Have you recently been on a call where the other person is sat with a window behind them and all you see is a silhouette? Or have you seen someone with the opposite problem: the window is behind their screen, and all you can see is a bright glow where the person should be?

Making sure that you can easily be seen is as fundamental to good virtual presenting as speaking clearly. The best way to achieve this is to use a simple three-point lighting technique, which can be done with a window and a couple of lamps.

Sit facing the window so that it is just off to your right or your left, and you will get some light on your face. That is your “key” light.

Add a second light, a table lamp or a floor lamp on the opposite side to the window.  That is your “filler” light.

Put a light behind you. It could be a light on the wall or another lamp. Position it so that it gives a highlight on your hair or back of your head.  That is your “halo” light.

  • The key light lifts your face.
  • The filler light relieves shadow on the other side.
  • The halo light gives you some separation from the background.

Our phones have really powerful cameras these days. Webcams are getting better all the time, so you don’t need to invest in special lightboxes and many of the other clever gadgets that you can buy on line. A little simple lighting will dramatically improve the visual results you’ll get.

The last thing you want your viewers to worry about is actually seeing you.  Make that simple for them and suddenly they can relax and start to be influenced by what you say, your eye contact and your gestures.

So remember: key, filler and halo. Window, lamp and lamp. Congratulations – you’re ready for your close up!


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