I’ve been using Zoom for several years now, well before the pandemic hit, to host virtual events, workshops and meetings. My biggest issue with being online is my appearance. Even if I am wearing PJ bottoms, my hair, face, and background have to be presentable, especially when I am the event host. I’ve put together some tips or lessons learned from my mistakes.
I’ve been guilty of this. When I am in a rush and don’t have the time to set up my webcam it often ends up pointing under my face and looking up my nose. Not the best view for my guests or the folks I am communicating with on Webcam. To avoid this make sure that the camera is either at eye level or at your hairline and pointing slightly down at you.
Also, another thing to keep in mind is that cameras on smartphones and webcams are wide-angle. So if you get too close to it, it will not be very flattering. Sit at least an arm’s length in front of your device to avoid the distorted look.
2. LOOK INTO THE CAMERA WHEN YOU SPEAK
Even though the event is virtual, you want to give your guests the impression that you are looking directly at them. Find the camera on your device and position yourself so your eyes are level with it. Put a sticky note with an arrow or with the words “look here” next to the camera, so you are reminded to look at the camera during the event or meeting. Also, avoid checking out your image or the other guests or speakers’ images.
Find a place in your home, preferably with a clean and neutral background like a plain wall with minimal art, or something simple like a plant or a bookshelf. Make sure the room is clutter-free and doesn’t have a lot of distractions, like piles of paper, laundry, or other junk. Also, keep a minimum of three feet between the back of your head and the wall behind you, so you don’t blend into the background and flatten your shot.
Or use a green screen as your background and then either select one of Zoom’s virtual backgrounds or create your own and upload it to Zoom.
Lighting plays a key role in how you look on screen. Find a room with either natural light from a window or a good electric light source so your face is clearly visible.
However, strong backlight (light coming from behind you) whether from a window, a door, or an electric light can overpower the camera, (called a “washout effect”) that will create unflattering shadows, and make it hard for the other folks on Zoom to see your face. It’s best to have a light facing you and behind your webcam or camera.
If you have the budget, it’s worth investing in a ring light. Ring lights like the Neeweer Ring Light and the Fauna Ring Light come highly recommended on Amazon. They are inexpensive and look great on camera. If you wear glasses though, you would need to angle the light, so it doesn’t reflect on your glasses
5.WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES
Wear solid colors but avoid distracting colors like white or flashy colors like red or bright yellow or a color too similar to your background. Also, busy patterns like checks, florals, and tiny stripes can moiré and distort the video.
6.MAKEUP AND JEWELRY
If you normally wear makeup, you can apply it a little more heavily for the camera, partly to reduce the shine from the lights.
Also, avoid wearing distracting jewelry. Big hoops or a large necklace or pendant could catch the light and draw attention away from your responses.
If you tend to gesture and use your hands a lot while speaking, you may also want to avoid wearing bracelets that could jingle and distract your interviewer.
7.TEST YOUR VIDEO
You want to show up to your meeting already looking good so that you’re not adjusting your lighting, background, screen brightness, angle, or hair live for everyone to see. Zoom has an option for showing you a preview of your video before the call starts.
8.“TOUCH UP MY APPEARANCE”
Zoom offers this cool setting called “touch up my appearance” which gives your display a soft-focus, airbrushed look. This feature smooths out your skin’s appearance and helps add an extra layer of polish to your appearance. Tap or click on the settings menu on your Zoom meeting or webinar. Select the “video” settings, and then choose the “touch up my appearance” button.
About the writer
She loves inspiring, empowering and bringing people together through my events. She has hosted over 350 in person and virtual events and is looking forward to teaching entrepreneurs to launch, scale and monetize their business through her 4 week accelerator, The Digital Event Academy on February 15th 2021
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