Why Should You Care About Looking Good On Video Conferencing?

Because it is not like looking good in person. 

If you are in the professional world then you have been drilled on the importance of “looking professional, “dressing the part”, and “dressing for success”.  You have been assigned a dress code or at the very least been given industry guidelines.  You may have even consulted with an image consultant. 

The good news is you are well versed in professional image.  The bad news, there is a whole different set of rules for dressing professionally on camera.

Why are there a whole different set of rules?

Because the camera lens distorts and removes elements the naked eye does not. 

Fabrics and patterns can change and move creating an effect that distracts the viewer.  Roughly, 25% of our facial features disappear through the camera lens so the way you apply makeup needs to change.  Lighting can make or break your image.  Too bright and you blowout your image, too dark and you look even worse.  There are a lot of factors to consider.

But Why Should You Care?

With all of these factors it can be easy to give up and think “Who cares? Is it really that important?”.  The answer is, yes. 

Whether it is your boss or a room full of conference attendees, your viewers care about how you look on camera.  When your image is off they can become more distracted by that then the message you are trying to convey to them on your video presentation. 

The special conditions of your image on camera lends to a lot of distraction.

What are the distractions?

  • Your outfit clashes with your background.  People often make the mistake of not taking their background colors into consideration and wear clothing that blends or clashes.
  • Your facial features are muted.  Cheek bones, brow bones, hairlines, and jawlines can all look distorted when they are not highlighted or lit properly.
  • Your skin appears falsely blemished.  When faces are improperly lit shadow can mimic blemishes, age spots, or wrinkles.
  • Metallic jewelry and fabric patterns can strobe.  Strobing is the phenomenon where shine or patterns pixelate through a camera lens and appear to move on screen.  This can hurt the viewers eyes or, in extreme cases, trigger migraines.
  • A bad or pulled back hairstyle can put too much emphasis on the face and appear unflattering.
  • Too much or too little accessorizing can off set the look of an outfit.  Too much can cause audio distraction.  Too little can make an otherwise professional outfit look dull.

So, what can you do if you are concerned about your on-camera image?

First, camera test yourself. 

Put on a typical professional outfit and do your hair and makeup the way you do for an average video conference.  Shoot a quick video of yourself with the camera you use for business meetings.  Go down the list of distractions I list above and analyze which you may struggle with. 

Another option is to consult with a trusted person you conference with often.  Ask them how your on-camera image strikes them.  What is working?  What could you improve on?

Or work with a professional

If you would like to consult with a professional, I have a few resources for you. 

Above all do not get overwhelmed.  I know it sounds stressful but there are easy fixes and the improvements to your career will be noticed and worth it.