Most of us make some attempt to look our put together when heading to the office. But alas, the world has changed due to the COVID-19. Many of us are going to the “office” by way of the hallway between the bedroom and the kitchen. And the only times you actually see your co-workers is via Google Hangouts, Zoom, or some other video call platform. And even though some of us (guilty here too!) have gotten lax about our morning prep in the pandemic era, there’s no reason not to look your best on video calls.
You already know that how you present yourself plays a role in your personal brand at work. If you’re climbing that ladder, or even if you’re happy with the rung you’re on, it’s a good strategy to keeping putting it together in the morning — even as your coworkers show up on Zoom in caps and pajamas. Plus, maintaining a structured morning routine adds a bit of normalcy to these very abnormal times. Personally, I feel a little yucky if I’m still wearing my Target pajamas in the afternoon.
It’s for you motivated ladies that we’ve rounded up some easy ways to look your best on video calls. And know that this doesn’t mean you need to don the stiff power suit. A better approach is to find the balance between professionalism and comfort for those video chats. For example, if you don’t feel like dressing up in the stuffy formal attire you might wear to the office, you can instead choose fashionable loungewear for women.
5 Ways to Look Your Best for Video Calls
1. Make sure your face is well-lit
A lighting adjustment is one of the easiest ways to improve your appearance on video calls — dramatically. Your home office might seem fairly well-lit in person, but if there is the tiniest shadow on your face, your video appearance will be dark and — gasp! — any contours on your face will be emphasized, but not in a good way. Dark shadows on your face can make you look sick, worn down, or in some cases, even mildly frightening. That’s not the impression you you want to make when chatting with coworkers, friends, or family.
Before a video meeting actually begins, log in early to see if your face is lit properly. If it’s not, add some extra lighting, or consider moving to a different spot in the room.
2. Choose the right angle
This isn’t merely a tip worth keeping in mind during a video chat meeting. Choosing the right angles can also help you take better selfies for social media!
Specifically, you want to avoid low angles. That happens when the camera is below the lower half of your face. It’s pretty easy to understand why low angles don’t result in flattering images of your face. A low angle will force anyone on the other end of the video chat to look straight up your nostrils.
That doesn’t mean you should experiment with unique angles, the way you might when taking a selfie to post on Instagram. Again, in this case, your goal is to look as professional as possible — you’re not gathering likes and comments from coworkers, after all. Your best choice is to keep the camera at eye level. This is another detail you want to check ahead of time before starting your video chats. Your coworkers might get nauseous if you are adjusting the angle after the meeting has started.
3. Practice good skincare
Taking care of your skin is always important. That said, these days, it may be more crucial than ever, at least in terms of how skin care affects your appearance. Unfortunately, your computer or phone’s camera will highlight certain features of your skin, like oily areas. That may present you differently that what you see in the mirror, and again, not in a good way.
Moisturize regularly to guard against common skin problems. Before starting a video chat, you might also want to blot your face to clear up excess oil.
4. Choose the proper background
Don’t overlook your background! Even if you heed all the advice mentioned above, the wrong background will leave exactly the wrong impression.
The right background is always dependent on context. For example, you might like the idea of showing off your collection of literary masterworks, and so you choose your bookshelf as a background. For a video call with coworkers, this would actually be the wrong way to go.
During video chats, particularly those that are meant to be professional in nature, your background should never draw attention away from you. That naturally means it shouldn’t be cluttered or distracting. Even if your bookshelf is properly organized, all those titles arranged behind you will make it difficult for those you’re chatting with to focus on what you’re actually saying.
I’ve experienced this, too. I like books, and when I engage with someone virtually who’s in front of a bookshelf, I’m curious about what that person is reading. You never know what other interests your coworkers have, either; a sports fan would be drawn to your baseball cap collection, for example. Play it safe and keep that background simple.
Prep to Look Your Best on Video Calls
Preparation is key to looking your best on video calls. On the weekend or when you have some free time, test out different backgrounds, camera positions, and lighting setups. You could even tape off where to set up your extra lighting or where you position the camera, so you can jump onto a call at a moment’s notice. Keep the blotting wipes nearby and you’re ready to go.