WITH WORKING FROM home now an everyday occurrence for huge numbers of us, learning how to look your best on a video call is more important than ever. It’s no longer sufficient to simply turn on your Mac’s built–in webcam and hope for the best. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to spruce up your on–call appearance quickly and easily. All are simple to achieve and most are free.
The first and perhaps most important step is to get a good webcam. The built–in cameras in most modern Macs are simply not up to scratch these days. In fact, only the 5K iMac from mid–2020 offers 1080p resolution — every other Mac is languishing at 720p.
You don’t have to spend a fortune. We reviewed the Creative Live! Cam Sync 1080p ($49.99) in ML175, and its 1080p resolution looks great compared to what most Macs currently offer. You can go higher — the Logitech Brio outputs in 4K and costs $199, for example — but most users won’t need to spend that much. Just make sure you get a camera with a resolution higher than 720p.
LIGHTING AND ANGLES
Once you’ve sorted out a good third–party webcam, it’s time to work on the lighting. Never sit with a window behind you — it will darken everything in front of it and make you hard to see on the call. Use natural light if you can to avoid the yellow hue electric lights often give off, and try not to point lights directly at your face, as this can create deep shadows. Instead, light yourself from both sides with lights positioned a few feet away — you want the light to be diffuse rather than direct. If you can, get a dedicated lighting ring. A few webcams like the Razer Kiyo even come with a light ring built in.
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