When you have an important meeting, you want to look professional. But suiting up for a video conference isn’t enough – you also need to consider the quality of your setup. This means having a smooth internet connection, crystal-clear audio (with the help of a great microphone), a high-quality webcam, and good lighting.
Most of us don’t enjoy being on camera, and an unflattering camera angle or poor lighting can make you feel even more self-conscious. More importantly, good lighting is essential to look professional. After all, clients will have a hard time taking you seriously if your room is so badly lit that you look like you’re in a dark basement.
Recommended Lights for Video Conferencing
Cyezcor Clip-On Ring Light
Lume Cube Video Conference Lighting Kit
WONEW Desktop Ring Light
Natural Light vs Artificial Lights
Why spend hundreds of dollars on a lighting setup when the sun costs nothing? After all, daylight creates natural skin tones and accurate colors. However, it’s not reliable. The sun moves throughout the day, so you’ll need to constantly readjust to keep the ideal light setup. Plus, you won’t have much light on cloudy or overcast days. So, getting artificial lights is required for those who regularly participate in online meetings and need to look their best.
Ring lights are a popular option, as they provide 360-degree lighting and come in different sizes. For example, clip-on ring lights are small and can be attached to your smartphone or webcam. Smaller ring lights don’t offer the best lighting, but they’re affordable and easy to travel with. On the other end of the spectrum, 18″ring lights are often used by YouTubers. They’re bigger, more professional, and allow for a higher degree of customization. Of course, this comes with the disadvantages of being too heavy to carry around and harder to set up. A desktop ring light is a good middle-ground. They’re generally the size of a desk lamp, provide decent lighting, and are adjustable to get the perfect angle.
Another solution is to get panel lights for a two-point or three-point lighting setup. It’s more expensive and isn’t ideal for people who travel around, but as Rihanna says, you’ll shine bright like a diamond. For a three-point setup, you’ll need a key light (aiming down towards you at a 45-degree angle), a fill light at a side angle from you, and a backlight placed right behind you. For two-point lighting, you just need two lights at 45 degrees, one on the left and another on the right.
How To Choose the Best Lighting for Your Online Meetings
When it comes to your lighting setup, the first thing you need to consider is your budget. While the most expensive options usually offer the best lighting setup, you can still get a decent outcome for less. If you’re really in a bind, you can even build a two-point setup with standard lamps – just don’t forget to use cold-white light bulbs for a more professional-looking image.
Then, you need to think about portability. If you’re someone who travels a lot or has a few different workplaces, then an 18″ ring light might not be the best option. It’s also important to check the product’s battery lifetime – especially if you go for a wireless light – as you don’t want it to suddenly switch off in the middle of an important meeting. We also recommend that you get a light that offers some configuration. This way, you can adjust the light temperature, brightness, and angle to look professional in every situation.
Best Practices for Successful Virtual Meetings
Good lighting is just one of the things you need to consider for a professional-looking virtual meeting. For example, a low-definition webcam will mean all the effort you put into lighting was fruitless. A decent headset or microphone is also essential for crystal-clear audio as a web conference needs great sound to be effective.
Having an uncluttered background is critical, too. There’s nothing that screams unprofessionalism more than airing your dirty laundry on camera. For this, you can either get a green screen or take advantage of virtual backgrounds found in web conferencing software like GoToMeeting. Additionally, some web conferencing apps – like Microsoft Teams – offer built-in filters for soft-focus effects and other touch-ups.
But there’s more to a successful virtual meeting than a great setup and the latest technology. A lot comes from the way you prepare and lead the session. If you’re the host, you should always share the meeting’s agenda so attendees can prepare accordingly. We also recommend sending a follow-up with the session’s main takeaways and next steps at the end of each web conference.
Making the most of web conferencing software features (such as the whiteboard and breakup rooms) also improves the overall efficacy of the session. And don’t forget about the importance of body language and proper etiquette to make everything go smoothly. All of this guarantees swift and efficient online meetings, where everyone is engaged and productive.