Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

How to Look Good on Camera at Home

Man on a video conference call.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Thanks to the rise of video conferences in this new, hopefully brief era of working from home, we’ve never spent more time looking at ourselves. Firing up Zoom is like looking at a high-definition mirror where zits, dark circles, and blemishes are on full display, and the view isn’t always so pretty.

Unless you’re on-air talent, how your mug looks on Google Hangouts or Skype probably won’t be a deciding factor in your career trajectory, but showing your skin some TLC and adjusting your lighting and camera to a flattering angle before your conference calls could provide a confidence boost. And in the age of seemingly endless doom and gloom, we’ll take all the confidence we can get.

So read on for three ways to look better on camera, so you can channel your inner Ron Burgundy during quarantine.

Use an Ice Pack (Yes, Really)

PerfeCore Facial Mask

PerfeCore Facial Mask
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Waking up hungover or sleep-deprived leads to facial puffiness, which will show on camera. A solution? Use an inexpensive and highly effective ice pack mask that works like a cold compress for your face.

Simply store this mask in your freezer for a few hours, then place it on your face for about 15 to 30 minutes to tighten your skin and help relieve inflammation, redness, and puffiness.

Adjust Your Camera Angle

If you’ve ever accidentally turned on your phone’s FaceTime and caught yourself at a low angle, which makes your mug’s silhouette look akin to Jabba the Hut, you know that angles are everything when it comes to on-air presentation.

So when setting up your call, your camera should sit just above your eyes, slightly leaning forward for a flattering angle that highlights your eyes and cheekbones. You don’t have to buy a tripod or a separate webcam to pull this off. Simply stack books underneath your camera until it reaches the appropriate height.

Find Your Lighting

Half the battle to looking your best on camera comes down to lighting. In general, avoid filming yourself in a room with fluorescent or overhead lights, as the former casts unflattering shadows that highlight wrinkles, blemishes and acne scars, while the latter accentuates eye bags and sagging skin. And you don’t want a spotlight directly on your face, which washes your features out and makes you look like a ghost.

For best results, your source of light should come from behind the camera at a forty five degree angle to create natural shadows. This is the same technique that professional photographers use when shooting portraits.

Newhouse Lighting Black Architect Modern LED Lamp

Newhouse Lighting Desk Lamp
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You could pay extra and spend money on ring lights favored by beauty bloggers and Instagram influencers, but using an LED desk lamp with an adjustable clamp (shown above) should get the job done. Or, if you wanted to take advantage of natural light, set your workspace up so that the window is slightly off to your side.

Want to take your lighting game even further? Follow Tom Ford’s lead and place a sheet of white paper underneath your work space, which allows light to bounce off the sheet and onto your face to soften shadows for an ultra-flattering finish.

Editors' Recommendations

Christian Gollayan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
As the former Associate Managing Editor, Christian Gollayan was in charge of the entire editorial team across The Manual. He…
Pimple popping: Is it ever a good idea? Dermatologists weigh in
Stop watching pimple popping videos and read what dermatologists have to say about zit popping
a man looking upset in the mirror

You’re in a wedding in two days — maybe you’re the groom — and you look in the mirror and notice a tiny, red bump. You have a pimple and suddenly feel like you’re back in high school. You also suddenly feel tempted to start pimple popping.

Finding a pimple before a special, highly-photographed occasion can feel like a cruel joke. The reality is that there’s never a great time to get a zit. The temptation to nix the bugger by popping it can be real, yet dermatologists typically advise against taking this action.

Read more
Experts reveal how to introduce retinol to your skincare routine (and what to avoid)
Incorporate retinol into your routine the right way
Shot of a young man looking in the mirror while applying moisturizer to his face.

Retinol has gotten a lot of attention lately, and for good reason: It's one of a few products currently on the market that is scientifically proven to stave off signs of aging. That's a pretty big draw for anybody, regardless if you're a newbie to the skincare game or if you're a seasoned serum professional.

But as with any new product you put on -- or in -- your body, it's important to know what retinol is made of and how it might interact with other products on your face before adding it to your skincare routine.
What is retinol?
What does retinol do for your skin? And what exactly is it?

Read more
How to get rid of acne once for all
Adult acne happens — this is what to do about it
man with green acne cream

Acne is one of the last conditions an adult wants to or expects to deal with. It’s seen as a teenage problem. Though adult acne is more common in women, research shows that men can also experience it.

Again, likely not the news you wanted to hear. However, knowledge is power. Knowing men can get adult acne allows you to take steps to prevent acne so that the condition won’t rear its ugly white or black head the day before a majorly photographed event.

Read more