As we face uncertain times with no end in sight for social distancing, video calls have become the new norm. Be it for work, family catch-ups, quarantinis with the girls or even dates, we are all about the video call. There is no shortage of apps (Skpe, Whatsapp, Facebook, Zoom & Houseparty) so there are no excuses not to do it. However, video calls come with a lot of considerations that normal phone calls don’t have like how do you look and best setup. Sure, one could think given that it’s replacing your normal social activities that the same rules apply. This is not the case! Here, we will give you some hot tips to get the best out of your video call.
We always want to look our best in all types of video calls and one of the biggest factors in this? Lighting. We all know that good lighting can make or break a photo, this is true for videos also. Only difference is, we can’t keep moving around the find the perfect light. Therefore it is vital that you perfect your source of light first. No one wants dark shadows cast upon their face or to be drowned out completely by light. Bad lighting can make you look sick and tired, not what you are after. What lighting does this? Lighting positioned directly behind you (will have a bad effect on video call recipient) and lighting coming from the side. So what’s the best form of light? Natural light from a window behind your laptop (so front facing light). It will brighten your skin and make your eyes pop provided its not directly facing the sun. Of course, this may not be possible given where you live and the layout of your home, so the best alternative? Position a lamp behind your laptop. You still get that front facing source of light so you’ll look gorgeous. As for night time? Don’t try dim lighting, especially when trying to be seductive on date calls. All I can say is shadows and they aren’t attractive.
Of course your source of light will largely determine where you’ll set up your video call. But an important factor to also consider is your background. No one wants to see a messy living room or that you are still in bed, especially on a work call. Bosses want to envisage you in a workspace. These times it is best to have a white, clean and simple background where possible. No busy bookshelves or inappropriate art. However, too sterile an environment will end up looking like a prison so some plants or simple art will do the trick. As for family, friends and dates, you can relax the rules a bit but you still want to look clean and organized with a stylish home. The couch is permissible in these circumstances.
Once you start a video call, you shouldn’t really be getting up and moving around, even on a phone (all that time finding the perfect light and appropriate background goes out the window). So you need somewhere that is comfortable. Especially as you are likely to be sitting/standing there for a while. Sitting cross legged on your bed might be comfy initially, but might become uncomfortable and not great for your posture. So it is important to take in to consideration when selecting the locale of your call along with lighting and background. It is also important to have a drink (water, coffee or alcohol) on hand as well as your charger.
We all know how to work an angle when taking a photo. Shooting from below? Never a good idea! That dreaded double chin appears! Shooting from eye level and above is the way to go. Same rules apply for video calls. Sadly, the default position for laptops is to shoot from below. But never fear! There are ways to counter this problem! The advice that seems so be popular online is to place a stack of books or magazines underneath your laptop. Tom Ford swears by this and he always looks fabulous. This is a quick and easy fix. For phone users, this can be trickier. One recommendation is to get a tripod to avoid holding your phone up for ages. Realistically, I don’t intend on taking that many selfies so I’ll stick to the shooting from above or eye level.
Getting quality video and audio
This seems fairly self explanatory, but how do i achieve this? Being close to your wifi router is the biggest factor here and will influence where you make your video call. Being cut off from a call normally is a pain but imagine being cut off in the middle of an important work meeting, not cool. Nor is having patchy reception with every second word cut out. So think about router position when deciding where to make your video call. Audio is also important. Apparently there is a lot of feedback when using inbuilt microphones and speakers. The best way to avoid this is using headphones with their own inbuilt mics (we all saw everyone using Airpods on the Tiger King reunion ep and that was good enough for broadcast TV). This will also cut out a lot of background noise which no one wants to hear.
Makeup & Hair
Now this is a big one. Because you are working from home, you may feel compelled to not both with makeup. Sure its easy to roll on to a work video chat fresh from bed or out of the shower, but this is not a good look. Especially when your colleagues are used to seeing you made up. In fact, no makeup may make you look washed out and sick, not an image you want to portray. However, it is not necessary to go all out with makeup. Tinted moisturizer may do the trick, add some concealer and mascara if you like. This is a perfect natural look ideal for work video chats. This will also make you feel a bit better better about yourself by maintaining your routine prior to iso life. Similar makeup can worn be for family chats. As for date calls, you could add a touch a bronzer, blusher or illuminizer, just don’t make it too heavy. I know a lot of you may like to go heavy on the eyes or a bold lip for normal date, but this isn’t the time. Purely because no one needs to wear that much make up at home. A natural look is far more relaxed and appropriate for the home setting. If you do want to go all out with makeup and try all the cool trends on Instagram, save it for Houseparty calls with your girlfriends. That is the time to be fabulous and not let iso life slow you down! One cardinal tip for all video calls? Powder! Even if you don’t usually wear powder, the camera can make you look shiny, especially the T-zone so blot and powder people!
As for hair? It’s just as important. It isn’t the time to let your hair get filthy and not wash it. Remember people can see you. However. this doesn’t mean you need to blowdry your hair perfectly everyday, nor straighten it or wave it. For work calls, a simple high pony is perfect. Easy to do, looks good even if your hair is a bit dirty (the wet look) and you won’t fidget with it on calls. If wearing your hair out is what you would normally do, then do it. There are no strict rules. One thing, do not go on work calls with wet hair. You wouldn’t go to work like that so try treating it as you would the office. For all other calls, go with a relaxed look. You are at home so why would you have perfectly styled hair? For a date, put some effort in but I personally think it looks a bit weird if you have heavily styled hair. As stated above, embrace a natural look whatever your hair type, straight, wavy or curly. Or you could do my favourite which, I do even when not in iso. Messy and textured. It is stylish and just a bit sexy. On the other hand, if you want to be fabulous, you can go all out on video calls with friends and do your hair however you want. It’s completely up to you. Casual or styled. Your choice. No one will judge. It’s iso time after all! One tip though no matter the situation? Dry shampoo will be your best friend.
What To Wear
Finally, one of the biggest questions we ask ourselves at the best of times, what should I wear? Iso life is no different. Sure it is tempting to stay in pyjamas or activewear all day long, but, it’s not good for your mental health. It is good to try and maintain your routine from pre-iso life to gain a sense of normality so I would suggest getting dressed as you usually would, especially for work. Also, going to a work call in your pyjamas is not very professional. Sure it is fine to wear something relaxed on the bottom half, but up top, try and stick your normal work wardrobe. Shirts (maybe a cool print) and jumpers are acceptable, jacket is not necessary. What is not acceptable are off the shoulder tops and sleeveless tops as you don’t want to look naked.
For family calls, anything casual works but trying sprucing it up with some cool accessories like earrings, hair clips or a headband. Now for a date, be it with someone new or a partner, a wrap top is always flattering and just a bit sexy. Sure, it isn’t that fashion forward but it does the trick. However, I do like being fashion forward and creating a strong sartorial impression so I’d rather go for something bold like puff sleeves, frills, shoulder details, beautiful draping or even a cool brand t-shirt like Gucci, Dior and D & G. We have plenty of amazing tops available to hire on The Volte which would be perfect for a virtual date, be it your first or 50th. For a catch-up with the girls or a virtual party? Like make-up, I think it’s the time to go all out. Wear something fabulous like a sparkly dress or something with a stunning print (think Zimmermann). Unlike work calls, it is a possibility that you will get up and dance so tracksuit pants won’t work. Make the effort. It will make you feel better about yourself and like you have some control over this crazy situation.
So I think we have covered the basics for video calls. The setup and how you look, very important. But the rest is up to you. Remember not to get too comfortable and blur boundaries on work calls. Always pay attention to what you are doing because it is there for everyone to see. Other than that, have fun with it and stay in contact with your loved ones in these challenging times.