Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
I don’t know about you, but I never feel like I look my best on a webcam. What is it about those little cameras that seem to suck the life out of us?
The good news is that there are a few tricks to making sure you look your best for those all-important Skype calls with a potential agent. I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve learned from experience.
First, let me say: Don’t stress out!
With a little effort, it’s not difficult to create the right impression on your webcam. If you’re a writer, working at home, then that’s exactly the kind of environment that’s appropriate for you. In other situations, you may want to create a more polished professional impression. These are some ideas that you can take or leave, according to your own needs.
- Put your webcam level with your eyes or slightly higher.
Most people’s webcam is situated too low, and people don’t look their best in a camera angle that’s coming from beneath their chin. Grab a couple of books and place them under your laptop if necessary. Get that webcam up above your eyes.
- Experiment with different zoom levels and angles.
Move your webcam a little closer to your face, and a little farther away… figure out what looks best. If your webcam is at the top of your laptop screen, move your screen back and forth, creating different angles, again attempting to determine which angle suits you.
- Use plenty of light.
Make sure you’re not backlit — the light should come from in front of you (behind your webcam) or from the side, but not from behind. You may want to try putting a lamp on or near your desk so that it lights up your face. Try different ways of lighting yourself, avoiding glare and washout, yet creating a pleasing and clear image.
- Mind your background.
One of the problems of the too-low webcam is that the background becomes a giant white ceiling, which doesn’t look that great. A right-height webcam allows for a more pleasing background. What’s in your specific background doesn’t matter all that much, so long as it’s not distracting. You want your viewers to focus on you, not the pile of laundry on your bed. If you’re using a laptop, you have a lot of flexibility to take it wherever you want to get the background you want. Again, experiment.
- Pay attention to hair and clothing.
It’s not a beauty pageant, but you’ll still want to spare a moment before getting on your call (or recording your blog) to check your image and make sure it’s what you want to portray. You can stay in your pj-bottoms and slippers if you want, but put a decent shirt on! Women who typically wear makeup should wear some for the video, maybe even a little brighter than usual — it makes a big difference on a webcam.
- Get a new webcam if you need to.
If your webcam doesn’t provide a pleasing picture no matter how you adjust it or set the lighting, you may need to look at getting a new one. They’re relatively inexpensive these days, and they’re made to clip conveniently on to your laptop or monitor.
- Create a “videochat” space in your home or office.
This is for people who use webcams frequently. Once you’ve done some experimenting with lighting, background, webcam placement and angles, create a space that you always use for your video blogging or chatting. It should be quick and easy for you to get your lighting, camera level and angles just right so that you can go into a video session with very little preparation each time. Since I have a few video sessions each week, I have a permanent setup at my desk with just-right lighting and camera height, and it makes my life so much easier.
As you can tell, my overall recommendation is to give this some thought and experimentation before your next video chat. With just a few moments of practice, you can determine exactly what works and always be ready to look your best on video.
What do you love or hate about this brave new world of all-things-video? And what are YOUR tips for looking good?
Why do we feel we never look our best on a webcam? Here are a few tips. Click to Tweet.
Create a favorable impression by looking great on a webcam! Click to Tweet.
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