Tips on looking great on Video Chats
Ciao ladies, since so many of us are living under coronavirus lockdown these days and are communicating via video chats and conferences on private as well as business contexts, many have asked me for my opinion as a photographer on how to look professional and stylish on video conferences. So I have come up with a few easy-to-follow tips.
1. Go to a window
Daytime window light is a portrait photographer’s best friend. It is easy to find, and yet flattering on everyone. However, if it’s too bright outside and there are harsh shadows on your face, draw the sheer layer of your curtains close, or hang a white cotton bedsheet or sheer shower curtain on the window to diffuse the light.
2. Sit with one of your shoulders pointing at the window, then turn your front ever so slightly towards the window
This position gives your facial contours some definition, it also gives you the twinkles in your eyes that we photographers call the “catch light”. Avoid sitting facing the window in parallel, as the light flattens your facial contours. Don’t sit with your back against the window either because you will be backlit and your face cannot be seen.
3. Clear your background
Move things behind you out of the way. It makes a big difference because now your viewers won’t be distracted by the furniture/bookshelf/clutter behind you.
4. Do NOT look down at the camera
I repeat - DO NOT LOOK DOWN AT THE CAMERA! This is very important because the camera angle makes all the difference. When you look down at the camera, you will have a double chin, whether you actually have it or not. Take a selfie looking down at your phone camera, you’ll get the idea. Place your device so that the camera is at your eye level. Prop it up on books/a stand that is sturdy, and make sure your device is level.
5. Sit straight
Body language says a lot! Make sure your posture conveys a sense of enthusiasm and confidence. It is tempting to lean back on the back of your chair, but don’t do it! When you lean back, you look 10 pounds heavier on camera. Try not to lean forward on the table either. If you do, make sure your back and neck are straight and your shoulders are relaxed.
6. Finally - Eye Contact!
Eye contact is very important in portrait photographs, that’s the golden link that establishes connection between the subject and the viewer. No eye contact, no connection. The same is true for video chats. I have had my fair share of video chats, and in most of them, I felt that the person I was chatting with was not looking at me! That’s because they were looking at my image on the screen of their device which is at least 2 inches away from the device camera. Yes, even 2 inches make a big difference. I know it is important that you watch the expression of the person you are talking with, but if you are video chatting with a client, make sure you look into the camera often enough, because on their screen, you will be looking at them in the eye and THAT establishes connection! It might feel awkward in the beginning, try it with a friend, you will feel the difference.
So there you go, I hope you will find these tips helpful. It is a tough time for the world. But together, we can beat the COVID-19. Sending positive vibes, stay safe everyone!