As we transitioned to this new online world of zoom meetings and online videos, I get asked a lot about the equipment that I use to create this studio look, which is far from a studio.
What I tell most people is right out of the bat you don’t really need to spend anything to improve your look online. In fact, the most important thing that you can do for your online presence is probably going to cost you nothing. That’s improving the lighting that you have in your video.
First and foremost, put the light on your face. I’ve got a window right there that’s letting in lots of ambient light. This is during the daytime. By far what most people would do to improve it right out of the gate is just switch around so that they’re not sitting in front of a window. Most people have their desks on a wall and the windows behind them. We see this a lot. The camera averages the light that it sees on most of the low end web cams that you’re using. And because of that, it sees this window, it says, “oh, there’s tons of light,” throttles down the aperture, and the exposure on your face is very, very dim. Plenty of light, it’s just not on your face.
If you just turn that desk around and face the window, all that light is now facing you instead of facing the back of your head. The camera doesn’t see light, it throws up the aperture, and creates more light. You look brighter. There’s a lot more detail. That’s probably the most important thing you can do to improve your online look.
I did spend a little bit of money. I’ve got two big bright lights here, mounted on the wall that I can control remotely and make sure they shine on my face. But you could use a lamp. You’ve probably got plenty of those laying around the house that you’re not using and take the shade off pointed in there. Put a reflector on there. You could go to Home Depot and get some of those domed reflector clamp lights, put a hundred watt bulb in it, and shine it on you just as well. But by all means, put the light on your face, don’t backlight yourself to get that halo effect. Be bright, smile. Let people see that expression. We can’t see it if there’s not enough light on your face. But invest in you more than you invest in your environment, you’re the presentation and what matters most.
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As a high-stakes communications expert, Alan motivates individuals and teams to build their confidence and professionalism and trains them to seamlessly handle the unexpected in ANY communications setting.
Alan is an International Keynote Speaker, Coach, Trainer, and Author who has delivered keynotes and training workshops to thousands on the impact of powerful, persuasive communication. Alan is the Executive Director and Principal Trainer of MillsWyck Communications. He is the author of Presentation Sin: The Practical Guide to Stop Offending (and Start Impressing) Your Audience and the co-author of Silver Goldfish: Loud & Clear: The 10 Keys to Delivering Memorable Business Presentations.
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