As we all settle into our new lives of constant Zoom calls, it’s time to get it right and look your best on the call. We’ve now been on numerous calls and have gotten past the first few thoughts of what people’s homes look like and whether they look well or a little under the weather each time we see them on a call. Except that we haven’t. It can be distracting, but admit it: it’s hard to focus on the subject at hand when some people really need to work on their professional online look.
Let’s start with the basics:
Appearance – Even if you have on sweatpants, you still need to wear a nice shirt, comb your hair, shave or put on makeup and try to look your best. This leads into the next important aspect which is:
Lighting – This goes back to studying what photographers and cameramen control with their actors and models. Use warm light, make sure you are not washed out and have lighting that comes from the side and slightly behind the computer camera to warm you up. Grab a small lamp from some other space in your home and place it to the side and behind the computer, with the light shining down if possible. Use a warm light bulb. You will not believe the difference this makes in your appearance online. Just try it. Trust me. When lighting is overhead, it can create shadows and make you look tired and older. And unless you are online with your first job and you are 22, looking older is not something you will covet on Zoom!
Background – Clean up! What does your background look like? If you have bookshelves behind you but they are messy, try organizing them a bit and then hanging a couple of pieces of art over the shelves. Designers have been hanging art over bookshelves for years, long before they needed to hide anything on those shelves! This also creates a calmer visual for the eye as your background. And face it, you also look smart with all those books behind you. Just make sure those books are neat and tidy – you don’t want the Distracted Professor stereotype attached to you.
Bottom line, how you present yourself on those Zoom calls matters. After all, you used to try to look good before going to work – remember? We need to step it up.
The Margery Wedderburn Interiors Team