrils! Plus, it’ll probably make you look like you have a double-chin, even if you actually don’t. 

Since most tables are way shorter than your eye-level, your laptop should sit on top of some books. For phones, you can get a pretty versatile stand for less than $25. Cheaper models will work, but they may limit the angle adjustability to some extent. 

Step 3: Say No to Pajamas! 

We’ve all thought about it at one point or another. It’s tempting to wear a jacket with a shirt and tie, then wear whatever feels comfy under the belt. No one would know, right? Well, not necessarily! 

You never know what could happen. For one, if your phone slipped from the stand, you’ll definitely expose yourself as you try to adjust it. 

Step 4: Choose a Suitable Background

In professional calls, avoid flexing with your home décor. It’s not that people won’t love it, it’s just that it’ll take the attention away from you.

Generally speaking, aim for a background with solid, bright color. If you must have something hanging in the background, a small painting or a minimal clock will do. 

Unless you’re living alone, always try to sit right in front of a wall. I’m sure you’ve seen lots of viral video calls where the boyfriend is walking naked in the background! This applies to toddlers and young kids, too! 

Step 5: Consider Your Connection 

If you normally struggle with your wireless signal, it’d be wise to connect via an ethernet cable. And even if your WiFi is flawless, going with a wire will ensure you look crisp rather than pixelated.

If you’re stuck with WiFi, make sure nobody in the house is using it with you. No downloading, no Netflix, and no Youtube. 

Step 6: Go for Smaller Headphones

Personally, I love using gaming headphones. They make music and audio much more immersive while blocking outside noises.

But in professional meetings, I prefer using a minimal pair. The bulky ear cups and headband can interfere with the lighting and mess up your hair. 

Go for in-ear headphones or, better yet, wireless earbuds. Just make sure the microphone delivers acceptable quality. 

If you don’t own functioning headphones, buying a new pair is a must! Depending on your built-in speakers and microphone will create feedback. In simpler words, the people talking to you will hear their voices echoing back at their ears. 

Step 7: Test Before You Accept

Right before entering a call, it’s always a good idea to open a camera preview to check your clothes, hair, lighting, and environment. 

Almost all online-meeting platforms offer this feature. 

Step 8: Stay Mindful of Your Posture

People who’ve never worked remotely tend to make video calls from the comfort of their beds. It may feel comfortable, but it doesn’t look as good as sitting on a desk. 

When you sit on a chair, you can maintain an upright posture by keeping your back supported. Not only will this make you look energized, but it’ll also ensure that the angle and lights stay in perfect condition. 

Step 9: Let It Go! 

Let me ask you this: When you’re talking with anyone in real life, do you hold a small mirror beside their faces to see yourself? Probably not! That’s how things should go on video calls. 

“How will this help,” you might ask? Well, this will let you focus on what you’re saying. You’ll be less likely to aimlessly adjust your hair or lighting. 

Surely, apps differ in the way with which you can turn off the preview. On Zoom, right-click on the preview and choose “Hide Myself”. 

If you’re using a phone without a stand, It’s better to keep the preview enabled. Otherwise, the camera can shift into an embarrassing angle without you knowing. 

To Sum Up 

I hope my guide on how to look your best on video calls was helpful enough. If you have to join a meeting on a short notice, the one thing you should never ignore is the lighting. Make sure the light is standing in front of you, not behind your back. And verify that shadows aren’t making you look weird.