1. Background. Take a look at what is behind you when you see yourself on screen. Plants growing out of your head? Cheesy off-the-rack art? Overflowing garbage can and kids toys strewn about? It’s time to clear the clutter and present your most filtered self. Don’t give them a reason to doubt your expertise now that your homelife is on display -- IRL clean that background up! Think like Marie Kondo and dump the junk that won't spark joy in your bosses/employers/clients.
2. Lighting. Position yourself next to an indirect light source, like a window, if possible. Blown out is better -- just look at instagram to see what I’m talking about. Avoid direct overhead lighting that casts shadows, and avoid light radiating from under your chin; neither of these are flattering looks. Indirect lighting casts an even glow on your face which makes you look like a credible expert and lends status to your convo.
3. Eyeline. Who are you looking at? Ensure you have the optimal height and positioning of your computer by raising your computer, ipad or phone at chin height or higher to avoid the brutal double chin and exposing whatever is up your nose. Use books, side tables, chairs, desks, anything to stack it up! The least flattering is a low-angle shot that highlights nothing you want your coworkers and/or boss to see.
4. Sound. Consider what is going on in the background of your surroundings: are the fans off? TV/radio/music/podcasts/ring doorbell set to mute? Ringer silenced? Windows shut to avoid traffic noise? Children sufficiently barricaded in their quarters? Partners warned to stay in the other room? Make sure all potential interrupters have been put on hold before you get on that call.
5. Join a Test Meeting. Lastly, don’t forget what you, the main product, looks like. Check your image by trialing a test meeting about a minute before you go live to ensure your audio, lighting and hair are pro! Points for wearing a bright, solid color (little patterns make computers freak out) and never mind what you are wearing on the bottom -- no one will ever see! If possible, shower or invest in some Amazon delivery dry shampoo to cut the hair grease and dust that shine off your face with pressed powder (unisex papers are available in books) so that your coworkers never see you sweat.
Karen Ripenburg is an unscripted TV Producer and Media Trainer who’s been making her celebrity and executive talent shine for more than twenty years for networks including ABC, Discovery, Food, HGTV, CBS, MTV, VH1 and OWN. She can be reached at www.karenripenburg.com for personalized media consulting.