How To Perfect Your Zoom Call Look

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When the pandemic caused lockdowns across the United States in 2020, it propelled online platforms such as Zoom to become gathering places for family get-togethers, work meetings, workout classes, and more. As such, private spaces (and dreary work-from-home-faces) were put on display. While some opted for Zoom backgrounds of homes designed by professionals, featuring million-dollar views or chic decor, others worked hard to transform their spaces into professional-grade personal offices.

Even makeup routines and fashion sensibilities changed to suit Zoom meetings, where Zoom makeup tutorials abounded, and wardrobes were updated for a new online look. The nice blouse-and-pajama-pants combination remains iconic. 

Now, we have compiled a comprehensive checklist of small adjustments you can make to give your best Zoom appearance yet. We strongly believe in the power of cohesion; therefore, this list includes styling tips for both your Zoom space and your Zoom face. Every Zoom window can be a work of art. Here's how to become the artist of yours. 

Clear visual clutter

The first step to creating a beautiful Zoom setting is, of course, to ensure that your space is organized and clean — at least, the parts that will be in the frame. Clean up snacks you've left on the coffee table from last night, hang any loose clothes in the closet, and pick your socks up off the carpet. Now, we're not accusing you of being messy: we are all prone to untidiness when our schedules get busy. But once you have a clean space, you have a clean slate to evaluate when it comes to making rearrangements. Plus, we all want our colleagues to believe we have it together, even if just for an hour. If you're overwhelmed by clutter, expert homemaker Martha Stewart has tons of tricks and tips to declutter your home

Properly position your computer

The placement of your computer can have an impact on your Zoom presence. First, ensure that your computer is on a flat, stable surface like a desk or table. We don't want your laptop falling off your knees mid-meeting or distracting your colleagues by readjusting your position. Then, make sure your camera is at eye level or pointing just slightly downward, per First Hand. Too high, and your colleagues can see your sweatpants from above. And too low, people in the meeting might as well see up your nose. Keep it centered so the focus is on you. 

Eliminate backlight

Backlight is when light enters the space from behind you, casting a shadow over your face or creating a distracting glare. This is, of course, besides the point of a Zoom meeting. In order to eliminate backlight in your space, close curtains that may be letting in natural light behind you, or turn off any bright lights behind you. If the backlight is inevitable, Zoom has a filter that you can adjust for low light, which should assist in suppressing the shadow. 

Introduce a ring light

Ring lights are not just for Instagram influencers. Despite their connection to content creation, ring lights are just another tool you can use to make your face appear brighter during your Zoom calls. The secret to a ring light is that it casts even light and emphasizes the brightness of your face, thus setting it apart from your background, according to the Nashville Film Institute. This attachable ring light from Amazon clips right onto your computer and features a dimmable setting to adjust the light to your preferences. The ring light also has settings between bright white light and warm light, so you can experiment with the light that feels most flattering. 

Decorate sparingly

While maximalism and minimalism struggle in eternal tension, when it comes to your Zoom decor, the general rule of thumb is less is more. The goal is to keep the attention on you, and not all of your stuff, as much as we do love stuff. While there is a time and a play to enjoy looking at stuff, during an important Zoom call is probably not one of them. For this reason, you could keep visible items to a minimum on surfaces like a coffee table, a countertop, or a media console that is in view — even if you put them right back after your call. Should you be curious about minimalism, here's how to make the minimalist home of your dreams

Create depth

Creating depth in your space sounds more complicated than it is. To create depth in a room, you want to emphasize contrast, whether it's with color, texture, symmetry and asymmetry, or big and small decor items (via Worth Interiors). Playing with these design elements adds a level of sophistication to your Zoom background, as well as makes your space look more 3-dimensional on a 2-dimensional screen.

You may also add a room divider to your space which works twofold. First, it provides privacy in an area of the room you might not want to be seen on camera. And second, breaking up the background into separate parts emphasizes the 3-dimensional, as well as adds a sense of personal style. 

Light a candle

Lighting a candle in your Zoom background creates an instant atmosphere. Candles are often associated with coziness, relaxation, and comfort. During a hectic work week, a candle will keep both your space calm and perhaps bring a sense of calm to others if it's within the frame. Plus, candles come in various jars and ceramic glasses, making them a simple, elegant decor item. These candles from Boy Smells come in a beautiful glass jar with unique scents and are made of all-natural wax. Read this before you buy another scented candle.

Choose a color scheme

Having a color scheme in your Zoom background can create a sense of cohesion on camera. It can also give you perimeters for when you want to mix up your decor but are not sure where to begin. The Spruce shared color tools that can assist you in creating your perfect color palette. One, called Colormind, generates preexisting palettes for you to browse for inspiration. Another, the Color Palette Generator, allows you to upload a reference photo, which the site then matches with complementary colors. With these tools, you can perfectly match artwork or decor to your space. 

Incorporate plants

Plants are a wonderful way to bring the elements indoors when you work from home. While the plant market saw a massive surge in demand during the height of the pandemic, they are an evergreen way to bring life into your space, both on and off camera. Many factors go into choosing the right plant for you, including the light in the room you work in, whether you have pets (many plants can be toxic to cats and dogs), the level of care you are willing to put in, and of course, the look of the plant. Here's how to choose the best houseplants that make a statement. No matter what plant you go with, a little bit of green will always freshen up your Zoom background. 

Choose wall art

Adding wall art that pops in your background can be a fun way to both show off your style and add some interest to your space without adding clutter to your surfaces. Wall art can be anything from a poster of your favorite artist to a painting by your own hand, or even a macrame tapestry or a gallery wall of photographs. Choosing wall art can be difficult when you are working with a blank canvas, a blank wall. The Spruce recommends art that has a tranquil vibe to it in the space where you work, to help set the mood for a productive and stress-free workday. Here are more creative ways to decorate your wall space

Go for a bold bookshelf

A beautiful bookshelf full of fabulous books is the perfect addition to your Zoom background. While the books you read can start a great conversation, they can also demonstrate your intellectual interests. When it comes to organizing your bookshelf, there are several schools of thought, per Homes & Gardens. While some prioritize function over aesthetics, for example, alphabetizing your books by the author's last name, others appreciate the opposite, such as organizing your books by color. You can also place small decor items on your bookshelf — such as plants or family photos — for an added touch. 

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!

Turning to your personal appearance on Zoom, the best advice across the internet as you prepare yourself for a long day at your computer comes down to one word: moisturize! Moisturize your skin, moisturize your lips so you are not smacking them on Zoom, and moisturize your eyes with eye drops to avoid any dryness that could cause irritation (via Vogue). You could even create a little hydration station on your desk, complete with face masks, lip balm, and your favorite eyedrops. Ensuring your skin is moisturized and maintains its glow on camera can help you feel fresh throughout the day. 

Consider wearing a bright-colored blouse

When it comes to Zoom attire, there are few rules except for one: the standard-issue Zoom uniform is a nice blouse on top and sweatpants on the bottom. Jokes aside, dressing for a Zoom meeting might be less formal than dressing for the office, but that doesn't mean you can't dress up if you want to. Wearing a fun, bright blouse can add some welcome zest and energy to your day and meetings. It also helps you stand out in a group setting. According to In the Limelight Media, one should avoid wearing black, white, and large patterned clothing, instead opting for solid colors. This bright pink, mesh ruffle top from Anthropologie strikes the perfect balance between playful and professional. 

Add a bit of concealer

When it comes to makeup, whatever makes you feel your best is always what you should wear. Should you love to go for a full-face, by all means, do it. And if minimal makeup is more your style, then gorgeous! Regardless of how you do your makeup, a staple in makeup kits everywhere is concealer. Concealer can be used for a variety of reasons that can be useful during a Zoom call, including covering up blemishes or brightening and highlighting certain parts of your face. Use concealer under your eyes for a refreshed look, on the high points of your face to highlight, and dot blemishes with concealer as wanted. 

Forgo contour and use bright blush

If you regularly contour your face, an expert who spoke with Net-a-Porter says to leave contour in your kit when it comes to prepping for a Zoom call, as it can emphasize the shadows on your face that will appear deeper with the light of your screen anyway. Instead, you can use a bright blush to give color to your face. It is preferable to use a pink or red shade, as shades close to your natural skin tone might not show up the way they do in natural light. 

Define your brows and lashes

Being such small hairs, your lashes and brows can get a little lost on camera during your Zoom call. Eyebrows are known to define your face shape, and wearing mascara is known to define your eyes — two important elements that you want Zoom participants to see. Pencil your brows for a more defined, structured look, or use a brow gel to comb through your brows with pigment for a natural aesthetic. And remember that to properly maintain your brows at home, stay away from wax and use a light hand when tweezing or trimming. When it comes to mascara, black will have the most impact, while deep brown mascara will create a natural definition. 

Have fun with lipstick

Lips are another part of the face that can become slightly muted during Zooms. A great way to add some more color to your face and define your lips is with bright lipstick, per experts speaking with New York Magazine. Lipsticks that are both hydrating and feature long wear are two elements you might consider when it comes to lipstick for Zoom. This cool-toned red lipstick from Makeup by Mario features a soft, blurred finish, while the passionfruit seed oil and rose hip oil aid in keeping lips hydrated. 

Keep hair off of your face

While touching or playing with hair is often considered a nervous habit, it can also just be something we do without thinking. Regardless, messing around with your hair on Zoom can be a distraction, especially in an important meeting. Keeping your hair away from your face can help soothe the temptation to play with it. Plus, those on the call with you will be able to see your whole face! Hairstyles such as buns, ponytails, and braids will keep your hair in place. 

Play with fun accessories

Accessorizing is a fun way to spice up your Zoom presentation as well. Wearing a barrette in your hair can both keep stray strands away from your face, and add some interest to your hairstyle. We love these mini indigo hair clips from Etsy made with polymer clay and gold leaf that can also contribute some color and contrast to your outfit. Styling your ears with some fun earrings can also add some character to your outfit. This pair of pink and red beaded tassel earrings from Etsy — inspired by the signature Oscar de la Renta tassel earrings — is both stylish and sleek. 

Consider anti-glare glasses

If you wear glasses, you may have experienced the infamous Zoom glare, where the light from your computer screen casts light on the reflection of your glasses, effectively blurring your eyes from sight. One trick to remove this glare is to place any additional light on your surface to the side instead of straight on. But, if you're on the hunt for a new pair of glasses, you could consider anti-glare glasses. These glasses work by using a special lens coating on the front and back of the lenses that almost completely eliminates reflections of light in your eyes, per Eye Effects. Plus, it will help others see your eyes better. Anti-glare glasses come in many different styles. This pair from Eye Buy Direct features an anti-glare option.