Lighting, positioning and other tips for your online calls

Some lighting, positioning and other tips for looking your best and more professional during an online call or meeting.

Where to put the camera

The camera should be about the same level at the top of your head then tilted down a little to your eyes.

In other words, have the camera looking down to you, just a little.  Not looking up from below.

A pile of books a la Prince Charles or a collection of DVD box sets (for those of us with Kindle’s <g>).


If you have the choice, a lamp behind and to one side of the camera is best.

Try to avoid glaring lights behind you that will ‘flare’ in the camera.

Any light will do but a modern LED lamp with multi-color selection gives you some options for white, ‘warm’ or yellow-ish white or a ‘cool’ white with a hint of blue. Most also have dimming/brightness options.

It might be tempting to use the flash on a smartphone (Turn your smartphone into a webcam – iPhone, iPad or Android ) but they are intended for short bursts not long time use more than a few minutes.

If you can’t change the lighting, use a Virtual Background (Zoom) or a Snapcam filter to block out the background.

Even lighting will get better results with Virtual Background and other video effects.

Fill and Bounce

If you’ve ever seen a professional filming or still photo session, you’ll have noticed it’s not all direct lighting.  There’s usually indirect lighting with mirrors or special reflectors.

The reflector gives a more even light across the whole face. There are fancy reflectors available but you don’t need one.

All you need is a piece of paper!

Piece of white paper

Put some white paper, flat on the surface in front of you so that light reflects up to your face.

Hair and Makeup

No need to look glamorous but do your hair. Gentlemen, please shave.

The aim is to avoid distractions. Nothing that takes attention away from what you’re saying.

Zoom’s preview option lets you check yourself in a virtual mirror before joining a call.

Themed calls

For regular calls with friends or workmates, why not have a ‘themed’ online meeting.

Maybe ‘Bad T-shirt’ or ‘Favorite T-shirt’.

Or ‘Glam’, ‘Prom’ or ‘Formal’ where everyone gets dressed up.

Watch out that you don’t blend into a virtual background!

Thanks to Tom Ford and Maureen Dowd.

Turn your smartphone into a webcam – iPhone, iPad or Android

Wide angle lenses easily added for online meetings

You don’t need a tripod or camera stand – ask Prince Charles

Using a GoPro, Camcorder or DSLR as a webcam

Prepare your computer for isolation or quarantine