Zoom and how to show up on there by London Photographer….

So you’re on there having meetings and clinging on to some communication with the outside world.  At the start of Lockdown #1, you were struggling but now at Lockdown #2 it’s become second nature!  As a London Photographer, I may have a few ideas for you on just how to show up there! 

Now you’ve mastered all that it’s time to start thinking about how you’re portraying yourself up there.  It may not be good enough just to appear – it could be that now everyone has upped their game, it’s time for you to really look at yourself on that screen. How are others seeing you?  (that is if you’re getting seen amongst all those other boxes at all)  Are you possibly a little under-exposed? A little dark compared to your colleagues or clients who are looking sparkly and clear? Are you getting lost amongst all those other frames? Are you not catching the eye?  Time to take it all up a notch. To help you here are some hints on Zoom and how to show up on there…

Some lighting ideas from a London Photographer

It’s worth having a quick review and a little think about how you’re actually lighting yourself before your next meeting.  You want to be up there with the best of them – well lit and able to really join in and be represented at your very best.

SO – first thing’s first – no more plonking yourself with your back to the window!  The light from behind will render you a literal shadow of yourself.  You’ll be a virtual silhouette on there – just a black blob indiscernible to the naked eye.  The best place to be if possible is in FRONT of that window with that natural light shining straight onto your face. If your desk is in front of a window have a little jiggle around before launching yourself onto the public.  The best angle for that lovely natural light from outside (if you have any) is at around 45 degrees in front of your face giving you some soft light without a shadow to the other side of your face. 

Now you’ve done that – think about lighting the other side a little.  If you’ve got a desk lamp to hand do the same thing the other side, angling it around 45 degrees again in front of your face.  If your desk isn’t anywhere near a window and you’re on a laptop it may even be worth you taking yourself over to the nearest one.  

Alternatively, you could always invest in a ring light which will light up your eyes and make you look screen perfect!  (So says my tv director hubby who really knows how to light up those anxious actors!) The best place for the ring light is behind your computer slightly higher than your face.  Again, it’s worth jiggling around and experimenting.  You may need to use boxes or books to raise the light so worth sorting it out well before each meeting.

Zoom and positioning the camera

Now you’ve got the perfect light, have a think about how you’ll position yourself on there. Yes, we’re there to work and chat but, let’s face it – we’ve all caught sight of ourselves with the camera highlighting our jowls or those lines we’d never realised were there and wanted to click on LEAVE MEETING immediately.  To help our self-esteem and confidence on there it’s important to angle the camera in the most flattering way possible. Just as I would never shoot anybody from below, the same applies on Zoom.  I generally shoot my clients from slightly above so do the same with your computer. Putting your laptop on books or a box so that it’s slightly angled down towards your face will help no end.   Never have it too low – that’s a disaster and not good for the self-esteem!

Zoom and using colour

At my own networking meetings recently I’ve realised that even though I’ve been doing all of the above, I’m still looking very bland out there compared to others.  I tend to wear blacks, greys and browns – not exactly the best colours to catch the eye and If I’m finding myself dull to look at, who knows what the others think.  I’ve decided I’m going to sport a bright lipstick in future. Normally one for the beige tones there too (exciting aren’t I!) it’s obviously time to go a little mad in the lippy department.

If you have a dearth of bright tops then try to don one of those at your next meeting. Failing that, then jewellery – bright coloured earrings or a colourful necklace can help to break up the darkness.  Personally, as someone who wears very simple, understated jewellery along with her muted toned clothes this is all new to me too – I’ll start with the lippy and, who knows – may venture into wearing all sorts of joyously colourful clothes and accessories. Maybe Zoom will change how we portray ourselves to the world in the future? Interesting thought.

Let’s all cheer each other up looking sparkly and bright on those screens – if we can’t do so in person especially during the festive period maybe this is all just what we need.

Off to buy some lippy now…