Over the last year, video conferencing has gone from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” for many businesses. However, many users still struggle to get a clear picture on their teammates – and I mean this literally.
From shadowy, blurry faces, to floating heads, oversaturated pictures and even camera shots up people’s noses, I feel like I’ve seen all the odd ways we can present ourselves while video conferencing (intentionally or otherwise).
So, in light of National Camera Day on June 29, I’ve created a list of my go-to steps to get professional-grade, picture-quality conferencing using just a webcam and some basic photography tips.
- Check Your Appearance
Don’t worry, you don’t need to dress head-to-toe in your finest attire while video chatting. However, I still recommend professional or business casual attire from the waist-up. Psychologists have found that by simply wearing professional outfits, people have higher self-esteem and self-efficacy.1 As for preventing the dreaded floating head, any solid-patterned or bright-colored clothing shows up best on camera and helps prevent blending into any virtual backgrounds or green screens.
Tech Data Blogger Dwight Hawkins shows how wearing solid, bright colors and professional attire can help you feel confident and seen on video chat.
- Go for an Enlightening Experience
Avoid background lights or any sort of lighting that may be behind you. This is a sure-fire way to cast shadows over your face and distort images on the camera. Instead, put your lighting behind your camera so the light casts onto your face. You can achieve this by sitting in front of a window or using a desk lamp if it’s after dark. Suffering from uneven lighting? A home-made reflector or webcam light can help fix that, too.
Tech Data Blogger Kelly Armstrong shows here that you can amplify your image quality with the right lighting.
- Looking Up the Right Camera Angles
Media producers say that the best distance from the camera is about two feet, or around arm’s length.2 Additionally, they recommend that you aim for a higher angle rather than a lower one. Higher angles are more complementary to the face and can prevent harsh lighting from casting extra shadows. Finally, give yourself a little head room - your face should be in the center of the camera, and participants should be able to see a little space between the top of your head and the top edge of the camera.
Tech Data Blogger Steve Kelley shows how the right headspace and camera angle can give you all the space you need to brainstorm great ideas with the team online.
- Set the Stage (Or at Least a Virtual Background)
When video conferencing, you want to avoid as many distractions as possible to ensure a quick and efficient meeting. Many think that adding items to your background – like bookshelves and knick-knacks – provide a nice, personal touch. Yet professionals say these extras can be distracting.3 Instead, aim for simple, clear backgrounds – like a blank wall, an uncluttered space in your home, or, if all else fails, a simple virtual background.
Our newest Tech Data Blogger, Jenna Ksaibati, shows how to keep your background simple and clean so that the focus stays with the person on camera (rather than what’s behind them).
- Take Control of When You’re Seen
For as much as we want to look good on camera, make sure people only see you when you want them to see you and keep your webcam covered when you’re not using it. Many accessory companies sell privacy shades made especially for webcams, but a sticky note over the camera lens works just as well.
By using these five tips, you can attain the look and feel of professional-grade video conferences without much effort.
Still having trouble achieving the right image-quality? It could be a technical issue. Luckily, Tech Data is well-equipped to help you tackle that problem, as well! From webcams and lighting to microphones and routing systems, Tech Data has all the tools you need to get started in boosting your virtual experiences and video conferencing. To get started in your search for camera solutions at Tech Data, visit us at https://shop.techdata.com/.
About the Author
Kelly Armstrong is a Copywriter for Tech Data Agency. Starting her professional technology journey in 2017 in the sales department at Tech Data, she learned about all the great things the company has to offer to help support the future of tech. Now, she uses that knowledge to help others and enthusiastically describe the latest and greatest technologies available to today’s workforce.
- Psych Learning Curve. Dress To Impress: Does Suiting Up Bring More Confidence? 2017.
- Evergreen Media. 10 Tips to Look Your Best on a Webcam. April 2020.
- The dos and don’ts of video conferencing backgrounds for sales reps. May 2020.