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Look your best on a webcam
It wasn’t so long ago that it didn’t matter how you looked on webcam – after all, the quality of the average camera was so bad that everyone pretty much resembled the same pixelated blob.
Between the lagging on-screen movements, visuals on video calls were more about giving a suggestion of your face than a detailed representation, but the webcam is no longer the great leveller it once was.
This of course means that your calls over Skype, Google Hangouts or Facetime will be much improved, but it takes a little more thought to achieve the best results. To look your best on webcam, then, start with these five simple tips.
1. Get the lighting right
The chances are you don’t have access to a full lighting rig in your bedroom or office, but getting the room lighting right can make a huge difference. First and foremost, avoid setting up a webcam with bright open windows behind you, as any light hitting the webcam will leave your face cast into darkness. Instead, position the light on yourself, whether that’s by sitting in front of the natural light source or using a desk lamp.
2. Beware of what’s behind you
This should be a no-brainer, but be beware of anything embarrassing that may be lurking in the background while chatting on your webcam. Although it might be easy to for your to overlook the ensuite bathroom situated behind your desk, it may be more distracting for the person on the other end of the line.
3. Experiment with angles
Most modern computers come with webcams built in, so getting the angle right is simply a matter of tilting your screen. Even so, you’ll want to make sure you’re positioned in the centre of the screen and that your computer is the right distance away from your body. Experiment with a few different positions before making a call so that you won’t appear to be sitting off in the distance, or equally that the camera isn’t too close so that your head isn’t taking up the whole screen.
4. Keep networks clear
A slow internet connection is another potential hinderance to smoother online video calls. If you’re having problems, it may be worth asking anyone who is sharing your internet network not to upload or download large files while you are using the webcam. It can also help to connect to the internet via an ethernet cable instead of WiFi.
5. Turn off programs you don’t need
Finally, even a superfast computer can struggle to maintain a crystal clear video link if you have lots of applications running at once. The best thing you can do is to close everything down before making a video call, including any open web browsers or apps like Spotify which may be running in the background.