How To Look Good On a Webcam

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how to look good on web cameraHere’s a little something many of us dread – webcam meetings. It’s one thing to chat with friends and family using Skype or Google Hangouts, but it’s another thing completely to try to look good and maintain a professional image for a webcam meeting. The same sense of dread can apply to anyone who has to record video for a presentation or for a show they’re hosting. Even if you’re really confident, you might not look that great on the webcam, which completely ruins the whole take.

So, how does one look good for a webcam? Well, it’s two-parts this, one part that and a shake of something undefinable, really. But, no matter how elusive the goal seems, there’s always a few good tips anyone can follow which will at least get us looking our best for the camera.

1. Use Decent Equipment

Using a cheap webcam will leave you with sub-par results, as will a cheap microphone, Wi-Fi connection and overloaded computer. If you’re serious about looking good, get a decent external webcam, get a USB-powered microphone, use an Ethernet connection and make sure you close any unnecessary apps.

2. Make Yourself Presentable

Yeah, it’s not a great idea to stay in your pyjamas. Also, remember these people will be staring directly at you for the duration of the call/video, so do a last-minute quick check of your hair positioning, check for stray facial hair and make sure there’s nothing out of place people will be drawn to. As you’re possibly going to be in high-definition up close, consider using at least a little makeup as any imperfections will show up on camera. Photography-standard makeup isn’t over the top if you’re trying to look perfect.

3. Check Your Background

A plain white wall is pretty boring, but piles of junk are both distracting and unpleasant. See what you can do to create a pleasant background with no mess and very few visual distractions.

how to look good on web

4. Light From The Front

If it’s at all possible to relocate the lights before you use a webcam, then do so. Too much light from behind will dim you out completely, so try to shine light on yourself from the front, preferably from slightly above. If there’s a window in the room, try to face that as the light from the window will be best. It’s difficult to avoid glare and washout, but try out a few different positions to get the best results. If you don’t have a handy window or lamp, consider using an external monitor behind your webcam. Just bring up something very white on-screen and turn up the brightness.

5. Look Up At The Camera

A slight change in camera positioning could make a world of difference. When you’re looking down at a camera, you’re giving yourself a double chin and showing off your nose-hairs. Looking up is far more flattering! Stick your laptop on a few books if you need to.

how to look good on web

6. Set Up A Dedicated Webcam Space

If you’re using your webcam a lot, you may want to set up your office so that you will always have a decent background, front lighting and your camera at a good height. If you ensure you keep your webcam equipment, ethernet cable, comb, decent shirt and basic makeup ready in that location, you’ll be able to jump into webcam chats at short notice and be sure to look as good as possible.

how to look good on web

7. Check The Results With A Friend

If you’re not sure about your set-up, set up a Skype chat with a trusted friend and ask for their opinion. They should easily be able to help you decide if the background is okay, if the lighting is right and help you to look natural and at your best.

8. Prepare Your Speech

Knowing what you’re going to say takes you most of the way to a confident attitude and will certainly help to make a good impression. If you’re having a meeting, make sure you know the main points you need to get across. If you need statistics or other data on hand, make sure you have it ready before your webcam chat starts, just as you would for an in-person meeting. If you’re doing a show, make notes and practise your part just like you would for any acting role or public presentation.

9. Be Yourself

A desire to look good can easily lead to copying and imitating other people. Don’t! Just be yourself and stay calm. If you’ve followed all the steps so far, you should be confident that you look your best and are prepared to be on camera. So, just keep smiling and stay cool.

how to look good on web camera

More Webcam Ideas

If you’re looking for ways to be creative with your webcam, check out these articles:

What are your best tips for looking good on webcam? Let us know!

Image Credits: Businesswoman using her notebook via Shutterstock, Blond woman chatting on webcam via Shutterstock

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  1. Jay
    September 26, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    I'm so sorry. But if i look at your pictures... this is exactly what i DON'T want to look like on a webcam. Too many pimples and other red zones on your head.

    thnx for not helping!

  2. Edward Bellair
    November 20, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    There are some people who just can't be helped tho,

  3. Patrick McAuley
    November 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    One thing I was hoping you would have suggestions for was how to avoid reflections. I wear glasses and whenever I use Skype, the bright computer screen reflects in my eyeglasses so whoever is on the other end can't see my eyes. I've tried turning my head a bit, but that looks strange. Best thing I've come up with is making sure I have a plain black wallpaper and making the video image on my screen smaller, so there's less to reflect in my glasses. Of course, this means I don't get as good a view of the other person. Anyone have other suggestions? (I won't move to contacts just for this.)

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 9, 2012 at 10:12 am

      Oh, that's a clever trick. I don't have glasses, so I haven't looked into it.

  4. Chaos Emperor
    November 6, 2012 at 6:45 am

    Thank god.Finally found it

  5. Tony Yarbrough
    November 5, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Angela, Some good information. However, I would have preferred to take this one step beyond. Such as how to take and image [photo of self, favorite pet, etc.] and place it as what hte camarea broadcasts instead of yourself - live.

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 9, 2012 at 10:11 am

      If I understand you correctly, you could just upload your preferred image as your profile picture then turn off your webcam. Then, even if you can see other people on webcam, they'll still see your profile picture.

  6. Terafall
    November 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Thank you for the tips.I've been looking very badly for this

  7. Daniel Escasa
    November 5, 2012 at 4:48 am

    If you’re not sure about your set-up, set up a Skype chat with a trusted friend and ask for their opinion. They should easily be able to help you decide if the background is okay, if the lighting is right and help you to look natural and at your best.

    Some video-conferencing services do show what you look like to other participants in the video chat. From videos I've seen, Google+ Hang-outs do (or is that 'does'??) Haven't tried Skype though. I was on Ekiga for a while and far as I remember, you did get a preview of you.

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 9, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Yeah, Google hangouts do a good preview. With Skype you can only see yourself while you're on a call (on the versions I've used, anyway). But advice from friends is usually a good call too!

  8. Gregori Gualdron
    November 4, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Key Points.. Thank you

  9. Zhong Jiang
    November 4, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    This would be helpful for a job interview, not through a webcam.

  10. Ahmed Khalil
    November 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    new type of articles, very strange but it is nice thanks

  11. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    November 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    You're forgetting the most important part: Before you go live, make sure your internet connection is stable and work properly. You'd not give good impressions if you suddenly go offline every few minutes.

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 9, 2012 at 10:13 am

      Good point! Although, if you have a meeting and your connection happens to be flaky at the same time, you're in trouble regardless.

  12. Ritwick Saikia
    November 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Webcams are useful for staying in touch with friends and family over long distances and durations :) and they don't care how I look.

  13. Mac Witty
    November 3, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Great tips! Still, light, light and light is where I think most people fail - I think you can never get too much light

  14. Martin
    November 3, 2012 at 2:24 am

    The image examples in this article are very poor. How can you write an article on how to look good on webcam and then look so incredibly bad in your own shots? And I'm not talking about your looks, I'm talking about how the shots look. They're all dark and gloomy and a little creepy. Turn a room light on or get a better webcam.

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      You're right. I think these are pretty bad, too. I wanted to illustrate the different steps, though. Sadly, my house is naturally gloomy in Winter and nothing I could do would brighten these up. Every day for a week I took photos with the best natural lighting I could get (plus room lights). I almost considered using my digital camera just to illustrate the different angles and lighting, since my webcam was doing such a bad job, but then I thought that would be cheating. I really do need a better webcam!

      • Douglas Mutay
        November 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm

        Thanks for being honest with us. But never mind, the article is still great even with the poor quality of your pictures! Thumb up! Bravo

        • Angela Alcorn
          November 9, 2012 at 10:14 am

          And thank you for being kind about it! :)

  15. Félix S. De Jesús
    November 3, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I prefer to have lights pointing to my face, hahaha, because i don't want to get bad image even with a conversation with some important people.

  16. Boni Oloff
    November 3, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Wow, great idea to give better image while talking to client in Skype. :)