Skype and FaceTime are great for staying in touch with people in a more personal way than an old-fashioned phone call. Especially now that everyone is heading off to or back to school all over the country. However, video chat brings its own complications. Key among these are that people often end up disappointed with how they look when the chat opens. All of the sudden your Skype date has an emergency cousins sisters dog to pick up from the airport. Or The position your interviewing for has just been filled. The quality of your virtual image is super important these days. Fortunately, there are some simple tricks that can make you look good on Skype / more attractive on video chat in general.
Use Multiple Sources of Indirect Light
If you’ve ever done a video chat with sunlight streaming in through a window, you know how this can leave much of your face in a deep shadow. The other person sees only what’s lit, leaving most of your expression unreadable. Think about lighting before you start the video call. It’s best to have multiple sources of light, and make sure none of them are shining directly at you. One possibility is to have a light right behind the computer, giving nice indirect lighting.
Think About Your Clothing and Background
You want the person to focus on you, not other distracting elements of the scene. If you have a cluttered background, it can detract from the image of you. Try to set up with as plain a background as possible. A darker background color will show you off the best. Also watch what you wear. Avoid big, bold patterns on your clothing, or jewelry that can cast reflections in distracting ways. Keep things simple.
Angle the Camera Down
If you have a laptop sitting on a desk, you’ll end up with the screen tilting up towards you. This can result in a picture which is shot from below, and when you have to look down into the camera like this, it generally makes your face look fatter than it is. You will get a more flattering result if you elevate the laptop, and set it up so that the camera is at the same height as your forehead. Tipping the screen just a little bit down towards you will give you a more flattering angle.
Include Your Upper Body
You don’t want the shot to be so close that just your head appears, either looking like a giant talking head, or floating at the bottom of the background. It’s better to give your shot some context by ensuring that you get your head and upper body in the frame. You don’t need to include your waist or anything below it, just the shoulders and upper torso is enough.
Keep Proper Eye Contact
It’s normal to look at the face of the person you’re talking to. That’s what we do in real life, but it doesn’t look the best on a video chat. It’s also easy to be distracted by looking at the video of yourself in the corner of the screen. In order to look your best, you need to be looking into the webcam to make proper eye contact.
Do a Test Run
Before you start video chatting with your boyfriend, try doing a test call with one of your close friends. They can give you some honest feedback about how your setup works, and also confirm that your video and sound quality are good.