7 Lighting Tips for Home Office Video Conferencing (Professional Look)

How to use lighting to project professionalism during video conferencing?

As working from home has become the new way of working, there are many who are worried about how the lack of office interaction will impact their career growth and promotion opportunities.

Fortunately, technology has gifted the remote worker with video conferencing capabilities, though having the right video conference lighting for remote working makes a difference in creating a professional appearance.

Remaining Visually Engaged

Workplace dynamics are unique, but people very quickly find out where they belong and how to mingle and interact with their coworkers. It is also a lot easier to feel connected and a part of the group when you are all following the office dress code, working the same hours, and supporting the same general understanding of the company mission.

Remote employment disrupts these comfort zones, putting individuals in a seemingly isolated environment and out of the context of a normal day at the office. This setup complicates how well many employees remain engage with their coworkers and motivated to complete their tasks.

If you have found this to be your situation, you may be wondering how you can get back to feeling like you are one of the team. Though you are physically distanced, you don’t have to be visually disengaged or removed from your coworkers and even your clients or vendor partners.

With video conferencing, you can instantly connect with those in your work circle, whether it’s your friend in accounting, the vendor where you need to renegotiate a contract, or a consumer who is having technical difficulties with their product.

Remaining Professional

Don’t be embarrassed to admit that the thought of working out of a home office sounded great, especially when you thought of cold winter mornings and being able to stay in cozy pajamas.

Dress code could be considered one of the biggest perks from a remote employment situation, but experts will tell you that you do yourself a disservice when you don’t show up for work like you normally would for a day at the office.

Remaining professional, even when miles away from your boss or coworkers, is crucial to making sure you don’t go unnoticed or unappreciated during your remote employment stint.

There is a lot you can do to remain professional while working at your home office. For instance, get dressed for work every morning. Don’t eat at your desk or slurp your coffee on a conference call. Leave your dog out of the video chat, unless it’s national “take your dog to work” day.

Professionalism doesn’t have to go by the wayside, and you can control how you are perceived. When it comes to video conferencing, you are working with a whole new beast. It is time to conquer your fears or frustrations with the technology and jump right into looking like a rock star when delivering your presentation at the Zoom meeting.

Remaining Calm and in Control

Your first video conferencing session may be eye-opening. While you checked yourself in the mirror before hitting the call button, you weren’t prepared for what you saw. You may be efficient and productive in your home office, where lighting is adequate and the glow of your fish tank is soothing, but when you see the mirrored image of what the camera is capturing, the end result discredits your professionalism. Your appearance can be lack-luster and somewhat distracting. Lighting has everything to do with a successful video call and your overall presentation of a professional, competent individual.

The right lighting is very important for video calls. You want the camera to project a good image, and a poor light source or light coming from the wrong direction reveals a poor-quality image. This can set the stage for an underwhelming video and communication experience. When you think about it, there are four reasons why your room lighting matters when making a video call.

  1. Lighting will allow facial expressions to be seen more clearly, helping reduce the potential for miscommunication over skewed appearances or facial expressions. Professional speakers adapt their message to the audience, and you need to clearly see your audience to do this well.
  2. Proper lighting presents images and colors more accurately, which is particularly important when sharing or presenting visual designs to clients or coworkers.
  3. Adequate lighting will help reduce the movement of reflections, glares, or shadow that can take the attention away from you as you are speaking. Though they may seem subtle, it can break the focus of those trying to take you seriously.
  4. The best image relies on more than just a quality camera with high resolution. With the right lighting, you can have the grainy texture or photo noise removed from the projected video image. This puts the attention on how you are presenting yourself and what you are saying.

Remaining In the Spotlight

Now that you know how important it is to have good lighting during your video calls, you can learn how to change your work environment to produce the best video quality.

To present yourself as a qualified professional in control of the conversation and information, you need to remain in the spotlight.

There are a number of things you can do to improve the call quality, but here are seven tips for creating the best lighting for your video chats.

1. Set Up Near a Light Source

When you are creating your home office space, situate yourself near a window, a floor lamp, or have another light source (such as a desk lamp) nearby. Sitting with your back to bright light or against the window creates a harsh silhouette behind you, changing the quality of your video call. You want your face to be visible and well illuminated.

2. Work With Natural Light

If possible, set up your workspace near a natural light source will be the best lighting option for making video calls. Daylight coming in from a window or skylight creates the most accurate rendering of skin tones and colors. Think about how conference rooms tend to have a lot of windows and strong lighting. Create this setting to put forth a professional appearance.

3. Incorporate Directional Light

Some people remove the lampshade from their lamp, thinking a bare bulb will glow brighter without the obstruction. However, this only creates strange shadows. If your lighting source is harsh, you sit actually sit closer to it in order to create a softer appearance. It is best to use a diffuser or lampshade over the light to soften the exposure on your face. You should also combine a natural lighting source with soft white lamps throughout your video conferencing room for a well-rounded lighting effect.

4. Strategically Place Light Sources.

Don’t just put lamps around the room to fit with the decor or where there is a space. Lighting should be strategically placed to maximize coverage without creating awkward shadows or glares. Professional lighting should follow a three-point setup. Start with key light sources on the 11 and 2 positions of a clock, if your desk set up is facing the noontime position. When possible, add an overhead lighting option to complete the setup. Think of how professional photographers have their lights arranged and angles. This is what you should attempt to recreate.

5. Watch for Overexposure

Too much lighting has a negative effect on your appearance, though many assume the more light brings better call quality. Overexposure can make you look washed out and it can blur details of the picture. If you are giving a presentation, this is distracting. While you can’t make the sun reduce its rays, you can move away from the window or close the blinds to redirect the light. You may also need to use multiple lights around the front of your face to balance the exposure that is coming in from behind.

6. Create a Light Friendly Space

If you plan to work remotely for a while and video calls are a daily routine, consider the color scheme of your walls and furniture very carefully. Bright colored items and light-colored walls will reflect light, where dark browns and blacks will absorb the light. This will impact your call quality. Your paint shouldn’t be a semi-glass either, as the light will produce a glare that is distracting. 

7. Use Professional Equipment

Presenting yourself as a professional, even while working remotely and connecting through video conferencing, will go a long way in developing your career potential. It is wise to invest in the tools needed to create a professional appearance during your calls. There are video conferencing system cameras that capture high definition images better than a webcam.

Working from home creates a unique opportunity for you to take control of your career success. Using some well-placed lights and paying attention to these tips can help you craft a professional appearance even when connecting through video conferencing.