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Watch Your Background

Frame Yourself

Now we come to how you look in the picture – that is, how the subject is framed.

One of the big mistakes people make sitting either too close to or too far away from the webcam. Both approaches result in suboptimal picture.

Sit too close to the webcam, and you can frighten people. A big close up of your mouth and nose is quite distracting; you need to let the subject “breathe” a bit onscreen.

Figure 3 Don’t sit too close to the webcam.

Sit too far away from the webcam, and you’re too small in the picture. The viewer sees too much of the background (which is worse if it’s cluttered) and not enough of you.

Figure 4 Don’t sit too far away from the webcam.

Ideally, you want to show the subject’s full head, neck, and the top of the shoulders. If you can read the writing on your tee shirt, you’re sitting too far away. If the top of your head is cut off, you’re sitting too close.

Figure 5 Better framing – head and shoulders.

You also need to pay attention to how the subject is framed. In a non-widescreen picture, center the subject in the frame. But if you have a widescreen webcam, centering the subject wastes space on the sides and is esthetically unappealing. It’s better to consider what photographers call the “rule of thirds” and position the subject about a third of the way to either the left or right side of the frame. It just looks better.

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