By Aasha Amber Bhatnagar
Boston University has recently become “Zoom University.”
The Terriers are now the “Quaran-terriers,” we can show up to “class” wearing whatever we want and we can tune into lectures live from our beds. As someone from the West Coast, my 8 a.m.’s have recently become 5 a.m.’s, and the last thing I want to do is get up and ready for class at that hour.
If you do want to put some effort into how you look — given that our classmates can still see us — here are some of my top tips on how to look as fashionable as possible on Zoom, the online education platform BU will be using.
Style tips: Get ready waist-up
When you’re going to school online, you have the luxury of being able to control how much of you is seen on the webcam. And lucky for you, wearing sweatpants with anything is a huge perk of online school.
Now, you only have to put in half the effort when getting ready in the morning. Fool your entire class into believing you’re a put-together style queen by only getting waist-up ready. Throw on your best blouse or cutest sweater and pair that with some comfy sweatpants or pajama bottoms.
Voila! Nobody will ever know you didn’t even bother with half your look.
Lighting tips: How to look glowy on your webcam
Macbooks tend to have a pretty low camera quality, so it can be challenging to channel a Vogue model on Zoom.
However, after taking one photojournalism class and some BUTV10 workshops, I discovered a hack to look like I just walked out of a photoshoot: turn off the overhead lighting in your room, placing a table lamp behind your laptop or desktop, keeping it at eye-level. This will eliminate all harsh shadows.
You can also take advantage of natural lighting by opening all the windows in front of your work area, but be sure to close the ones behind you to keep the over-exposure at bay. Indirect light works best for your complexion, tricking your classmates into thinking you have perfect skin.
Angle tips: To make your bone structure look fabulous
Don’t be that person who holds their phone below their chin like a Facebook mom. You all know what I mean.
The best angle for a webcam is directly at eye-level, just like for lighting. And another pro-tip I learned as a broadcast journalist is something called the “rule of thirds.”
Think of your background like a tic-tac-toe grid that divides your frame into nine squares. Angle yourself in your camera so that your eyes hit the top-most horizontal line, making you look your best in front of your classmates — sans double chins.
Backdrop tips: No distractions
Remember that guy who did an online interview and his children and wife came crashing through the door with their toys? Don’t be that guy.
Set up your camera to face a nice, clean area with no distractions. White walls are always a good backdrop, but if your back is facing the general space of your room, just make sure it’s tidy. Feel free to keep your dog in the frame, though. Everyone loves dogs.
None of us were expecting our $75,000 tuition to go to online school and witness every social event of the season canceled, but I’ve made the best of it by ensuring my classmates see me at my best in some trendy fashion, good lighting and picture-worthy backgrounds.