Video is an integral part of most people’s everyday lives: YouTube videos, virtual meetings, live streaming events. Looking good on camera is important for everyone from Twitch streamers to CEOs. But how does one look good on video? It might seem hard, but the right gear and a few tips can go a long way to helping you look better on camera. Here are some tips for how to look good on camera, plus some helpful gear recommendations.
Avoid Overhead Lights
Overhead lights are fine for everyday illumination, but they just don't cut it for video lighting. Here are some of the problems they can cause:
- Light coming from above can give you the dreaded “raccoon eyes” and other unwanted shadows.
- Your camera might auto-adjust to the lights, potentially leaving you as a shadowy blob in front of a blinding light.
- If you have old-fashioned light bulbs (e.g. halogen or incandescent), you might look orange on camera since they have a warmer color temperature (fluorescent lights, on the other hand, are colder lights and may make you look blue).
Instead, the best option for on-camera lighting is to have a light source in front of you. Doing so will keep you evenly illuminated, in-focus, distinct from the background and completely shadow-free.
Use a Personal Light Source
Traditional light sources like desktop lamps can work in a pinch, but they typically don't offer any control over brightness or color temperature, which is important when it comes to getting a professional look. Plus, many lights don’t provide proper color representation for accurate and healthy-looking skin tones. Additionally, lamps can cause eye fatigue during long sessions. That's why it's best to use a dedicated streaming light, like the new Logitech Litra Glow.
Purpose-built for streaming, Litra Glow is the fastest way to bring a premium lighting experience to any desktop or laptop. Featuring Logitech’s TrueSoft technology and an innovative frameless diffuser, Litra Glow wraps your subject in soft, flattering light for a professional look in any setting. Whether you’re shooting a YouTube video, streaming on Twitch or just working from home, Litra Glow ensures you always look your best.
Color temperature is a great way to set the tone for your video or stream.
Placement is Everything
Your room, camera and light placement all matter when figuring out how to look good on camera––if one of these factors is off, it will also detract from your whole look, so it’s important to put some thought into where you want to set up shop.
If you have windows in your room, make sure you close the blinds if you’re on camera during the day. Cameras will adjust to the light coming from the window, which can potentially leave you in the dark.
For the ideal camera angle, place your webcam at eye level or at a slight downward angle. The top of your monitor is a natural place for your camera, but you can also use a tripod if you prefer to keep your monitor space clean. If you want an HD webcam with mounting versatility, the Logitech StreamCam can either rest gently on top of your monitor or be attached to a tripod.
Finally, the best light placement is usually right next to the camera or slightly above your eye line. Litra Glow’s three-way monitor mount lets you quickly adjust height, tilt and rotation for perfect light positioning, giving you a ton of light while taking up only a little space. To learn more about getting creative with your lighting, check out our blog post on three-point lighting techniques.
Consider Your Background
Anyone who’s been on the receiving end of the Room Rater Twitter page will tell you that viewers will notice your background, and they will judge you. Even if the rest of your room is in shambles off-camera, remember to keep your filming background clean and put together.
That being said, this is also a great chance to express yourself: show off your bookshelf, have some cool art in the background, or even just have a nice color scheme on your walls. Just make sure to not make your background too busy or distracting if you take this approach; ultimately, you should go for an appealing but not show-stealing background.
Aim for something between a blank wall and a fully decorated room––a few accents here and there, but nothing too distracting. Or if you’re feeling crafty, get yourself a green screen for limitless background options.
Wear Camera-Friendly Attire
Beyond dressing the part for a job interview or a virtual class, there are some technical aspects to consider when figuring out how to look good in videos. Like your background, your outfit shouldn’t be too busy since stripes, plaid and other patterns can sometimes cause weird artifacts on camera.
Solid colors and wrinkle-free clothing are typically best for most on-camera situations, but avoid green outfits if you’re using a green screen unless you want to be a floating head. Also, a friendly word of advice: complete your outfit with the right pants, too. You never know when your lower half might end up accidentally in-frame.
Everything from your background to your outfit will impact your on-camera look, so make sure to plan accordingly.
Talk to the Camera
This tip may sound weird, but talking to the camera like it’s a real person helps with your overall look. Breaking the fourth wall is usually a faux pas in movies and TV, but it’s a useful way to be more personable on camera and have virtual calls and chats feel more natural.
On a Zoom call, for example, the person on the other end is on your screen, but if you look at them on said screen, it’ll seem like you’re looking past the camera on their end. If you want to more effectively engage with the person on the other end, make sure to occasionally make “eye contact” with them by looking directly at the camera.
See What Your Viewers See
If you’re not yet feeling confident about looking good on video, then try filming yourself and watching it back. Doing so gives you a chance to essentially see what your viewers will see, and you can make any adjustments to your camera, lighting and background based on the results. How does your lighting look? Does your outfit clash with your background? Are you looking at the camera enough? As with all things in life, practice makes perfect.
These tips will help you get the on-camera professionalism you’re looking for. Learn more about lighting techniques, gear for working from home, and building an online presence at our blog.