How to be a webcam extraordinaire
The Art of Being Photographed, a global online community dedicated to photography, has shared a report about the techniques for looking great on video conferences used by top executives, influencers and celebrities but largely unknown to most business professionals.
The report covers a range of techniques in an accessible way to help even the most camera-shy of us become more comfortable with presenting online.
Renata Cesar, founder of “The Art of Being Photographed”, explained: “As remote work is expected to remain widespread after the phased re-opening of some offices, video calls have become the new normal for business communication. However, business professionals know surprisingly little about the photographic techniques behind looking great on video conferences.
"Knowing how to optimise your look on camera, using the photographic approaches deployed by top executives, influencers and celebrities, is an increasingly important business skill that is neglected by most business professionals.”
So, whether you're presenting a webinar yourself, or simply attending a 'cameras-on' event, here are five simple steps to transform how you look on video calls:
- Centre yourself
Place yourself in the middle of your viewers’ screen with your shoulders taking up as much of the width of the screen as possible. This makes you look larger and more broad-shouldered. It conveys competence, confidence and assertiveness.
- Consider your camera height
Lowering your device gives you the 'emperor effect' – appearing to loom over the camera – which creates an air of authority and gravitas. Raising your device gives you the baby face effect – a childlike appearance with a larger forehead and big eyes – which can make you look more friendly and personable. Choose the height that’s best for your appearance and the impression you’d like to make.
- Choose your surroundings
Use a blank backdrop, such as a neutral wall or a bed headboard, to ensure the camera lens focuses on you, your expressions, and your gestures. Find the best light – ideally facing a window or in front of a light therapy lamp that mimics the effect of daylight. Failing that, place a lamp in front of you.
- Check your clothes
Wear solid colours, and avoid distracting patterns, logos or slogans, to let the camera highlight you. If it’s really important, wear white, or include white in your surroundings, to avoid colour failure on your screen, which may turn you inexplicably orange or blue!
- Make eye contact
Look at the dot of the camera – it might help to imagine a bullseye around the dot or stick a hole reinforcer on it – and not the other person’s image on your screen. This creates the human connection that only direct eye contact affords – and the ability to send and receive the social cues which are lost when there’s no direct eye contact.
For more information on the five steps click here for the full report.
The Art of Being Photographed is a global online community with a mission to inspire, connect, educate and empower people in a world dominated by photographs and visuals. Renata Cesar, its founder, writes and blogs about photography, including on Quora where she has two million content views.