How To Look Your Best on Zoom


Skylar Penland

Here is a good example of all of my advice below: mirror effect, good lighting, simple background, hair down.

Online learning is something relatively new for all of us. We are still adjusting and figuring out how to make this new setting feel as normal as possible. Here are some tips to help you look and feel your best on Zoom.

1. Settings can make a big difference in your appearance. Zoom usually has lots of options ranging from virtual backgrounds to an appearance-enhancing filter. These can all be found on Zoom’s Help Center

However, Central disabled many of these options for us. My main advice for settings is to make sure the “mirror effect” is on. This flips our camera so everyone sees us how we are used to seeing ourselves in mirrors. This can help us feel more comfortable being on camera and more confident in how we look.

2. Lighting is one of the most important things in art and photography, so naturally, this matters on a video chat. I recommend a source of light either directly in front of you in front and slightly above your face. This gives your face the clearest appearance. 

I suggest a combination of both natural and artificial lighting. Natural lighting can be great, but depending on what time of day it is and the angle of your window, it could be blinding, not nearly enough, or the wrong angle. Combining this with a desk lamp can give you a nice balance and still leave you looking great.

“I kind of use both,” said Nico Kiperman, junior. “I have a window next to my desk and I have LED lights that I also turn on.”

LED lights can be great because while they provide additional light to the room, they don’t give too much back lighting. They can also add a little fun to the day as you decide which color to use.

Backlighting is not ideal which is hard because often our desks face walls and the main light is centered behind us. Such lighting makes your face look dark. I use a gooseneck desk lamp as well as my main room light to light my room as well as my face. 

With that said, be sure not to have too much front lighting, because it might make your appearance washed out or ghostly.

3. What is in the background of your screen is also important. Anything too crazy can be distracting to your teachers and peers. Try to make sure nothing in your background is moving. Other than that, most settings are acceptable. I take most of my Zoom calls in my bedroom. 

4. What you are wearing can also make a difference. Anything on your bottom half doesn’t really matter, but tops do. I recommend figuring out what necklines you like best on yourself and prioritizing those shirts or sweaters. Comfort is also an important factor because uncomfortable clothes can distract from learning.

“I usually wear a comfy t-shirt and either leggings or sweatpants,” said Grace Clopton, senior.

Our outfits can also bring a sense of normalcy to online learning. I suggest wearing similar things to what you would wear on a regular school day. This might help you stay more attentive and get more comfortable with online learning.

5. Hair and makeup also come into play. Hair can change the appearance of our face shape, and makeup enhances our natural features. 

For girls, I suggest having your hair down whenever possible. This can help you look more like yourself over video calls. If up, try styles where the rest of your hair can be seen in one way or another like a high bun or side braid. If you choose to have a low ponytail or bun, try pulling out some front strands to frame your face. 

As for makeup, I rarely do any. In my experience the quality of the chromebook camera isn’t good enough to pick up on too many details anyway. However some students feel that makeup makes their features pop more on the screen.

“I usually wear pink eyeshadow with eyeliner and mascara with gold glitter,” said Angelia Berti, senior.

She suggested the Cherry Blossom eyeshadow pallet from Play Color Eyes specifically. I recommend doing what makes you feel the most comfortable and confident in your appearance.

Boys tend to have a different approach.

“I usually shower before first period and brush out my hair to make sure it looks presentable,” Kiperman said. 

6. Lastly, and most importantly, be confident. Adjusting to video calls is hard and constantly being reminded of what you look like can be distracting, but these steps can help.

“If I feel good in my appearance, it helps my confidence in learning at school,” Berti said. 

Follow these steps or anything else that makes you feel the most confident and you will look great!