Background check


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.

This is going to be the last in the series about how to improve your video conferencing calls. So, no more looking at photos of me staring miserably into the camera!

That’s got to be some good news, surely.

In this article we are going to delve into backgrounds and some of the different options available from some of the platforms.

Just like the camera settings and getting the most out of the light, small differences can make a huge change to your appearance and presence on screen.

So, lets dive straight in there and look at the options on offer

Zoom

You can not only change the background in ZOOM, with some standard options, but you can also add your own background as well!

Go to settings – virtual background – choose – plus sign.

There you have it, you can upload still images or even videos.

I made my background up in photoshop, you could use Canva or Illustrator. I have a few. One with my company logo, another with some of my portfolio images

Use according to taste!

There is an option for a green screen and also for the video to be mirrored. In which case you will need to mirror the background if using a logo or text. 

Just a word of advice, wear dark colours or you may find that you become part of the background, which is far from ideal, oh and don’t move around too much. Especially if you don’t have a strong wi-fi signal.

Skype

They seem to have fallen out of favour of late, but I am still a fan. The interface is fairly intuitive and I think the screen quality is better than most.

Skype’s USP in the background department is a little switch found in video settings that allows you to blur the background. Just like those fancy camera phones.

I like the blur function, it looks good and is easy to use. It has a slight luxury feel to it and also the skin tone is much better than zoom, well I think.

Tidy the room

Or at least the part that is being shown by the camera. Watch out for plants and objects sticking out from behind your head. Here’s a clip taken from an interview I recently did. And I was careful to set up so that was nothing to distracting behind me.

I have noticed people like to have a bookshelf behind them, no doubt to add some gravitas. I am not sure about that I just find I start reading the book titles instead of listening to the interview. But that’s probably just me.

Any questions?

This was the final part of this series of guest posts by photographer Marcus Ahmad- You can find out more about Marcus and examples of his work on his website

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