Eye level

Marcus Ahmad Headshot - Branding Photography

Hi there, I’m Marcus Ahmad a commercial photographer based in Bristol UK. I have been shooting for over 20 years and also spent 7 years as a Senior Lecturer in Fashion and Advertising Photography. My speciality is working with companies to raise their Brand Profile with photography.

Hello everybody.

Hope all is well with you and you are starting to see some light at the end of this tunnel.

So last week I talked about how small changes in lighting can really affect the quality of your video communications. Hopefully you found that information useful.

So, in part 2 we are going to see what improvements can be made as regards to the camera on your PC or camera phone.

And just like the game of snooker it’s all about the angles! 

You can edit text on your website by double clicking on a text box on your website. Alternatively, when you select a text box a settings menu will appear. your website by double clicking on a text box on your website. Alternatively, when you select a text box

Camera Level

With my research hat on, camera level is one area that you can make a massive difference. Yet, I am still noticing some really dreadful video feeds that can be improved easily – is no one reading my posts!!

The camera on your computer has a wide-angle lens, therefore it tends to distort the perspective. The reason for this choice is so it can take in a wide view and without the need to focus.

 So, what can you do?

Get the camera (disguised as a black dot on my laptop) as level as you can with your eyes. 

There you go as simple as that!

Now I know that there are many variations, on the computer, where the camera might be positioned, again on mine, it is sensibly placed on top of the screen.

To help raise the camera here are a couple of items for sale that aren’t too expensive, and in my opinion well worth the investment:

PS I have seen this method to start being used on the BBC News feeds – obviously a memo has gone around!

This one has even got ventilation to aid in cooling of the lap top

Now I know that there are many variations, on the computer, where the camera might be positioned, again on mine, it is sensibly placed on top of the screen.

To help raise the camera here are a couple of items for sale that aren’t too expensive, and in my opinion well worth the investment:

This one has even got ventilation to aid in cooling of the lap top

PS I have seen this method to start being used on the BBC News feeds – obviously a memo has gone around!

And this one looks super solid and you can get it in different colours

***Don’t forget that by putting the lap top at an angle you can also change the angle of view of the camera – helping with getting the alignment right.

Here are three examples to illustrate what I mean:

The camera is low-down and it is certainly not the most flattering view!

By moving it up a mere 20 cms you get a far better perspective on my face and you are not staring up at the ceiling. This is what you should be aiming for.

Now the camera has been moved higher by another 20 cms. It’s an interesting view and not the norm as regards according to my research, but it’s not such a bad option as No.1

it will involve a lot of tidying though as you can see it shows off a lot of the room.

Which rather nicely brings us to.

Up Close and Personal

How close should you be to the camera?

When I am shooting portraits and headshots for my clients, I always like to give them an option whereby I shoot close-up, so they fill the frame, just like in my profile photo at the top of the page.

This is because, when used on LinkedIn, Facebook or lots of other platforms, your profile photo is tiny. And by cropping in tightly the viewer can really see your eyes and connect with you.

It’s why my headshot photos can make you

”stand out from the crowd”

This technique works well with video calls as well. But where it works especially well is when you have a conference meeting and there’s a grid of people vying for attention.

You will find that if you get “up close & personal” you will stand out!

For sure, sometimes it’s good to step back a bit and use more of the room, but make sure you arrange and tidy up. The world is watching!

More on backgrounds in the next post.

Eye Contact

The third thing we are going to talk about is getting good eye contact with the camera. We all know that making good eye contact is so important to connecting with people and to show that you are trustworthy.

Well that notion seems to be blown out the water when it comes to video calls! With people staring off into the distance and worse.

I know it’s not easy but with practice things will improve,

The reason it is difficult is because if you maintain eye contact with somebody via the computer screen, you are not looking at the camera – even though you sort of feel you are!

My way round this is too minimise the screen of the platform you are using and then drag the viewing window to just below the camera position

Hey presto you are now making eye contact with the camera.

OK I can’t resist sharing one more tip before I leave.

If you are using a camera phone for your video call – use the camera in landscape mode, with the long edge on the bottom.

Why? It is much more flattering for your face as there is less camera distortion.

Questions?

Let me know below.

Next time it’s all about the background. Hurrah.

Marcus will be back next week with the third part of this series – You can find out more about Marcus and examples of his work on his website

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *