A Master Class on How to Always Look Your Best on Camera
Three unavoidable key factors dictate the success of every on-camera situation and in some cases, significantly affect productivity as well.
To the hooray of many self-declared homebodies and to the demise of those camera-shy and ‘unphotogenic’ souls, working from home not only eliminates much ‘getting ready’ from each morning’s routine but often equates to the heavy use of technology in the form of liaising through a multitude of emails, video conferences and phone calls. While some are more blessed than others, many try as hard as they might yet still feel awkward and uncomfortable staring through the tiniest of lenses at themselves on-screen. If you’re looking for ways to (literally) enhance your online presence and ease your discomfort – you’ve come to the right place.
How good you look in any situation both on-and-offline will ultimately boil down to a few unavoidable key factors: angle, light, and self-grooming. Immense research and advice from expert industry professionals, such as Fiona Stiles – the makeup artist who prepped everyone from Halle Berry to Jessica Chastain, and Elizabeth Banks – have all highlighted the importance of doing makeup that matches not only your skin tone, and blends into your neck to avoid a flash effect, but also to your clothes and hair.
If there is no other take-away from this article, blush is a MUST and less is always more – curl your lashes and apply mascara to “open up” your eyes and draw attention to them, whilst keeping the overall look as natural as possible even with full coverage. In the event of a surprise video call, blot your face with a tissue or single-ply cocktail napkin, then pinch your cheeks to create a soft rosy glow. Filling in your brows and adding color to the face, emphasizes dimension, helping you to capitalize off and identify your better angle.
Social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are enough proof in regards to angle, that women are often found positioning their cameras higher, whilst men go lower. Believe it or not, there is actual method to this subconscious ‘madness’ and it all depends on the features you wish to highlight more.
Being viewed from above or from a downward angle amplifies signs of youth and attractiveness, such as having a large forehead and eyes, whereas being viewed from an upward angle showcases signs of dominance, such as height and a large jaw – thus the stark difference in the preferences of both genders.
Simple tricks to getting your desired downward angle would be placing your device somewhere that the camera is positioned slightly over your head, such as on a shelf, a stack of books or a countertop with your chair lowered and your screen angled down. On the contrary, finding the perfect upward angle is simply the reverse, where your device screen is angled upwards, and positioned slightly lower than eye level.
Staring straight-on at anything, much less yourself in real time, for an extended period may be daunting, thus consider angling your body or face slightly off-center within a five to twenty degree angle, whilst elongating your neck and tipping your face downward, to avoid a double chin.
While following each step meticulously up to this point will most definitely result in a vastly improved camera presence, there is still one more key factor that can make-or-break the productivity of your every conference call – lighting.
Sufficient lighting is absolutely crucial in ensuring that all of your self-grooming and camera angle efforts were not done in vain. Where natural light falls flat or fails to come through, artificial setups in the form of three-point lighting are incredibly useful and reliable in every camera-related situation, simply because they can be manipulated.
For those unfamiliar or genuinely disinterested in photography, a simple rule to three-point lighting worth remembering is that there must be a backlight, and two additional (Key and Fill) lights to the front-right-and-left of your final position. This setup effortlessly creates a three-dimensional illumination with a greater representation of height, width, and depth, without casting harsh shadows or an acute overexposure. Remember to also place the brightest or most intense light in front of you, either on your right or left depending on the angle you wish to highlight more.