More people than ever are connecting, professionally and personally, through video calls, and I think we can all agree that seeing yourself on a video chat can be a shock to the self-esteem. When I first starting working from home a couple years ago, I had more than a few moments of, "Wait a minute! I put makeup on. I did my hair. What the hell happened between that and "connect to Zoom call?" If that sounds familiar, I've got a few easy things you can do to look more like your IRL self, virtually.
Essential: Good Lighting
The number one element to looking good in a video call is your lighting setup. The photo on the left is what I look like when relying on the overhead light in my office. The image is washed out and grainy; it's creating bags under my eyes and highlighting redness in my skin tone. The image on the right is how I look when I turn on the two lamps placed in front of me, on either side of my video camera - more lively, my skin tone is evened out, no weird bags under my eyes, an overall improvement.
Essential: Camera Placement
The second essential to looking good on a video call is to place your camera above you, so you're looking up slightly. I have an external webcam mounted to my computer monitor, which elevates the angle. If you don't have an external webcam like that, you could set your laptop on a bunch of books (or, you know, a laptop stand if you're fancy). I stack my laptop on a bunch of cookbooks when I take calls from different areas of my house (sometimes, you need a change of scenery!).
Essential: Modify Your Makeup
A few simple tweaks to your regular makeup application can go a long way in ensuring you look like "you" on a video call. Video washes you out and softens your features, so focus on two things:
I think the new "home tour" is going to become "office tours" - I'm extremely interested in seeing everyone's new at-home office setup. How about you? Here's mine. I work out of an office/guest room at my house.
The two lamps on either side of my desk are what I rely on during video calls throughout the day. And you can see the camera mounted to the top of my monitor. And check out that incredibly empty April calendar!
I don't always want everyone to see that I'm working out of a bedroom. Especially when it looks like this behind me. (We're doing some spring cleaning in the guest room, today).
An easy - and incredibly affordable - solution I came up with was to mount an inexpensive vertical window shade from the ceiling. And when I say "I came up with," what I mean is that my parents came up with the idea. Thanks, parents! Here it is in action.
I know there are a lot of adjustments that come with working at home during this public health crisis, and how you look on video calls might not be at the top of your priority list.What are some of the pressing issues you're dealing with in making that transition? And if you're used to working at home, what are some of your best tips for doing it well?
This is a place to celebrate all the parts of yourself that come with age and experience. I'm here to share with you what I know and to explore with you the many (many) things I don't.