How to look and sound better on camera

Keeping your camera settings consistent is key to looking your best on camera. If you’re not sure what the proper settings should be, I’ll gladly help you out. You can always call or text me at (310) 838-4968 if you need help.

One of the most common fears when it comes to taking a family photo is how your face looks in the photos. You want the photo to look beautiful and professional, but you don’t want to make a fool of yourself. It’s a common fear, but let’s face it, no one is perfect. There are a lot of photos of celebrities that look downright embarrassing, and you want that from your family photos. Here are a few things that will help you look better in the camera.

If you’ve watched even a few TV or movie scenes, you know that today’s modern-day movie stars look and sound better than ever. A lot of that has to do with the very latest in technology—and we’re not just talking about the latest in cams and lenses. Of course, most actors and actresses would probably rather not discuss these details with the public. But there are some things you can do to make sure your camera-ready looks and voice are top-notch.

CNN —  

For many of us, video conversations have become the norm, and although nothing can replace being face-to-face with your coworkers, you’ll likely have more productive meetings if you don’t look and sound like you’re in a bunker every time you log on.

Fortunately, there are a number of minor changes you can make to your work-from-home setup to improve your appearance and sound on calls without having to invest in a lot of costly equipment. Many of these suggestions will also help you improve your video production skills on sites like Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok. Here are some fast adjustments and suggestions from the pros to help you appear and sound more alive in front of the camera, from perfecting your lighting to getting the most of your audio system.


CNN/Mike Andronico

Almost all laptop cameras are terrible, resulting in video conversations where people are recorded at unattractive angles with poor, blotchy quality. The good news is that you have some control over the first component, and by investing in a camera, you can solve the second issue.

When you attend a meeting on a laptop at desk level, it’s likely looking directly at your lower chin, which isn’t how someone would view you if you were both in the same conference room. That’s why we suggest using a laptop stand, like this popular and inexpensive Nulaxy one, to hold up your computer. It’ll work with just about any laptop up to 17 inches. If you’re old-school, you could also use a stack of books.

However, if you really want to stand out on video conversations, we suggest investing in a standalone camera. These cameras are much superior than the ones integrated into your laptop, and they can be placed almost anywhere — even on top of your display or on a tripod — to help you find a clear, natural perspective. The Logitech C920S is the finest webcam we tested because of its outstanding image quality and simplicity of use, but if you’re on a budget, the Microsoft LifeCam HD would suffice.



Good lighting can help you be seen clearly during an important meeting or broadcast, whether you’re using your laptop’s camera or a standalone webcam. If your workspace has windows, sit in front of them if at all feasible. This will enable natural light to beam straight on you, making you seem bright and alive.

If you don’t have access to natural light, a low-cost ring light will quickly fix the issue. These circular lights, which have become popular among content producers, are small enough to fit on most workstations and can even be connected to your phone for people who want to make video chats from their phone.

With excellent illumination quality and a highly adjustable tripod that can stretch up to 50 inches, the Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light is the best ring light we tested. If you need something smaller, the Whellen Selfie Ring Light, with its various illumination settings and ability to slip neatly into a pocket or handbag, is our favorite portable choice.

“You can make a cheap camera seem so much better if you light yourself properly,” says Correy “MC Fixer” Spearman, a Twitch and YouTube video producer. “You don’t have to go out and spend a lot of money. You’ll be OK if you just light a camera properly.”



While you may get away with a bad camera (or no camera at all) in a virtual conference, excellent audio is crucial. If you insist on using your laptop’s built-in microphone, make sure you’re sitting as near to your computer as possible, and that you’re in a calm environment.

Dedicated microphones, on the other hand, provide a substantial improvement in voice quality over the built-in microphone on your laptop, and may help you seem more present and professional. Even inexpensive mics like the $35 FIFINE K669B, our choice for the finest budget microphone, provided a significant improvement over our MacBook Pro mic, with powerful and rich voice recordings that rivaled microphones twice the price. The $129 Blue Yeti is our choice for the finest microphone overall, and it was a longstanding favorite of Spearman’s.

While these mics sound excellent, you’ll need to correctly position them to obtain the greatest sound quality.

“You want a lot of space between you and the microphone because no one wants a microphone like this” — he points to a microphone covering his face — “when you’re talking,” Spearman adds. “You want them to see your face,” says the narrator. So the gain must be low enough so it just picks up you, but it must also be far enough away…usually about [the length of a] hand.”

Many microphones, like the K669B and Blue Yeti, feature adjustable gain, allowing you to fine-tune how much sound is captured. This option may be increased to make oneself louder, but it will also bring in a lot of undesirable background noise. As a result, keeping your gain low while positioning your microphone just near enough to your lips will enable you to capture your voice as clearly and naturally as possible.

Finding a peaceful place to make a video call or capture some video can help you sound better. Of course, if you live on a loud street — or if you work from home with children and dogs creating mayhem in the background — this is easier said than done. Fortunately, every room can be made a little more soundproof with a few little adjustments.

Because sound tends to bounce off hard, exposed surfaces like walls and windows, covering your work space with soft materials can help minimize any unwanted echo.

I’m all set to record the next episode of my podcast.

March 29, 2021 — Danny Pea (@godfree)

“The more things you have in the room, the less audio echo you will have,” explains Danny Pea, presenter of the popular video game podcast “Gamertag Radio.” “You can’t hear it in your ear, but the microphone can easily pick it up.”

Pea utilizes Elgato Wave Panels, a collection of hexagonal pieces of foam that you can attach to your wall to absorb sound and make your room less of an echo chamber, in addition to maintaining a carpet on the floor. A $99 Starter Set includes six panels, as well as the frames, screws, and adhesives needed to install them — but you may not need the additional foam for a quieter working environment. If you need to capture audio for a presentation or film in a hurry, for example, the answer is already in your house.

“I often tell folks who want to start recording podcasts or simply produce video that the closet is the best place to do it,” Pea adds. “It [decreases] the echo since everything is wrapped by clothing there.”


CNN/Michael Nuez

When you use your computer’s speakers to take a conference call, your mic is likely to pick up the whole conversation and produce a terrible echo if you aren’t muted. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem that can’t be solved simply plugging in a set of headphones or earbuds to your computer or Mac.

Don’t have any good headphones on hand? We found the EarFun Air to be the finest work-from-home earbuds on a budget, with clear sound and a good microphone for accepting calls. If you want to spend a little more on a good set of over-ear headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM4 are our top pick for working from home. They have great noise cancellation and help you concentrate better in meetings.

Using a specialized set of earphones or headphones can enable you to hear your coworkers better, in addition to removing any extraneous noise. What are the chances? You may even begin to pay attention to those long performance reports.

This may seem obvious, but having a dirty room behind you while taking an important video call or beginning a broadcast is never a good idea. We suggest keeping your background clutter-free (please make your bed), but there’s nothing wrong with displaying your individuality via décor.

📸 I’m very pleased with how my setup has turned out.

— April 8, 2021, MC Fixer (@MCFixer)

Spearman, for example, works out of his bedroom but dresses it up with Ikea shelves, LED lighting, and his collection of games and consoles.

“There’s nothing fancy here,” Spearman adds, “but you can make it seem as fancy as you want it to, and it’s all about getting your personality through to the best of your ability.”

You may always use virtual backdrops if your work environment isn’t particularly camera-friendly (or if you simply want to have some fun). Virtual backdrop choices are available in almost every major videoconferencing service (including Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams), allowing you to replace your IRL background with a peaceful nature image, a humorous meme picture, or anything else you choose.



There’s a high possibility you already have everything you need to appear and sound better on Zoom calls. It’s all about understanding how to utilize your equipment correctly — and recognizing when it’s time to move up if you’re doing more serious presentations or creating content.

“Nine times out of ten, you already have the tools you need right at home,” Spearman adds. “How you utilize that equipment and how you use it properly to begin this journey, particularly for content creation,” says the author.

Spearman began filming using an iPod Touch and has now progressed to a professional-looking setup that includes a Sony A7 III camera and an Elgato Wave:3 microphone. The London-based designer, who has appeared on big gaming sites such as IGN and GameStop, says his setup enables him to feel prepared for any situation.

“Every time you join a Zoom call or a conference, people say, ‘You’re the one who looks terrible or the camera’s all a little fuzzy.’ Spearman warns, “You don’t want to be that person.” “I know my camera is nearly as excellent as what they use in their studio, so I might be welcomed on ‘Jimmy Fallon’ tomorrow. As a result, I’m not going to stand out.”

Pea, who has featured on big networks and channels such as Telemundo, Cheddar, and Kinda Funny, and is a Podcast Hall of Fame member, offers similar advise on beginning small.

“At first, buy everything you can afford. And, as I already said, master your trade, dude. Then you’ll gradually upgrade,” he adds. “It doesn’t matter to me what others can see or hear as long as they can see or hear you.”

The first thing you hear about a new camera is “take a good picture, move around a lot.” That first tip is sound advice, but it doesn’t tell you what to do with the resulting image. A good photographer will know how to use the camera to take a great image, but a great photographer will know how to edit a photo as well. After all, the best shot you’ll ever take is the first one.. Read more about how to make it look like you are looking at the camera on zoom and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my camera look good and sound?

This is a difficult question to answer, as there are many factors that can affect the quality of your camera. If you want to make sure your camera looks good and sounds good, try using a tripod or some other stabilizing device.

How can I make my video call sound better?

Unfortunately, the video call quality is not something that can be changed.

How do I look good on webcam?

You can look good on webcam by wearing clothes that are flattering to your body type. Make sure youre not wearing anything too tight or too revealing, and avoid bright colors.

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