Video conferencing is most definitely here to stay.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to distance ourselves from friends, family, and colleagues, video calls were rising in popularity.
There is a big difference, however, between FaceTiming a friend and getting on a work call.
Your bestie might not care that you’re half in shadow, and your hair is in a messy bun.
Your boss, however, wants to be able to see you during that big presentation.
The stakes for looking good on camera are even higher if you’re on a video date or a Zoom job interview.
The good news is that you don’t need a lighting crew or a glam squad to put your best face forward on video calls.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on tech accessories, either.
A few quick and easy changes will turn your calls from drab to fab.
Raise your camera
If you video chat on a laptop or phone, you’re probably holding it below the level of your face.
That means your chin is tucked in and, well, that’s not a flattering angle on anyone.
You want to get your face level so that your jawline looks more sculpted, and your features aren’t distorted.
The easy solution is to stack up some books and perch your laptop on top of them to get the camera level with your eyes.
With your phone, either hold it up, or if that makes your arms hurt, prop it up on a table or desk while you chat.
Your posture will be more natural, and it will feel like you’re looking people in the eye like you would in-person.
Find your light
Someone once said, “There are no bad pictures, just bad lighting.”
That’s why lighting is such a big deal for photo and film shoots.
You may not have professional quality lighting, but you can make the lamps you do have work in your favor.
The big thing is to have the light shining toward your face. Position a light in front of you so you’re illuminated evenly.
Avoid backlighting that can put you into silhouette.
You also don’t want light shining from overhead or off to one side because that will make weird shadows on your face.
Zoom has filters on its desktop version so you can touch up your makeup virtually.
Go to Settings and choose Backgrounds and Filters.
From here, you can click on Video Filters that let you have Snapchat-style filters on your face.
Looking like a teddy bear or unicorn is fun for causal calls but for a more professional look, toggle to the Studio Effects option.
You’ll find eyebrow and lip color options you can add to your screen.
There are also facial hair overlays.
It’s not the same as having a glam squad come do your makeup, but it is a good option when you don’t have time to put on lipstick.
Make your background flattering
Any stylist will tell you that you need to pick clothing and makeup colors that flatter your skin tone.
Use that advice when you select a virtual background for calls as well.
Pick an image in color that makes your features pop but doesn’t distract from your face.
There’s no shame in logging on and playing around with different backgrounds to see what works best before you get on a call.
Brush your teeth
Video calls benefit from eliminating bad breath worries, but you don’t want to have lettuce between your teeth on camera.
Taking the time for a grooming routine before calls helps you look better, and you’ll feel more confident.
Brush your teeth, fix your hair, put on a flattering top, and even swipe on some light makeup if you like (you don’t want to look shiny on camera).
Adding a necklace, earrings, or a nice jacket and tie can bring everything together so you look like your best self online.
Adding these techniques to your call-prep will make a big difference in how you look on camera.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to look prettier or more professional.
It’s all about planning ahead to get the best lighting, angles, and background so you look your best.