November 18, 2020
Lighting is super important. The en vogue purchase of 2020 (besides booze) is a ring light to set up your own home studio. These handy little devices can be mounted directly behind the camera on your desk or kitchen table and provide soft, even light without blinding you while you’re looking in that direction.
Selfie rules apply to your webcam, too. If there’s one thing women really understand, it’s the proper angle for a selfie. Chin up, fellas. If you find yourself hunched over the camera, it’s not a flattering look. The camera you’re using should be slightly above eye level and facing you straight on. If you can see the ceiling of the room in the shot, it’s too low. You want to create the impression that the people you’re talking to are sitting across the table and subconsciously if someone feels like they’re sitting on the floor because they’re looking up at your chin, well, that’s not great.
Backgrounds matter. By now, we’ve all had that boss or coworker who thinks it’s hilarious to change his zoom background to a beach. It isn’t hilarious. You know what’s better than a hack dad joke? Showing off a sophisticated part of your home. Think strategically about what’s in the background. If you notice other people’s setting, they’re noticing yours. Think bookshelves, wall art, plants. And even if you’re not cleaning your entire house, pick up the dirty socks on the floor behind you.
Tech matters. By now we’ve all fought the battles with shoddy home internet. As it turns out, the thing that’s supposed to let you play Xbox all day on Saturday isn’t as useful when the entire neighborhood is also using it to run home offices every day of the week. Zoom works best on a hardwired internet connection. If that’s not possible, it’ll work on WiFi, but run a test first (zoom.us/test) to make sure your connection is fast enough that you won’t be cutting out. Also, a pair of Airpods will offer crisper audio than any internal audio components on a standard computer.
No one really wants to be great at this. We’d all rather have professional meetings and group hangouts in an in-person setting. But what can we say? It’s 2020 and Zoom is your portal to the world. Might as well be good at it.
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