Virtual Conferencing Backgrounds & Tips For Presenting The Right Image

April 22, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

ZOOM-BACK013ZOOM-BACK013Australia 2016/17.
Blue sky, clouds and surf at Nobbys Beach, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
© Roger Donovan, Media Photos
Tel: 02920 361126
Mobile: 07711 325100
e-mail: [email protected]
www.mediaphotos.co.uk
All Moral Rights Reserved including the right to be identified as the creator of this copyright protected image.
We have the potential for several more weeks of lockdown ahead of us and if like me you're working from home virtual conferencing to stay in touch with colleagues and family then maybe you'd like to have a little fun by ringing the changes with your virtual backgrounds.

I've created a small online gallery of free pictures from my archives for you to use to change your location or mood during your online conference call.

All the pictures have been optimised for Zoom so all you need to do is log in to the gallery: https://www.mediaphotos.co.uk/zoombackgrounds to download your pictures. Then just select the picture in the Zoom software and you can be transported from your home office to a location on the other side of the world or closer to home if you prefer. The pictures also make great computer desktop backgrounds too.

Some tips to help you present your best image whilst virtual conferencing.

Screenshot 2020-04-25 at 11.12.28Screenshot 2020-04-25 at 11.12.28

A screen grab of yours truly during a recent video conference with colleagues around the globe against a backdrop of glorious Tenby.
 

We've all seen some of the virtual conference disasters on TV over the past weeks, faces in shadow, blown out highlights, grubby backgrounds etc but some basic photography advice can quickly help eliminate these embarrasing faux pas so you present that perfect image to your conference colleagues and friends. All these tips apply equally for any photography in general so next time you're shooting using your camera phone keep these tips in mind to help you get the best possible results.

  1. Lighting. The lighting needs to be soft and falling on your face from a source in front of you. It doesn't need to be level with your face so a ceiling light would be OK but it does need to be in front of you, ideally beyond the computer and the webcam. If you can, move your computer or adjust your position so there's a window beyond it so that the light falls on your face. Preferably not direct sunlight as this would be too harsh. If you can't move your computer you can add some light maybe from a table lamp. It shouldn't shine directly onto your face but be bounced off a wall either in front or to the side of your computer. Window light from the side can also be OK but may need something positioning opposite the window to reflect its light. One thing you definitely don't want is to have the light source behind you as this will result in your face being in shadow as the computers web cam exposes for the bright light behind you.
  2. Experiment. Whatever light source you are using try altering things until you are happy with your screen image. Use curtains or blinds on a window to alter the light or alter the computer position or the position of any lights. 
  3. Eye level. No one wants to be looking straight up your nose as is often the case if you are using a laptop on a desk. The web cam will be too low and you will be looking down all the time. To avoid this unflattering view raise the level of you laptop, a couple of hefty books should help. Ideally you need to raise the laptop until the webcam is at your eye level.
  4. Backgrounds. You can easliy add your own background from within the software using your own pictures or one of my free images but if you prefer not to just ensure your background is clear and clutter free. Be professional even though you're not in the office. Have a good look behind you, make sure your undies aren't drying in the background.
  5. Clothing. Get yourself in the work mode and keep it professional. Definitely no pyjamas. Something with some colour, no plain white shirts especially for the greying gents among us but nothing to loud either.
  6. Fill the frame. Web cams usually have a wide angle lens so for your face to be large enough on screen you might need to move closer to the camera than you think.
  7. Keep checking your screen image and make any necessary adjustments.

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