How to be more presentable on video calls

Story: Antara Bose

Whether it’s Skype, Zoom, or a regular Facetime, video calls are yet another way to beat social distancing. But if you’re not particularly pleased with that little image of you that stares back when you’re trying to hold a conversation, consider these pointers before you go live again.

Let there be light – Bad lighting is a cardinal sin and has the capacity to ruin any other effort you took for the video call. Though having soft natural light on the face is the ideal way to go, you can also recreate a similar effect by switching on the right light bulbs and placing yourself correctly. Make sure there is no harsh light behind you, either. Not only will it transform you into a ghostly silhouette, but the light can also make it uncomfortable for others in the video call.

Posture and position – The lower you place the camera below eye level, the more of neck, chin and nostrils you’ll be giving the viewer. Believe us, the sight is far from visually appealing. The key is to get your eyes on top thirds of the frame while making sure you don’t cut off your head. Holding a good posture throughout also makes you look more presentable (and you’ll continue to remain at eye level).  

Avoid bouncing eyes – Just to be clear, when you do stare back and forth between your own image and the callers, it becomes obvious. We know it is important to establish eye contact with people we are engaging in conversation with; the same holds true even when you’re on a video call. The trick is to look directly into the camera.

Know your frame – Check what’s behind you before you go live. Make sure there are no distracting wall murals or clutter – it’ll take the attention away from you. If you want to play it really safe, sit down and take a quick picture of you in the frame with the background. It’s advisable to maintain a little distance between you and the background to create a bit more depth and prevent shadows.

Don’t forget you’re on cam – So you’ve been idle for about fifteen minutes while the rest of your colleagues are engaged in a debate you’re not interested in. You fixate on the screen, start slouching slightly, and before you know it, you’re vehemently attending to an itch. Everyone has seen it, and there’s no going back. Sometimes, in the comfort of our homes, we tend to forget we’re virtually amidst others. It’s simple, just stay attentive, or excuse yourself two steps away from the frame. 

Dress and groom as you would for an event – An official meeting? Dress the way you would if you were physically seated in the boardroom.  What about a reunion with the ladies? Set the right spirit and agree to dress up for it. If you were a fan of full-face makeup, it’s alright to sport the same on camera (people are used to seeing you that way). On the contrary, even if you weren’t into it, we would suggest using loose powder, a tinted moisturizer, or at least a tissue to blot away excess oil (for men) as little flaws can get unduly highlighted on screen.