It’s a brave new communications world of Skype, FaceTime, vlogs, video messaging, video conferencing, YouTube, and whatever new technology is right around the corner. It’s made it possible for many of use to work from home. But talking on the phone in your PJs and a mud mask is virtually out of the question. Being perennially ‘on display’ causes agita in the camera-shy; and for those who can’t be on camera enough, it’s a faux pas waiting to happen—especially with business contacts whose only visual impression of you is filtered through your webcam’s less-than-flattering lens. On the plus side: you only need to look polished and professional from the waist up. On the minus side: when you’re alone in a room chatting with your computer (especially if you grew up pre-video communications) it’s very easy to forget that people can see you.
These 5 easy tips will ensure that you’re ready for your webcam close-up.
Good Hair—Keep it soft and natural and neat. You’ve probably noticed that webcam images tend to look a little distorted; details can get blurred out. What looks chicly tousled in real life can come across as crazy frizz on camera. On the flip side, a super slick pulled back ‘do can make your forehead go on for days. Go for polished, controlled, easy hair.
Know Your Angles—Perspective is everything—in life and in photos. It goes without saying that slouching while chatting into a laptop propped precariously on your belly is not a good look. One look at yourself from that angle should be enough to send you screaming to a plastic surgeon. So sit up straight! Try different angles in front of a mirror; as a rule, positioning the camera slightly higher than your face is most flattering. Adjust your seat accordingly, so that you can type easily while chatting beautifully.
Lighting is Key—Natural light is best and we all know the horrors of fluorescent lighting. Go for soft white or daylight, if possible, and avoid backlighting or harsh shadows.
Pay Attention to Your Backdrop—Depending on your audience, you may not want an array of family photos and personal mementos displayed over your shoulder…or a view of your dog’s favorite chair, your unmade bed, the wall where your budding Diego Rivera has started a Crayola® mural…you get the idea.