Webcam tips to assure you – literally – appear in the best light
While many of us have been doing video conferencing for a while, there are a great many people worldwide, due to the COVID-19 crisis and the need to work from home, who have suddenly found themselves out of necessity having to get on video conferences for the first time ever.
When looking at your image on a webcam, one thing you probably can’t help but notice is that sometimes your face is somewhat less than flattering. Whether you’re a video conferencing veteran or newbie, there are likely some best practices that you have not considered which can, literally, help put you in a better light.
With that in mind, and help from our friends at Momentum Conferencing and popular video platform Wistia, here are some tips and tricks that should help significantly improve your appearance when using a webcam.
RAISE YOUR WEBCAM
Ideally, you want the lens of your webcam to be level with your eye line (or even slightly above it). Chances are you’ve got a stack of books around, or even an old box. Place your laptop on top, make some adjustments, and you should be good to go!
GIVE YOURSELF SOME HEADROOM
Position yourself about an arm’s length away from the screen, and make sure you leave a bit of space between the top of your hair and the top of the frame. In the video production world, this space is called “headroom.”
ALWAYS FACE YOUR LIGHT SOURCE
If you have an obvious light source near you (like a window), be sure to always keep it in front of you, not behind you. When introducing yourself to a new client, it’s best if you don’t look like a mysterious shadow with no eyes. But seriously, light is a beautiful thing. Use it to your advantage.
If you don’t have a window, or if you’re conferencing at night, don’t just rely on overhead lights. If you happen to have an external monitor, place it right behind your laptop, and use it as a light source – a white background or zooming in on a white image will work best.
REMOVE CLUTTER FROM BEHIND
This one seems intuitive, but it’s easy to forget. Home offices can get messy, and sometimes you might leave a dirty plate or glass on a table behind you. Don’t distract your audience with clutter in the frame – a quick cleanup can do wonders.
AUDIO IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS VIDEO
Audio can be tricky, especially if you’re in a larger open space. Try your best to distance yourself from any background noise. Of course, the other issue many of us are currently having to deal with: family at home making noise within earshot. If you truly can’t escape the brouhaha, then plug in some headphones with a built-in microphone. With the mic closer to your mouth, your voice should cut through the noise more clearly.
Natural light is soft and flattering. When positioned in front of you, such as in this image, it will limit shadows on your face and provide you with a good webcam image.
USING LIGHTS FROM YOUR HOME OFFICE
If you are going to use lights from your home office, ensure they are in front of you. If you only have one light that works, position it directly behind the webcam and focus it on your face.
IDEAL WEBCAM SET UP
By using a combination of natural light from the window and lights both on your left and right sides, you will have good coverage.
Finally, you may want to consider these webcams to crank up the production value of your next video conference a few more notches.
- Best High End – Logitech Brio
- Best Bang for your Buck – Logitech C922
- Best Webcam with a light built-in – Razer Kiyo