Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Look Great Face-to-Face in Cyberspace!

It is wonderful to be able to speak with people face-to-face on Skype, Face Time et al. For me personally, it has been a boon as I am able to consult with clients all over the world. Clients love it as it is much more personal than communicating via phone or email. However, it does have a downside: the camera is not kind to everyone.
I’m sure you too have noticed that webcams have no pity on wrinkles, pale complexions and sagging jaws. In fact, it seems to me they highlight these aspects! How cruel is that! Webcams certainly did me no favors. I was horrified how unflattering they could be! This led me to test drive different places in my office to find out which spot would create an optimum background. Then I tried different kinds of lighting and camera angles that would be the most flattering to my skin. I am an image consultant after all, so clearly I would like to give my viewer the very best first impression possible.   
Remember, you must look good to yourself if you want to look good to others! So, a little effort beforehand is really necessary. Put on a bit of makeup and make it a little brighter than usual. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the difference it makes when on camera. Also, pay attention to your clothes. Choose clothing with solid colors. Reds and oranges are best. Wear earrings as they make you appear dressed up and ready to go. Be sure to sit up straight and smile! Think cadid camera! 

Test the lighting. The last thing you want is to look like a Shar Pei dog or Frankenstein. Stay clear of lighting from below your face. And forget back lighting. What we all need is gentle lighting. Natural light is best if at all possible. Face a window or use a simple desk lamp to light up your face. This enhances your appearance and gives shape to your face. If you’re using a desk lamp, turn off the other lights in the room and close the shades.
Now that lighting has been dealt with, look for the best camera angle for your face. If you use a laptop, raise it to the level of your hairline. Center yourself in the middle of the screen and angle it slightly forward. Computer cameras have wide-angled lenses which exaggerate things that are close up like the nose!  So put a little distance between you and the screen.
Be aware of the background. You want the viewer to focus on you, not what’s happening behind you.
Finally, we all make the same mistake. We look at ourselves when we should be looking at the camera. Remember we are talking to another person and not to ourselves! LOOK AT THAT LITTLE LIGHT ABOVE YOUR SCREEN.
As you can tell, I’ve given this matter a lot of serious thought and had to do quite a lot of experimenting before coming up with what works best. I encourage you to do a dry run with a friend on the other end of the camera before your next video call. Again, if you are an Apple owner, you can also use photo booth for a test.
Oh! One more thing, you do not have to face the camera. Try positioning yourself slightly sideways as it can make quite a difference.
Now let the cameras ROLL…