Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, WebEx… these video conferencing platforms have burst forth into our lives as we look for ways to connect face-to-face while keeping our distance. In the early days of sheltering-in-place, it was soothing to schlep around in your pjs, skip your makeup and hair routines and simply choose “audio only” if you were visually NSFW when a video call came in.
But now that many of us are settled into our new normal of working at home, the novelty of being a slob has perhaps worn off. I, for one, am more productive when I feel put-together. And I think that maintaining a certain level of professionalism in how I present myself is as important via video as it is in person.
I reached out to some local pros for their advice about how you can put your best face forward while video conferencing. After all, Zoom’s “touch up my appearance” feature can only do so much.
Think About Your Lighting
“The most important thing to be cognizant of is your light. You want soft light and plenty of it. The best place to find this is near a window that does not have direct sunlight streaming through it. Place your computer between you and the window, ideally at a slight angle to the window so the light has a bit of direction. This will provide you with very flattering, even light and puts some great catch lights in your eyes that will make you look like you did not spend the previous night binge-watching Netflix.
“The next trick is something that duck-lipped teenage girls the world over already know — move the camera up, up, up. No face looks good when viewed from below the chin or chins. Put your laptop on a stack of books so you are looking up at it, even if only slightly. Looking up ensures the lens is seeing your eyes rather than your chin(s).” —Jason Stang, photographer, Stang Photography
Consider Your Background
“We recommend creating a visually interesting vignette which feels professional but also gives a subtle hint into who you are. Our spaces are an extension of our style, values and interests and can be great backdrops as part of a conversation. It’s important to keep it simple so that the background isn’t distracting and a closer back drop helps the other viewers not feel like they are peering into a cavern behind you. I recommend a white wall with an oversized piece of art and a console or storage unit with a few books, decorative items and plants. Think about what people can see on the screen as a photo and place items accordingly.” —Amanda Hamilton, creative director, Amanda Hamilton Design
A Little Makeup Goes a Long Way
“The easiest way to add life to your face is blush and a bit of highlight. Keep your AW03 Blush & Glow Palette and your Highlight Duo Brush handy. Use the contour side to add the pink or coral blush colour to the apple of your cheeks, temples and a wash over eyelids. Flip the brush to highlight cheek bones, brow bone and a touch over your Cupid’s bow. Finish off with a slick of gloss in your favourite colour and no one will know you have sweatpants on under the desk!” —Tara Anand, makeup artist and director of Artists Within
Casual Fridays, Everyday
“Instead of a varsity sweatshirt, try a nice cashmere sweater or throw on some power shoulders with a blazer over your (night-time) t-shirt. Choose something to contrast with your background so you don’t disappear into it but avoid patterns with a high contrast (like small black and white stripes) as they can moiré on the screen. Disguise your unwashed hair with a scarf tied into a fashionable turban.” —Leah Van Loon, fashion stylist, LeahVanLoon.com