Three Tips to Improve Your Image on Video Calls

Here are my top three tips to have you looking better and feeling more confident when appearing on video calls.

The very most important thing to consider when getting dressed for a video call, is the perspective of your audience. What are their expectations? What will they react well to? How can you use your appearance to achieve your goals on the call?

Here are my Top 3 Tips, in order of priority:

Tip #1: Make sure you have proper lighting.

If they can’t see you properly, you might as well have an audio-only phone conversation. Your image is such a powerful tool in communication — use it! I use a ring light powered by a rechargeable battery. I clip it onto my laptop for most video calls, but it works on my mobile phone as well. The lamp I use has warm and cool light on a dimmer switch — I choose the type and amount of light based on my surroundings.

Proper lighting gives the best chance of accurately portraying the color of your skin, clothing and background. This might not seem like a big deal, but have you ever spoken to someone on video whose face was in a shadow? What about someone talking in a darkened room with their face lit up mainly by the blue light coming from the computer screen? Or a face under harsh fluorescent lighting? You can easily look tired or ill, or as if you’re doing something a bit dubious in the dark.

Tip #2: Ensure enough contrast between all the elements on-screen

Contrast creates dimension. Dimension is associated with personality. You want your personality to come through on video. Ideally you’ll look as three-dimensional as possible — as you would in real life, instead of just flat and two-dimensional, as you would look in a drawing on paper. Create plenty of contrast between elements like: your clothing, accessories, hair, skin and facial features. Don’t dress in clothing that blends into the background and your skin tone. Use more makeup than you normally would to accent cheekbones, eyes, and lips. Create depth in the background if possible. Instead of a flat white wall behind your desk, turn your screen so the background is shown at an angle. Preferably the viewer can see behind you into the room, or at least they see two walls meeting. If your audience has a sketch Internet connection, contrast is even more important.

Tip #3: Minimize distractions

Everything that moves is a potential distraction — even your mouth, if you’re wearing an incredibly bright lipstick. You want your audience to listen to what you say, not be distracted by how you look. Since only a small part of your body is probably in view — your head and shoulders — make sure these are not screaming for attention. For instance, large dangly earrings reflect light and attract the eye. They can also make noise. Pay attention to your neckline as well. Does your scoopneck top show so much skin that the viewer wonders if you’re naked? Adding a scarf or jacket with a collar is an easy fix. Also have a look at your hair in proper lighting. That one piece sticking out can distract.

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