How to use Light to Look Your Best on Your Next Video Conference, According to Tom Ford3 min read

how to light to look your best on video tom ford
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If there’s one person who knows how to use light to make people look good on camera, it’s Tom Ford, and he gave “a masterclass in lighting” to the New York Times to help journalist Maureen Dowd ahead of a FaceTime interview with comedian Larry David.

Here’s what Ford recommended:

Put the computer up on a stack of books so the camera is slightly higher than your head. Say, about the top of your head. And then point it down into your eyes. Take a tall lamp and set it next to the computer on the side of your face you feel is best. The lamp should be in line with and slightly behind the computer so the light falls nicely on your face. Then put a piece of white paper or a white tablecloth on the table you are sitting at, but make sure it can’t be seen in the frame. It will give you a bit of fill and bounce. And lots of powder, et voila!

1. Getting the camera slightly above your head.

Have you ever noticed how monsters are filmed in horror movies? They’re almost always shot from low, looking up. It’s not a great look. Having the camera slightly above your head will help keep your head in a natural position, and allow the light to naturally fill your face.

2. Find a tall lamp and place it on your "good" side, but behind the computer.

This will be the dominant light, so you want to make sure it’s featuring your best side. You should avoid anything too bright or harsh. Having the light behind your computer will help bring out the softer light.

3. Filling the bottom of your face with light using something white

This is a great tip. You are essentially adding something in front of you to help light bounce off the table and back onto your face to help eliminate shadows. If you don’t own a reflector, just grab a large piece of white paper, or a white sheet and put it in front of the computer, but out of the eye of the camera. You might need to adjust your desk lamp to get the perfect look, but with this setup, you should be lit really well and almost ready to go live.

4. Last Looks

On movie and TV sets, just before the cameras start rolling, they call for last looks, where the makeup department runs in and does last minute touch ups to the talent. Well, now you’re the talent. Get yourself some translucent setting powder, and put a little bit on your forehead, nose, and chin, or anywhere else you tend to be oily. And yes, guys should do this too! No one will notice it on you, but it will smooth out your skin and give you a nice soft appearance on camera.

Thanks for the tips, Tom!

Most conferencing software has filters you can use, but using these easy tips and NO filters will help you stand out.

Now that you look your best, check out our 9 Beginner Tips to Get Anyone Started with Live Streaming.

If you have any other tips, we’d love to hear them in the comments.

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