7 Tips for Looking Good for Webcam/Google Hangouts [Creator's Tip #83]

7 Tips for Looking Good for Webcam/Google Hangouts [Creators Tip #83]

Looking good on a webcam requires a little forethought, mainly because your webcam is going to be limited in what it can capture.  But the steps to follow are pretty simple if you want to make a great impression in a webcam/Google Hangout type of presentation.  As always, you don't want to overlook sound, for both you and the people to whom you are speaking.  Eliminating as many distractions as possible and being aware of the mistakes you can make will turn that live hangout session into an enjoyable experience for everyone.

7 Great Tips for Looking and Sounding Good on a Webcam

1. Use A Lot of Light

Webcam sensors are small, and you need a good amount of light to let the lens see you properly.

2. Use A Decent Mic

The built-in mic on your computer usually isn't adequate for this kind of thing.  You don't even have to get something all that expensive.  Even something like iPhone earbuds with a mic on it would work fine.  Just something that blocks out distracting ambient noise.

3. Use Headphones

Eliminate any kind of echo that might occur from other people speaking that might get picked up by your microphone.  Also, use something that kind of blends in with the clothes you wear so that the headphones aren't distracting.

4. Look at the Camera

Making eye contact can be difficult because you can see all these people on your screen, and you want to follow them, but then you aren't looking at the camera directly above the screen.  Looking at the camera engages your audience a lot better than when you seem to be just looking down.

5. Avoid Glare from Glasses

It's recommended that you wear contacts during a webcam session because many times the glare from your computer monitor shows up in your glasses, making it hard to see your eyes.  People connect better when they can see your eyes (sort of like we discussed in the previous step).  Also, the lights you may have set up can cause glare as well.

6. Wear Solid Colors

Avoid crazy patterns.  Wearing white is best since the aperture of your camera will try to adjust for all the light in the room.  Wearing something like black will lot in a lot more ambient light, while wearing white will make the camera adjust accordingly and avoid overexposure.

7. Center Yourself

Get close enough to the camera so that people can see your shoulders and your face, but not so far back that they can't see your eyes, and don't give yourself crazy amounts of headroom where there's this gigantic space above your head.

You got any tips for looking and sounding good on camera?  Leave a comment below or on the video's comment section.  We'd love to hear from you!

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View The Full Video Transcript:

For this week's Creator's Tip, we are going to get you guys looking good on your webcams for your Google + hangouts, video interviews, and lots more. That's coming up.

Hey, guys, my name is Tim Schmoyer and welcome to another week of Creator's Tip where every week, we here at ReelSEO do our best to help you guys make content that will perform the best that it possibly can on the web, and one of the types of content that you might be creating is doing stuff with Google + hangouts. Maybe you're doing Google + hangouts on air where you're doing live Q&A, interacting with your audience, your live streaming stuff. Maybe you're either conducting video interviews using Mic Skype or maybe other people are interviewing you and you’re being recorded. How can you best use that tiny little webcam on your computer to make you look and sound as good as possible? I'm going to give you guys seven tips that I have learned over the year.

The first thing that I've learned is one, you really need to have a ton of light because those senors are so small. Only a tiny little bit of light gets through so if you want a really good, crisp-looking image regardless of what webcam you're using, you're going to need to have lots of light. Number two, use a decent mic most like Max and a lot of webcams that you can get that plug into your PCs. They have microphones built in but they don't always perform the best. Maybe you can even use something as simple like if you have an iPhone or those earbuds that has the little microphone built right in, that thing even works better than what you would normally get just off of your computer. It just hangs right here by your head. You don't really need an expensive, high-end mic, just something that you can get close to your mouth and one that hopefully blacks out surrounding ambient noise in the room and stuff.

Along with that, number three is use headphones. I like to use these because they're really small and kind of out of the way. You don't really notice them unless you're wearing a black sweatshirt, but I'm usually wearing a white shirt, and I'll explain why in a second. So this wire actually blends in quite nicely, and the reason why you want to wear headphones is to eliminate any sort of echo that your microphone might pick up from people speaking that's coming through your computer and then getting resent right back to them. That just creates all sorts of havoc for everyone, so just do everyone a favor and just use headphones.

Number four, look at the camera. I know it's really easy when you have other people talking to you right there on your computer screen to look down at your screen to look at them, but don't – try to look directly in that camera as much as possible. That's especially true if the interview is being recorded. Then people feel like you're actually looking at them, making eye contact with them rather than always staring down like this. How would you like it if I just looked at you guys like this the whole time? It just wouldn't feel very nice.

Number five, if you wear glasses, I would recommend that you wear contacts because a lot of times, the glare from your computer monitor will reflect back into your glasses. It'll be really hard to see your eyes, and that's really – people really connect with you if they can see your eyes, so try to avoid that glare. Also, the same thing is true even if your computer monitor isn't reflecting into your glasses but the lights that you've set up are just kind of passing glare.

Number six, avoid wearing crazy colored patterned shirts and clothing because your webcam probably isn't that crisp to show all the little details, so it just might look like you’re wearing a big mess. I try to stick to plain colored shirts, and I usually go with white because if I wear black, it actually causes the aperture on my camera to automatically adjust and compensate for all the light in the room, which means that it's going to let in a lot more ambient light from the rest of the room but if I wear a white colored shirt or something very bright and have the rest of the lights in the room kind of turned down, then it forces that webcam to adjust accordingly so I'm not way overexposed and in so doing, it really darkens the rest of the room and eliminates a lot of the distraction and makes it much easier for people to focus just on you and in those few B-roll clips you just saw, I promise the lighting in both of those was exactly the same. The only thing I changed was my shirt.

Number seven, make sure you center yourself well in the frame. You don't want a ton of headroom where it's like just your neck and you have all this space up here, but you don't want to be out of it, either, so center yourself well. Get close enough to the camera where people can see your shoulders and your face and not so far back that they can't really see your eyes and all the detail there because of your webcam's quality probably being not that great.

So take that into consideration and for the rest of you guys, I would love to hear your tips, and ideas, and suggestions for how to look good in your webcam for video interviews and Google + hangouts. I actually really love doing Google + hangouts on air and in fact, I do one every month over on the Video Creators channel. I have a blast every month just bringing in people who are way smarter than I am about YouTube into a conversation. We love doing live Q&A, we love reviewing channels of the people who are in the audience, and we just love doing YouTube training and just giving all sorts of advice, and it's all live, totally interactive. If you want to see what that's like, check out the channel at YouTube.com/VideoCreators. Go to our live YouTube training playlist and you can see exactly when our next one is coming up.

You should also subscribe to this channel here at ReelSEO because hopefully sometime in the future, we'll be doing more hangouts with you guys so all these tips we'll get to put into use for you and hopefully you guys would get to put them in use as you talk to us in those hangouts, as well. So subscribe. If this is your first time hanging out, make sure you also check us out at ReelSEO.com for other tips and other ideas and suggestions. We're posting for you guys all throughout the week, and I will see you guys next week for another Creator's Tip video. See you then. Bye.

About the Author -
Tim Schmoyer is the host of ReelSEO's Creator's Tip and the author of "30 Days to a Better YouTube Channel". You can see some of his personal videos on his Family Vlog Channel. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://stebian.com/ Bianca Te Rito

    Hi Tim,

    Thank you for sharing - interesting point re - headphones. I did notice you wearing them in your live hang-out with Kevin and Jason via Video Creators – engaging watch too! Also appreciated the video tip on how to make mass updates to video
    metadata – what I time saver!

    Some “look good on video” tips that come to mind (having spent years in front of and behind the camera) but are often overlooked: Personal grooming for guys! Camera friendly make-up application for women – generally webcam framing is fairly tight so it pays to sweat the small details.

    Vocal, facial and eye muscle warm-ups! Facial tension can look magnified on-screen.

    A clean, clear or tasteful background setting (bedrooms, kitchen sinks, piles of laundry, grimy walls etc) are not ideal for "professional/first impressions" type interviews. Obvious yes – but often overlooked.


  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/grantastic/ Grant Crowell

    Wow, real nice, deleting my comment for no justification! Best you should state your policy of only allowing compliments to please fragile egos and advertisers. (And don't lie like last time about not being responsible for it happening.)

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      you're comment wasn't deleted but was flagged by the community.

  • Frank Burns

    Why Google doesn't link a search term directly to a YouTube (explanatory) video beats me? If I was searching for a #Health product, displaying millions of pages is helpful but not exactly on track. If my keyword was ("Nature's Way") Stress and fatigue Fighter tablets, why not show a 'pre-recorded video' on YouTube, explaining the direct benefits of using this product, with a direct link to the supplier. It would help people find the nearest supplier and store related to their geolocation and #search!

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/grantastic/ Grant Crowell

    Not a good recommendation on the headphones. The reason is that having a pair of headphone cables dangling right down in front of your neck and your shirt is distracting to an audience. That's especially true with a headphones like the one Time is using where there's a strong contract. What I recommend is getting a pair of behind the ear headphones, or even get an earpiece that you can hide in your hair. (Or in Tim's case, his cap.)

  • http://www.youtuberevealed.com/ Casey Zeman

    Tim! Thanks for such a timely post! Awesome advice! I like that I can change the Bandwidth of the video to increase load time and quality...One of my favorite things! :)

  • http://twitter.com/FreeMindGuy Anthony Idle

    Nice tips Tim. I don't know why but I like to have a green plant in the background. Kooky but calming I think.

  • http://www.chipdizard.com/ Chip Dizard

    Good tips Tim. I will surely share them with my audience and your post.