Light from behind is one of the tricks of a pro that you can use in you home or small office to really stand out!
(I considered the title “You Need a Headlight!” — which do you think is better?)
Since 2007, when I picked up my first DSLR camera, I’ve been learning how to work with light. Creating good lighting for a video production or a photo shoot is a blend of art and science. In a small office or home studio the existing light—room light, window light, direct sun—is usually a factor. I love to help people fix their lighting so they love their office environment and look great on camera too!
Here are my links to couple of lights I love and how to use them in your office! (affiliate links to products I love, that will help you create the office you love!)
Also called a “Hair Light” by pros, a lamp like this is positioned above and slightly behind you, so it doesn’t shine on your face (watch the nose and forehead when you lean back in your chair!). What you get is a defined light halo on your head and/or shoulders that creates visual depth, separating you from your background and making you look sharp, and intelligent! Position the light just out of view of the camera for the best effect.
This is a time where you like the light to be smaller and a little more harsh in appearance because it’s creating a line, or a stroke of light around your silhouette from behind.
Best Recommendation for a Hair Light! There are plenty of great looking floor lamps that can can help create separation from behind or above when you are sitting or standing. Perfect with a daylight bulb or toned bulb for a brand effect!
Try it out!
As a test on camera, you can simply hold a flashlight (phone flash) over your head and behind, and see how the light hits you directly to separate you from the background!
As a photographer and Video Producer, I get asked a lot about giving webinars. People want to create a better, more professional brand experience for their customers. And especially business executives, managers and sales leaders all want to look like a top presenter or contributor in online conferences, meetings or sales calls.
When you look great, people pay attention!
Culturally a lot of us haven’t caught up yet, but how you look on webcam today is the online version of how you dress for work in the morning. People can’t really see that little stain on your shirt. they might not even know if you are wearing anything below the frame. And just today I met with a client who was wearing a strapless shirt top… she thought she looked great on the train heading in to work, but on camera it gave the impression of nothing!
What we forget is that people DO still judge you on first impressions. And today that is based first on your appearance on camera. But what people miss is HOW to make the right impression on camera? What actually makes your skin tone look good, or turn green. Why are your eyes in shadow and look so dark, and how can you brighten them?
Let’s start with basics—
Your Webcam Matters!
Built-in webcams are almost always sub standard. Yes, notably even the iMac has a low resoulution camera. Your built-in webcam is simply not professional grade. If you have a good phone, that can be great to use—until you need a larger screen, or your arm gets tired of holding it at the perfect angle without a desktop stand.
The right solution is a good webcam.
Without changing much at all in your setup, a good camera simply gives your viewers a sharper image of you. It allows greater control, and even adapts better to difficult lighting.
I Highly recommend Logitech Webcams!
Yes, I do get a small affiliate fee from Adorama if you buy one of these. BUT that’s not why I recommend them. There are plenty of other webcams available, that I could recommend too. But Logitech works, and it’s simple to use!
Here is why I promote the beauty of Logitech cameras:
First, they make you look better than any similarly priced cameras. In my experience with lots of cameras, from DSLR to iPhones and built-in display cameras, lens quality matters! When you pay for a Logitech, the lens you get is just superior—and the world can see it. And as a photographer I know how the difference in lens quality makes a huge difference in your final image, from capturing a higher quality of light, to true sharpness of the image.
Second, they give you control! Mostly I recommend Logitech because of the software drivers and support they provide. I still use Logi-capture, a FREE download that only works with Logitech cams. It is superior to whatever else I’ve found out there – and everything else costs a monthly subscription these days! [Link: future rant about everything going subscription will go here!]. Logitech has a long history of maintaining great support for their products with updated drivers and control software that give you the power over your high quality Logitech device. From light and dark controls to cropping and zooming, you will be happy you got a Logitech cam!
Above are the Logitech Webcams I recommend at Adorama Cameras (affiliate links)
You can take my word for it, or compare with other cameras that cost $10 to $20 less. The other cameras with the same specs end up requiring software to improve the camera, or they are unreliable, or down give good color in the video image.
There is another great Mac webcam hack I’ve found—
If you don’t want to buy a new Logitech camera, or if you are a Macintosh purist, this is the best independent software I’ve found. It’s called Camo Studio. The free version will allow you to hook up an old iPhone as your webcam (through an app called Reincubate Camo that you install on the iPhone), It has powerful features to control the iPhone and possibly other webcams you may own, but to get the great features… you guessed it… you have to subscribe. Circling back to Logitech…
So the FREE software that controls a Logitech camera is simply better because you paid for it with your device!
Get a Logitech camera. You’ll be happy you did!
—because you want to look human on your web conference!
A great camera picks up the light in your office, the shadows on your face, hair, clothes, eyes…
When it comes to lights, you of course have lighting in your office already. And maybe you are thinking it’s already plenty bright, right? But room lighting is usually over your head. Below are some links to the style of lighting I recommend.
Simply updating your office lighting can help!
The the large, square white lampshade gives the most flattering effect on your face, softening shadows, especially with the right kind of light bulbs of course…
Good bulbs, while they are a little more expensive than your average LED bulbs, they are powerful like a 100 watt bulb, but also full-spectrum and daylight color, and dimmable (not all LED lights can be dimmed).
And the colored light? That’s just my recommendation for a creative addition you can use as a hair-light, or you can add a little brand color to your background… Get creative!
So, the bottom line is…
You need a webcam with good control (Logitech).
You need a large light source or multiple light sources, bright, wide, and close to you to avoid harsh shadows.
And you need lightbulbs that will make you look alive, that are also bright, and dimmable!
I’m available to help you set up your webcam in your home or office, or help you build a studio for frequent shooting.
Now you can Webcam like a pro!
Daniel RG Crandall NolensvilleBrands.com
Desktop office lamps with a wide flat shade will create flattering light with softer shadows. Two or more bulbs allow you to be in control.
Floor or table lamps can easily be moved and redirected to create perfect accents as your second light, over the shoulder or hair light.
Matching LED bulbs installed will help make you look great! And you can add an accent color bulb to reinforce your brand color.