Keeping Connected but Not Infected

PUT YOUR BEST FACE FORWARD

We’re in a new era, friends. We’re now connecting more and more through our laptops and devices. This coronavirus thing has us hunkered down, staying put, being careful to not unwittingly share that little monster and doing all we can do to “flatten the curve.”

What many of us are suddenly doing, if we haven’t done it before, is using Zoom and other teleconferencing apps, and calling it “virtual coffee,” “visiting the grands,” “networking with the ‘Net”, even “going to church,” and a bunch of other reasons for KEEPING CONNECTED, BUT NOT INFECTED.

As a photographer, who thinks constantly about how people look on and off screen, I see a need to offer some suggestions on how we all, myself included, might put our best faces forward.

Now, I get it that some folks aren’t that concerned about how they look on screen to those on the other end. And that’s OK. No judgement here.  But, from what I’ve seen lately, some people look way better in person than on screen. (Jus’ sayin’.)

Moving on, I know that there are some of us who would like to offer the world a nicer screen face, so here are some low- or no-cost things we can do.

  1. Use a table and comfy chair, not your lap. It’s nice to be able to put your arms on the table, along with pen and paper, something to sip on or whatever. In this position we can lean forward if we want.
  2. That leads to posture. Fercryin’outloud, please don’t slouch back! Ugh! Spare us that view of you! Our two best options are to sit up straight or lean forward. If a physical condition doesn’t allow that, well that’s a different story.
  3. Your location would ideally be where no direct sunlight is spilling onto you or any part of the scene behind you. That “hot” light as it’s called, fools your camera’s meter into making everything else too dark. AND that hot spot is really, really distracting to others. Ever notice how people look too dark and they’re hard to see when there’s a brightly lit window behind them? You can almost always find that kind of light near a north-facing window.
  4. The area behind you needs to, ideally, be uncluttered, neat and free of “hot” light. It’s photography gospel, people, that your background  and surroundings shouldn’t compete for attention with the subject (you).
  5. Ensure the camera is at about eye height. That might involve putting something under your laptop or using a small tripod made to support your device.  Remember, it’s the camera lens part of your PC or device that we’re talking about.  Why eye-height? Nobody wants to look up your nose!
  6. For those who really want to do things right, ensure the face(s) in the scene aren’t smack in the middle or too close to any edge of the frame – just a smidge off-center. The middle is static and boring, and the other is awkward and lopsided. You may have heard of the Rule of 3rds. That’s what this is all about, getting our faces in a more visually appealing area within the camera’s view.

LET’S MAKE IT EASIER FOR PEOPLE TO SEE US CLEARLY AND BETTER ABLE TO FOCUS ON WHAT WE’RE SAYING. Following these tips will help. I promise.

One Comment

  1. Bruce Hinson

    Was encouraged to make this my first post on my new site by web developer extraordinaire, Jim Null. Thank you, Jim!

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