Many companies are going digital these days, moving their teams to virtual workspaces so they can work from home or elsewhere. Because of this, many employees are figuring out how to navigate remote work — including how to handle video conferences.
Sure, there are a ton of questions surrounding the logistics of video conferencing. How can you make sure that all employees keep engaged? How do you handle interruptions to connection? How do you schedule video conferences during convenient times when employees across all corners of the globe are able to participate? In what ways can you establish trust amongst colleagues and clients without face-to-face interactions? What are some best practices and general rules of thumb for hosting video conferences to ensure productivity and value?
Another question the comes to many workers' mind is how to dress well for the camera. While we've all been prepped on how to dress for various office environments — from business formal to business casual spaces — figuring out what to wear, how to style your hair and how to do your makeup while working remotely can be confusing. After all, if you're working from home you don't necessarily need to abide by such strict dress codes; but, equally, you want to present yourself as a professional on video calls. Likewise, you want to be perceived professionally on camera, where different colors and patterns and styles can come into play more than they would in the real world.
With that said, here are five ways to look good on camera for your next video conference call.
5 steps to looking professional on video
Asking yourself, how can I look better in videos? Follow these five simple steps, and rest assured that you'll look great on the camera! (And do great work, because that's what's important!)
1. Be confident on camera.
If you're wondering, how can I look more attractive on camera?, the primary answer to your question is to carry yourself with confidence, first and foremost. While talking into a camera can feel awkward, and you may not be used to talking to others without that comforting eye contact and body language we give each other in real life, it's important that you always hold your head up high. Confidence is tangible, even over an internet connection.
Should you look directly at the camera? In the case of video conferencing, yes! This is your way of making the viewers on the other end of the video call feel like you're making eye contact with them. It's confident and, thus, powerful. That said, talking directly into the camera can feel uncomfortable; you can also look at the person or people with whom you're speaking over the video conference instead.
2. Stick to solids.
Video calls can be busy — people may have other distractive tabs open on their computers, the connection may be spotty and there are probably multiple faces sharing the same screen. So do your best to be easy on the eyes. Simple patterns (or no patterns at all!) can help you to appear more aesthetically pleasing on video conferences. After all, you don't want to give anyone any more distractions than they may already have while working online.
3. Wear warmer colors.
Warm colors (think: teal, cobalt, coral, etc.) pop on screen. You might drown drown in all black, and you might blind viewers in white. So wear warm colors that reflect well on camera! Light pastels (think: lilac and powder blue) also look great on video calls.
Your lighting is also important here. Make sure that you're in as natural a light as possible. If it's dark where you're working, you can always use artificial lighting to brighten your space. You'll want to use a three-point lighting system so that there's light shining on and off of you from all angles (i.e. no shadows). This way, you don't disappear with your background, regardless of what color you're wearing.
4. Keep accessories to a minimum.
We get it — accessories are an easy way to make an otherwise bland work outfit a little bit more unique to you. But, when you're on a video call, again, you want to keep all possible distractions as minimized as you can. Any shiny jewelry can catch light on camera that could distract the viewers on the other end of your conference call. And too much chunky jewelry and other excessive accessories may clutter the small screen in which your image appears. Remember that the most important part of your video conference is that everyone involved gets the information they need and participates in an engaged manner; unnecessary distractions can derail your progress as a team.
5. Choose bolder but not-so-shiny makeup.
The beauty of being on camera is that you can wear bolder makeup if you want because, after all, no one is that close to you to really see how much you've put on. But you have to be careful not to wear shadows or blushes that are too shiny or shimmery. You want to highlight your facial features so that they stand out on camera — not so that your makeup stands out on camera. So go for neutral shades that can boost your natural beauty, but don't be afraid to experiment with a little more makeup than you otherwise would.
Maybe you choose to frame your face, reinforce your eyebrows, brighten your blush or slick on some bolder liquid liner instead of your usual pencil. All of these choices can better define your facial features so you pop on camera without catching the light.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.