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7 Tips to Look Better on Video Calls



It’s a new world of video calls and virtual meetings. Here are the tips you need to look better on Zoom calls, FaceTime, Skype, Slack or whatever video service you use.

Some of these tips are as simple as choosing where you have your video call or turning on a setting in Zoom. I’ll share one of my favorite video call accessories and a few tips you can use immediately if you want to look better on your video calls.

I’ve been working from home for almost a decade and I use these tips to stay in touch with remote teams. My best advice is that while you should take some steps to make your video calls look better, you don’t always need to be 100% perfect on a video call. These tips simply remove the distractions and help you come across better — even if you’re not all dressed up as you would be in an office.

Raise Your Camera Higher, But Not Too High

Get your webcam or laptop at the right angle.

The last thing you want is a camera pointing up your nose or aiming down to show off a receding hairline. You can get an external webcam, but the fastest way to solve this is with a stand for your laptop.

I like this affordable model from Amazon and I really love the Yohann MacBook stand. If you don’t have time to wait for a stand, grab a few books and elevate your laptop so that the camera is pointing right at your face, not up or down.

Read: 7 Tips to Work From Home on Short Notice

You’ll likely want an external mouse and keyboard to make this work out well, but if you need to take notes or look things up while on a call you should invest in them. It also is more ergonomic for your workday.

Look at the Camera, Not Yourself

When you are on the video call, try to look at the camera, not at yourself on the screen. This can be hard to do because most of us look at ourselves first in group photos and while on video calls.

Looking at the camera helps with the angle mentioned in the above tip, but it also creates a feeling of eye contact that can help the other people on the call feel a connection. This will take some getting used to, but it is worth working on.

Turn On Zoom’s Beauty Filter

Use Zoom’s built-in touch up my appearance feature to look better on calls.

Zoom offers a “touch up my appearance” feature that will help make you look a little better on video calls. This is similar to the skin smoothing filters found on many social media apps.

It’s not going to completely change your look, but it will soften your skin and hide some blemishes and in general make you look a little better. Embrace the technology assist. Here’s how to turn on the Zoom beauty filter.

  1. Open Zoom
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Click on Video Settings
  4. Check the Touch up my appearance option

Zoom will remember this option until you turn it off. You can also turn it on in the iOS app. Go to Settings -> Meetings -> Touch Up My Appearance.

Get Better Lighting for Your Calls

Lighting is important to look good on a video call. The easiest way to do this is to take a call in natural light. If you have a window nearby, open the blinds and let the sun in to light you up. You want the light in front of you or off to the side. You don’t want it behind you, or it could get distracting.

My favorite accessory is the Lume Cube Air VC, which is a small light that is designed to make you look better on video calls. It comes with a small suction cup mount to connect to your laptop lid or your monitor. It also clips to the back of a phone, tablet or to a small tripod if that works better.

The Lume Cube Air VC is $49.99 from Lume Cube or Amazon.

Find a Fun Background

Find a fun background for your video calls.

On Zoom you can set a virtual background, but if you are on another call or if you don’t want to mess with a fake background it is a good idea to find a place that isn’t super distracting but also doesn’t feel like a hospital waiting room.

If you have a fun wall with art or something you collect, it’s great to have that in the background. Show a little personality here with something fun that stands out in your house or apartment.

Read: Best Video Chat Apps

Dress for Success

This doesn’t mean dressing up in full business attire. What you do need to keep in mind is the color and patterns of what you are wearing. It’s a good idea to avoid complex patterns, stripes, and plaids. These can show weird effects on the screen as you move and depending on the lighting.

A bold, bright color or at least a color that doesn’t match the background is a good start. Embrace the new work from home experience and show off your favorite shirts, colors or even a team or hobby that you enjoy. Add some personality, but figure out how you look on camera and against your backdrop.

Upgrade Your Webcam

Upgrade your webcam to look better on video calls.

Another way that you can look better on video calls is to get a new webcam. The standard webcam on most laptops is OK but isn’t spectacular. The challenge to this tip is that webcams are hard to find right now.

You can check at B&H Photo, Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, Logitech, and other retailers, but you may find that you need to look on eBay for new or used models.

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