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3 Tips for the Webcam: Look Your Best in Online Meetings

To say that COVID-19 has brought along changes to our routines is an understatement. Life as we know it has been drastically altered – and it may stay this way for a while to come. But no matter what happens, the world doesn’t stop. We have found new ways to adapt and continue to navigate the challenges of daily life in a pandemic. And one thing that we students have been learning to quickly adapt to in the past few months: online classes and meetings. And while it’s totally okay to wake up 10 minutes before your 8:30 AM Zoom lecture and wear your comfy pajama bottoms (no one can tell) with your hair in a messy bun, you may be required to do a tad bit more for your professional commitments. If you’re a co-op student or really just anyone wanting to appear ~*presentable*~ in your online meetings, here are three things you can do before your next time on the webcam. Because no matter how you feel… get up, dress up, show up (virtually), and never give up!  

Watch Your Lighting

The number one tip from vloggers everywhere is to find a proper light source! The type of lighting that hits your face can make a world of a difference. So you want to make sure you are sitting in a brightly and evenly-lit room and facing a window (preferably not in front of full sunlight though as that can wash out your face on the camera). If you are a professional who does meetings often, consider investing in a ring light to place behind your laptop. Working on a budget but still want that good lighting? Stack a tall pile of books behind your laptop, place a mug on it, and rest your phone on the mug with its flashlight on and facing you. 

It’s All in The Angles

So you got a good lighting source, great! But remember to work those angles in your favour and really frame your face in the camera. Don’t sit too close to your laptop, as the wide-angle lens of your computer will distort your face, but don’t sit too far, either. You want to be within comfortable reach of the keyboard. Prop your laptop up on a pile of textbooks so the camera is slightly above eye level. Just as selfies taken from a higher angle look more flattering, so does your face on a laptop during video-conferencing. 

A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

You absolutely do not have to look like a model with your hair all curled, a full face of makeup, and wearing your fanciest shirt (but you are totally welcome to!). However, in a professional setting, or even for classes, you do want to look presentable. Your fellow students or co-workers are only seeing the top half, so you want to make sure that the top-half is ready for the day – not ready for snoozing. Avoid wearing hoodies and lounge-wear. Make sure you wear solid colours as they show up best on camera. Style your hair as you normally would if you were physically attending class or work. In addition to all that, bear in mind that the camera can accentuate any skin issues such as flare-ups or dark circles. So if you’ve pulled an all-nighter for a midterm the following day, you may want to put some tinted moisturizer on or even just a little mascara to make those eyes pop. 

And finally, smile and be comfortable as you would if you were physically present at university or work. It may be awkward with technology issues and roommates or family members walking in on you but hey – we’re all in the same boat!

Priya Vyas

Waterloo '22

Hi, my name is Priya and I'm in Honours Health Studies. I am passionate about public health issues that plague our current times. A self-proclaimed foodie - always catch me trying new recipes!
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