6 Top Tips to Look Great on Camera!

May 18, 2020

I would never have believed it if you had told me three months ago what life would be like today, but the reality is that the global pandemic that is Corona has ground much of the world to a halt. Worldwide, tens of millions are working from home as part of social distancing and have had to adjust to a different way of communicating. Amazingly, sitting in front of a webcam for hours has become the new normal – for both business meetings and sharing a “quarantini” during virtual happy hours.


So let me ask you a question - do you now enjoy being on camera?


Personally, I love being in front of the camera and rarely suffer a shy moment (although I have had more than my fair share of insecure ones!). I am well aware, however, that many people can feel really uncomfortable in front of the camera and given how Zoom, Skype and other services have taken over our daily lives on both the work and social front, many are wondering how to look as good on the internet as they do in person. That means figuring out how to flatter your face on your colleagues’ laptop screens or understanding the importance of a tidy living room in the background. That’s why I have put together these 6 Top Tips to help you look your best and feel your best when you next get on camera!


Tip 1

Fill your face with light


If you take away nothing else, focus on your lighting. It is second only in importance to your message!


Front-facing natural light is best. It evenly accentuates and brightens your skin and features, giving you a clear, flattering, movie-star-like quality.  Your best bet is to set up your computer in front of a window, and importantly, make sure that light is hitting your face straight-on. The direction of the light is really important whether you’re snapping a pic for Instagram or dialling in for a video call, because having that light come from behind you ends up drowning you out entirely, reducing you to an inscrutable silhouette.


For your best possible look, try to sit facing a window head on and try to talk during daylight hours.  If you have no choice other than to speak during the evening or in a windowless room, you can put a lamp behind your laptop and in front of your face in a pinch.


Tip 2

Get your angles right


It’ is so important to remember to keep your camera at eye-level.  The goal is to look people in the eye when you speak to them which means that your eyes need to be at the same level as the camera. If the camera is too low, you risk the double-chin effect or having the camera looking up your nostrils. You can also look like you are talking down to your audience. You also don’t want the screen above you because then it looks like the person you’re talking to is talking down to you and you lose authority.


If your camera is too low, you can easily give your laptop some lift by stacking a bunch of things just lying around below it like magazines, amazon delivery boxes or cookbooks.  If it’s too high, elevate your seating position with cushions.


Tip 3 

Pick the right background


The key here is to make sure that your background does not distract from you! I suggest that you become deliberate about the background you use for filming. What usually works best is to have a “professional” environment: the place where you actually work or spend time like your home office. Just make sure it’s not distracting, messy, or has anything that doesn’t contribute to the image you are trying to present. This is definitely one of those situations where less is more!

If you want to try something simpler, you can use a solid-coloured background. A wall, a bedsheet, or a large sheet of backdrop paper are all good options. If you want to get fancy on Zoom, you can use these plain backgrounds as “green screens” that allow you to replace your actual background with anything you want from the Eiffel Tower to outer space. However, please be aware that these backgrounds are hard to set up and work with, and take quite a bit of practice to get right. For some fun backgrounds, you can check out canva here.


Tip 4

Where you should look


There are two important points here, firstly do you know where the camera is? A mistake that people often make is not looking into the camera and this leads to a loss of connection.  Look at the camera and not yourself! If using a laptop or desktop, the camera is usually at the top of the screen in the middle facing you. It usually shows a green light when it’s on. 


If you’re using your phone, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Use the camera on the back of your phone. The front camera’s quality is not as good on most phones.
  • If recording, use landscape mode (that is, horizontally instead of vertically). This will give you footage that looks good on larger devices, not just phone screens.
  • If your phone has a feature that allows you to overlay a grid on your screen, use it. This will help you keep your phone level and avoid a tilted image.


If you have an iPhone, you can turn on the grid by going to Settings > Photos & Camera > Grid.


Secondly, look at the camera, but speak to the person. It is important to try to make eye contact with your audience as I explained in the angles tip, and this means looking straight at the camera. As you speak, you can try to connect with your audience by showing emotion: smile, be enthusiastic, move your hands naturally, and maintain that eye contact. 


Tip 5

Mind your skin


In our webcam-dominated situation, practising good skincare is even more important than usual.  I consulted with Louise Scotland, a Professional Makeup Artist who works regularly on fashion shoots, for an International TV Channel, BuzzFeed & London Fashion Week for her top three tips to for flawless makeup on camera:


  1. Make sure your skincare is of great quality and is the right hydration level for your skin - you cannot achieve great makeup without using great skincare first. Your base is key.
  2. Use a finely milled matte setting powder in the areas where you have shine on the skin. Any form of shine will show up a lot more on camera so this needs attention but do not over do it or use a setting powder with shimmer particles, otherwise your finished look will be cakey or the camera will pick up the shimmer particles.
  3. Keep eyeshadows matte. Shimmer or sparkles will catch the light & can look unflattering.


For more tips from Louise, you can contact her here: linkedin.com/in/louise-scotland-92712016b


Step 6

Know what you’ll look like


There are two parts to this, before and during. For the before part, preparation is really important because you don’t want to join a call using the webcam as a mirror to make any finishing touches to your hair, face or lighting that you could have done earlier.


To see what you look like in advance, take a call or turn your zoom on (you can just start a meeting with no participants) to check yourself and your background. When you are happy with the way everything looks, you will then be ready to start your call. I usually leave at least 5 minutes before a call or a live to make any adjustments to myself, my lighting or my background.


The second part to be aware of is what happens during a call.  Whether it’s a video conference or live TV, another common pitfall is forgetting you’re on camera. Part of looking good on a webcam means acting as you would in person and that means treating the call as if you’re in an actual meeting.


Specifically, be very aware of the settings on Zoom or the other platforms you use for whether or not the camera and mic are on.  The danger here is that people can zone out or go on their phone to pick it up and start scrolling. You don’t want to be that person because we can still see you!


Ready to get on Camera?


If you follow these tips, you will hopefully feel better equipped to get on camera and look great! The most important thing to remember is to be yourself and be natural – we all want to hear what you have to say!  Also, remember your lighting above everything else and then hit connect. You have this!


If you enjoyed these tips and are looking for some more advice about presentation, check out me recent vlog where I explain how Canva helps you to make beautiful images here.


Also, speaking for myself, I have really had to focus on stress busting to get me through this period and wanted to share some of the tried and tested techniques that I use to help you calm your body, ease your mind, and lift your spirit! If this whole lockdown has you down and you are ready to take action, then please check out my free eBook:




Committed to your success,


Marina x




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