In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic video call meetings have become more and more common, both in work and social settings. Most of the time, we conduct these meetings using a video conferencing app from home, so it is common that we don’t have the best lighting conditions or camera angles.
Keeping the lighting even and monochromatic, with the light facing you, are some tips for appearing better in video calls.
However, there are a few tricks that photographers and video professionals use that can help us look our best on video calls or YouTube and Facebook Live.
-A proper light source: The larger the light source is compared to us, the softer and more flattering the lighting will be. Therefore, it is always a good idea to stand in front of a window that is not directly facing the sun. This large light source will avoid shadows in the corners of the face. At night, we should not point the light from the lamp directly at the face, in this case we should sit near a neutral colored wall and focus the light on it.
-Monochromatic lighting: Light bulbs have various colors, which are measured on the Kelvin scale and range from cool to warm. Natural light is neutral, i.e. white. It doesn’t really matter what color the light we use for the video call is, as long as it is uniform. If we mix daylight with light from a light bulb, the result will be an unnatural tone, and the same will happen if we mix light from two bulbs of different tones. If we are going to use natural light, the lamps in the house should be turned off and, if we are going to use artificial light, it should be of the same tone. At night it is also advisable to reduce the brightness of the lampshade, so that it does not interfere with the lighting in the room.
-Look at the light: For video calls or live shots, it is best to look directly at the point of light, so that the lighting is distributed in the most appropriate way all over the face, avoiding that a part of it is dark and grainy. This also helps to soften eye bags or wrinkles.
-Avoid being backlit: When we stand with our back to a strong light source, such as a window in broad daylight, the lens doesn’t catch the light well, so the scene will look harsh and our face dark.
-Put the camera at eye level: Never look at the camera from above or below. It is best to have a direct camera angle, as close to your eye line as possible. In the case of desktops or laptops, you can rest the device on a stack of books to get the right angle.
-Keeping your distance: It is also not advisable to sit too close to the camera, as this distorts the image. Ideally, the frame should not only show your face, but also your shoulders and part of your chest.
-Keep the camera clean: Before the call, you need to take a little time to clean the glass of the camera lens. It is best to use a lens cleaning cloth or soft cloth. It is advisable not to use soaps or aggressive products, as they may damage the lens.