To make a good impression over video, looking your best is essential – and not only for the reasons you might think. When you look good, you feel good, which boosts your confidence. That will affect your performance in a big way and, in turn, impact your audience's perception of you and your message.
Whether you’re representing yourself or your brand on video, setting up a beautiful, high-quality image is worth your while. Not sure how to make this happen? No problem. Let this blog be your instruction manual for how to look good on camera.
1. Get your background sorted
Think about what your viewers will see in the shot beside you. You want your background to be simple yet aesthetically pleasing. Things like large bookshelves, plants, and brick walls always look great. Avoid busy backgrounds, and eliminate distracting elements.
Ensure the background is nice and tidy – especially if it’s a shared-use space or you’re working from home. The last thing you want is to discover a rogue pair of socks in the frame after you’ve finished filming. Be sure to check all surfaces visible in the shot.
If your background looks too bland or flat, liven it up with a few decorations. For example, you can hang something on the wall (e.g., a painting, a guitar, string lights) or arrange a few of your favourite knickknacks on a shelf. Dim accent lights like salt lamps or LEDs can add vibrance to the environment.
An alternative to using a practical background is to set up a vinyl, paper, or cloth backdrop. These can be solid colours, prints, or even a green screen that you can replace with any image you want.
2. Use a good camera
The minimum you need is a good quality webcam that you can set in the right place and provide superior picture quality to the cameras that are built into even high-end notebooks. The best option is to use a professional standard videoconferencing camera, designed to create streaming video content.
The most suitable camera type is a Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) camera that allows you to control the framing of your shot remotely. You can choose the power of the zoom lens and other features to suit your needs and budget. APT AV offers various PTZ camera options, including the HD570 HD Video Conference Camera.
Alternatively, you can repurpose a D-SLR, Mirrorless, high-end compact or video camera. This can be done in three ways:
- Connect your camera to an Epiphan Pearl using the high-resolution HDMI output.
- Use a video capture card that converts high-resolution images from the camera’s HDMI output to USB so that it can be connected to your computer and recognised as a webcam. Epiphan’s AV.io HD DVI and Narvitech NJ300 HDMI to USB Capture are good-quality and reliable options.
- Check if your camera can be configured as a webcam. Some brands now provide camera settings and software to enable this. Check the specs to ensure the resolution is not downscaled to less than 720p – ideally, you want a minimum of 1080p.
3. Position your camera properly
Position your camera at eye level or slightly above. The ideal distance between you and the camera will depend on the lens and the space you have to work with.
The more distance you have, the better. By allowing enough space between the subject and the camera (at least 1.5 metres) and the subject and the background (another 1.5 metres), you’re creating depth of field and adding dimension to the shot. Plus, with the right camera lens, the background will have that neat blur effect (called bokeh) you've probably seen in many professional productions.
4. Light it right
Good lighting makes a huge difference, so investing in a few video lights is worth it. Using natural light as a source is possible, but it's tricky since that lighting can change with the weather and as the day rolls on. Artificial lights are best.
A set of LED lights will serve you well. These are easy to work with and won’t run hot. A tripod is the simplest solution for mounting these, though clamp mounts can also work.
The standard, most basic way of setting up lighting is known as three-point lighting. It goes like this:
- Place one light about 1.2 – 1.5 metres in front of you. This will be your main (or key) light.
- Set a second light at the same distance, about one to two metres in front of you, spaced out about one metre from the first light. This second (or fill) light will counterbalance any harsh shadows on your face cast by the key light.
- Position the third light behind you to create a nice rim of light around your silhouette, helping separate you from the background.
For a more in-depth look at three-point lighting, check out Epiphan’s video:
5. Get yourself ready
The clothing you wear and how you do your hair and makeup are important to consider beforehand. The reason is that not everything looks great on camera. Here are a few guidelines.
A solid shirt and dress colours work best. Avoid:
- Prints with overly saturated colours, small patterns, or stripes – might create a jittery effect on video
- Anything green if you’re planning to shoot in front of a green screen
- Clothing that's pure white or black – it makes too much contrast.
Hair and makeup
- Check for flyaway hair (a bit of hairspray will help if you find any)
- Control perspiration. It’s only natural to sweat more when you’re before bright lights and are under pressure to perform. Use blotting paper and translucent powder to help prevent shine.
- Choose natural lip, blush, and eye shadow colours for makeup. This is known as "no makeup" makeup, which is what looks best on camera.
Your on-camera performance matters just as much as your appearance. If you’re avoiding eye contact with the camera while mumbling under your breath, not even the best camera in the world could save you.
Remember to sit up straight and elongate your neck. This will improve your posture and help avoid a double-chin situation. Don't forget to smile!
Often, feeling comfortable in front of the camera makes all the difference. Take a moment to loosen up before shooting the video. It may also help to record yourself and watch it back. If you’re recording, there’s no harm in doing a few takes before finding that keeper.
It’s your time to shine!
Creating premium video content doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Following the useful tips in this article and arming yourself with the right tools will ensure a seamless production experience that delivers polished and professional video capture.
If you're looking for a reliable, professional, and affordable AV solution, get in touch with us. We'll help you find the best fit for you and your business.
Epiphan Video provides award-winning, purpose-built hardware solutions that help your business create impactful video content.
The Epiphan Pearl range of hardware encoders is the ultimate system for maximum versatility with multi-encoding, multi-streaming, recording, custom layouts, switching, and more. Ideal for use in live event production, enterprise communication or lecture capture in higher education.
AP Tech is the authorised Australian distributor of Epiphan Video products. Every Epiphan solution from AP Tech is backed by local warranty and support.
About APT AV
APT AV videoconferencing and IP cameras comprise a wide range of products and accessories for professional and business applications. The range has been curated and sourced from one of the leading worldwide manufacturers, Minrray, specifically for the Australian and New Zealand markets.
The APT AV range is designed and manufactured to deliver excellent image quality, professional-standard durability, configurability, systems integration compatibility and outstanding value for money.
AP Tech is an authorised Australian distributor of APT AV products. Every solution is backed by local warranty and support.