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Here’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.
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.
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.
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.
More Webcam Ideas
If you’re looking for ways to be creative with your webcam, check out these articles:
- How To Automatically Post Webcam Snapshots As New Blog Posts
- 4 Unique and Cool Ways To Use Dropbox
- How To Use An Android Device As A PC Webcam
What are your best tips for looking good on webcam? Let us know!