Well, with the so-called “Zoom University” back in session for most of us, and continued work/social meetings hosted through Zoom, I figured it was about time I share some ideas on looking your best during video calls. It comes as no surprise to anybody that Zoom is extremely unflattering, so I wanted to share a few tips and tricks to look just a *little* bit better on camera. I initially planned this post around looking put-together and professional for an important virtual interview (or work call), but these tips are just as applicable for everyday online school, or even your virtual social events. All of the before and after pics below are completely unedited and were actually taken as screenshots through the Zoom app, so you can accurately see how all these tips appear on camera. I hope you find them helpful!
1. Make the computer level with your face.
Nobody wants a double chin on camera, so make sure to prop your computer in such a way that the camera is directly parallel with your eyes. Our desks are usually below our heads, causing us to look down at our cameras during Zoom calls. Instead, look for some thick books to stack or some sort of gift box to act as a “booster seat” to your computer. This makes for a more flattering angle around your chin/neck area and can help improve lighting.
2. Wear a lil’ bit of makeup.
I’m not a makeup-wearer on a regular day, but mascara can go a LONG way in making you appear more awake and lively on a video call. Without it, I usually look extremely washed-out on camera and a little bit like a shark, with beady, soulless eyes. Mascara fixes that right up! If you have multiple mascaras, I recommend using your thickest/most voluminous kind (or in other words, your ‘going out’ mascara), as that will have more of an impact on camera. I’m wearing the False Lash Effect Mascara by Essence in the photo on the right.
3. Wear your hair down.
Like a double chin, nobody wants that awkward bald look on camera, either, so instead of a ponytail, try leaving your hair down. Or, if it’s day three hair, wear it in a side braid like the one in this post to prove that you do, in fact, have hair.
4. Pin your hair out of your face.
This is just a personal preference, but I think it looks better to pin your hair out of your face when on camera. I’ve found that if I leave it completely out, I end up playing with it a lot, tucking it behind my ear only to untuck it three minutes later. Playing with your hair looks unprofessional (so does treating Zoom like a mirror) so do whatever works best for you in order to keep your hair from becoming a distraction. For me, this also means leaving it behind my shoulders. As soon as I put in front, it just looks like I’m trying really hard to show off my hair.
5. Wear a great color.
Ah, the clothing part. While the cream, lace blouse I’m wearing in the left photo is very professional, the color doesn’t look great with my skin tone on camera, as it kind of washes me out. Instead, I recommend picking a blouse that’s a nice color rather than a neutral. This can help you “pop” on camera and prevent you from looking like a zombie. You also want to consider wearing something that does not match your background (to ensure that you won’t become a floating head), and don’t wear black, either, if you have dark hair like me (again, don’t want to look like a floating head).
I usually try to avoid prints on camera because they sometimes look funny (pinstripes, for example, often become an optical illusion). You should also consider picking a professional looking blouse, rather than a t-shirt or tank, and be mindful of the neckline. However, a simple white tank layered under a blazer can be a great option too, like in the first pic of this post.
6. Opt for some jewelry.
If this is for a work meeting or interview, you don’t want your jewelry to be too bold or distracting. But on the flip side, super dainty jewelry won’t really show up on the grainy Zoom camera. In the middle photo above, I’m wearing crystal clip-on earrings, which sparkle when they catch the light. But because of the neckline of my blouse and the way my hair is styled, I decided a bar necklace was better suited for this particular outfit. (Although, I’ve worn big clip-on earrings in several Zoom meetings and have gotten lots of compliments!) Overall, a piece of jewelry or two pulls your look together and shows that you put in that extra bit of effort.
7. Change your settings.
Did you know you can opt into HD video or touch up your face in Zoom? When in a call, click the little up arrow next to the “Stop Video” button in the bottom left corner. Click “Video Settings…” and then check “Enable HD” and “Touch Up My Appearance”. I didn’t notice much of a change in quality when I checked the HD box, but it did zoom out the camera quite a bit (for reference, both my computer and I were in the exact same spot for both of the photos above, so you can see how far it zoomed out). I really like this feature because I think being slightly farther from the camera is much more flattering (avoiding extreme close-ups is always a good idea). The touch up feature just made me look shiny and kinda plastic, but I noticed in some lightings that it reduced the bags under my eyes! Play around with the settings to determine what you like.
8. Sit up straight, find good lighting, smile, and add a boss lady blazer!
Even though Zooming while laying in your bed sounds super comfy (I’m definitely guilty of doing it), you’ll look WAY better if you just sit up straight at a desk. And while good lighting is extremely difficult to find, I recommend trying to sit in front of a window if you can, in order to take advantage of the natural light. But if not, it’s fine – lighting is always the hardest part.
Even though probably nobody wants to be on a Zoom call in the first place, it’s important to give a subtle smile every now and again to be respectful of the speaker/meeting host and attempt to not look like you want to pluck your eyes out. And lastly, if your virtual event is super professional, add a chic blazer to really up your outfit game! I love this old one from JCPenney, and it pulls my whole Zoom outfit together quite nicely.
Here are the complete before and after shots! So, what tips do you have to look great while on video camera? I’d love to hear in the comments below. I hope you found this blog post super helpful, as I had a lot of fun putting it together.
Wishing you all the best on your Zoom meetings or classes today and everyday!! I have my first meeting tonight for my Passion Planner Ambassadorship, so I’m excited to see how that goes. As always, thanks so much for stopping by.
Miles of smiles,