Welcome to the 21st Century! Whether you were thrust to in involuntarily or you've been pushing for it...the age of Virtual Meetings is upon us.
It doesn't matter if you use Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet...or any of the others out there...there are a few tips and tricks to make yourself at least look good on camera.
The tips I'm about to give you are pretty straightforward camera techniques that a lot of photographers know about and you may know...but not realize. All good...we're here to learn!
#1 Lights In Front
When you set up your camera or computer web cam, you want the light source to be in front of you. You never want to have your back to a window or bright light. Because if you do, you'll get the problem below.
The camera is trying to balance the light coming into the lens, so in order to keep it as balanced as possible it has to dim the whole image because of the light source behind you...which darkens you.
Now let's see how it looks with the light in front.
#2 Get In Frame!
When you're on a call, you want to make sure you're close to the camera without getting too personal. Make sure you don't have too much headroom and you're not too far away from the camera.
Here it's easier to get lost in clutter when you're looking at a grid of a dozen people. Make sure you get closer to the camera, without as much headroom.
But don't go crazy...no one needs to get this personal!
#3 Can You Hear Me Now?
Audio...this one is tricky sometimes. If it's just you and your laptop or tablet there are a few things that can help you sound better and make sure you're heard when you're talking.
Make sure you're in a room with carpet or a rug, if you can. Hardwoods and tile can cause an echo. Especially if you're in a larger room, like an open kitchen and dining room. The carpet can absorb that excess sound and keep it from echoing.
Also remember that sound travels. Let's say you're in the scenario above, sitting at the dining room table and since schools out the kids are in the living room next to you. Your home has a nice open floor plan..well that sound will carry from the living room! The last thing you want colleagues to hear is your kids screaming at each other about the TV remote...
Next, don't get too close to the back wall. Same idea as above, but a different direction. Sound will travel past you and back to your speaker causing an echo.
Ideally you want to be in a carpeted room, with at least six feet of space from you and the wall, and a door that closes to keep excess noise out.
Hopefully that will help you look a little better on your next virtual meeting! The more professional you look to clients and colleagues the more respect you'll get. Even if its subconscious...every little bit helps! No one wants to look like a n00b. (That's still what the kids say, right?)
Oh...almost forgot. Wear pants. That's just a problem waiting to happen!