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What Is The Best Background for Video Conferencing?

Published on April 7, 2022 • Updated on April 26, 2022 • About 7 min. read

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Whether you’re prepping for an interview or representing your company’s values in client-facing video calls, picking the best background for video conferencing will make a great impression.

And it’s not superficial to want to look good on video calls. You’ll feel more confident and impress clients and colleagues if you look the part with a stylish video conferencing set-up.

But how do you perfect your WFH backdrop with the best wall color and lighting? And which images are best for virtual backgrounds? This guide has all the tips you need.

Why is the video background important on video conferencing calls?

It’s estimated that around 40.7 million American professionals will be working entirely remotely within 5 years, according to research by Upwork.

With that many people in remote roles, it’s clear that video conferencing isn’t just a quick fix for working through a pandemic. It’s part of many people’s daily professional lives. So, it’s time to up the ante when it comes to your video call backdrop.

Here are some benefits of improving your video conference background:

  • Be more professional. You’ll make a better first impression without dirty dishes or laundry hanging in the background.
  • Protect your privacy. Taking video calls at home can feel very personal, especially if your desk is in your bedroom.
  • Reduce distractions. Chaotic coffee shops, wandering pets, and misbehaving children can be major distractions during video conferencing calls.
  • Express yourself. People only ever get to see 50% of your outfit on a video call, so your background is another way to express your personal style.
  • Reflect your brand. Your background says something about the culture of your business. If you have a large bookshelf behind you, you may come across as academic and authoritative, while plants and candles can make you seem more approachable.
A bright, stylish room with an orange chair and multiple large leafy plants.

Virtual background vs home office background - which is the best?

In this guide, you’ll find tips for choosing the right virtual background as well as creating a good physical background for your home office. But which is best?

Home office background

If you have the time and resources to redecorate, curating your real home office background is the best option for you. You’ll have more freedom to express your style and create a comfortable, calm environment to inspire you at work.

Virtual background

Virtual backgrounds are best for people who have limited resources and renters who don’t have a dedicated home office or the option to redecorate. They’re also a good choice for digital nomads and people who use co-working spaces because you can use them to instantly reduce distractions in any environment.

How to create the perfect home office backdrop for videos?

When you meet people face-to-face, you take informational cues about their appearance that inform the impression you have of them. Video calls give you an insight into other people’s lives, so those informational cues will include the colors and objects in the background.

When you stage your webcam background, consider what informational cues you’re providing and how they’ll inform the judgments people make about you.

home office computer setup

Pro tip: If you’re worried that it’s overkill to stage your background, don’t be! It’s actually pretty common: 40% of survey respondents admitted to staging their Zoom backgrounds in a recent study by Signs.com (and if you stage your Livestorm background, we applaud you).

4 top tips for improving your video call background

  1. Check your surroundings. Tidy up your mess and move any personal belongings that you wouldn’t want a client or colleague to see.
  2. Position your camera properly. Nobody likes a nostril view. Position your camera at eye level (or just above) and make sure only your head and shoulders are in shot.
  3. Pick the right wall color. Choose a flattering wall color that reflects your professional personality. More on wall color below.
  4. Make sure your lighting is right. If you want to know how to look good on video calls, the answer is professional lighting. More on lighting later.

What are the best wall colors for your background?

The best wall color for video conferencing is calming, and flattering to your skin tone. Try neutral shades like

  • cream
  • light grays and blues
  • khakis and beiges

The colors you choose for your home office video conference background should reflect your brand. It’s best to keep walls neutral. But if you prefer more vibrant shades, you can always add small pops of color with a plant pot, ornament, or throw.

Neutral color palette

Pro tip: when choosing the best wall color for your video call background, steer clear of unflattering colors like neon shades, black, or very bright oranges, greens, and reds.

What is the best lighting for video calls?

The best lighting for Zoom calls (or even better, Livestorm calls) is bright, natural daylight. But sometimes you need a little help from artificial light too.

Try one of the following video conferencing lighting kits:

  • Ring light (for flattering lighting). The Elgato Ring Light comes with a circular LED bulb that distributes light more evenly onto your face without harshness or flickers. With the Elgato light, you can adjust the warmth and brightness to get the effect you want.
  • Clamp light (for lighting that doesn’t get in the way). Try the Neewer W64 Video Conferencing Lighting kit, which comes with a palm-sized LED light, small enough to clip to your laptop or desktop screen. It also has a remote control for adjusting the brightness from your seat.
Use of ring light for video confference

How to pick the perfect virtual background for video conferencing?

Ever heard of a Zoom shirt? Of course, we call it a Livestom shirt: it’s that smart outer layer you keep nearby or wear with your pajama pants when you need to look presentable for a video call (hey, we get it: wearing comfy clothes when you work from home helps you think).

Like a smart shirt, a virtual background is a quick, simple way to look more professional. You can just throw it on over whatever you’ve got going on already.

But video conferencing virtual backgrounds come in all shapes and sizes. And you can even add your own images. So how do you choose a great image for your virtual background?

Let’s dig deeper.

What is the best virtual background for video conferencing?

The best virtual backgrounds for video calls are simple, stylish, and keep the focus on you. When choosing your background, look out for:

  • Neutral colors
  • Calming scenes
  • Simple designs

What to avoid with a background image?

Your virtual background should never distract from the call or be unflattering. Be careful to avoid:

  • Busy patterns
  • Clashing colors
  • Moving elements
  • Backgrounds the same color as your clothing

Examples of great video conferencing background images

Like your home office, virtual background images are a chance to express your professional personality and communicate your business values. Choose the right image to make a strong first impression.

What is the best background for a virtual interview?

In a virtual interview, opt for a background that represents your professional character. Scenic virtual backgrounds like landscapes, bookshelves, or sports fields will communicate your interests and may provide a talking point to break the ice in meetings. But think carefully about what your choice says about you.

What is the best background for a client call?

The best virtual background for client-facing calls is one that’s customized with your company branding. Minimalist office spaces can also be aesthetically appealing and professional.

Minimalist decor looks professional and calming.

What is the best background for an online class?

If you’re an instructor leading online classes, you should aim to minimize distractions with your virtual background. Try a blurred background or a block color, as these simple solutions will help keep the class focused on you.

Pro tip: Avoid using novelty backgrounds during external calls and virtual events where it’s your responsibility to represent your company’s values.

If you need inspiration, download free virtual backgrounds from Livestorm’s image library. There are over 100 virtual background images to choose from.

Should I use a green screen for video conferencing?

Sometimes virtual backgrounds can be glitchy, especially if you’re wearing very similar colors to your background or if you need to move around a lot during your call.

You can make virtual backgrounds slicker by using a green screen, which is a green backdrop that makes it easier for your video call software to differentiate between what needs to stay in shot and what’s going to have effects laid over it.

Pro tip: Green screens are especially useful when working with ASL interpreters who need to ensure their gestures can be clearly seen.

But green screens aren’t the best option for everyone. They’re large, cost money, and look terrible when you’re not using a virtual background.

If you’re expecting to host large virtual events and have the space and the budget for a green screen, go for it. Otherwise, these tips will help you avoid glitchy virtual backgrounds:

  • Make sure you are well lit
  • Choose a background that doesn’t match your clothes
  • Minimize hand gestures and physical props

The verdict on your video conferencing background

Now you know how to stage the perfect background for your video calls, what lighting to use, and which colors will make you look great and feel professional.

If you don’t have the time and money to revamp your home office, you can add a virtual background instead. Virtual backgrounds are a quick, easy fix for anyone whose WFH background might be a little chaotic, and for digital nomads who hop between busy co-working spaces.

Remember, your video conferencing background communicates your personality and company values. It should look appealing, be professional, and reflect your brand.

Frequently asked questions about backgrounds for video conferencing

What’s the best background for Zoom classes?

The best virtual background for Zoom or Livestorm classes is a block color or blurred background. These backgrounds protect the privacy of the instructor and keep the class focused on them throughout.

Tidy, well-lit home offices, bookshelves, lecture theaters, and classrooms are also good options for real backdrops to your virtual classes.

What are the best free virtual backgrounds for video conferencing?

Livestorm’s virtual background library contains over 100 professional images, including outdoor landscapes, stylish living rooms, attractive offices, and party themes. Download virtual backgrounds for free from Livestorm.

Is there a best wall color for a video conferencing background?

The best wall color for video conferencing is any calm, neutral shade that flatters your skin tone and looks professional. Try creams, beiges, khakis, and light shades of blue or pink. Alternatively, you could skip the paint job and download virtual backgrounds for free from Livestorm.

Pattern Pattern

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