Have you had your Zoom makeover? Just like every other person and business, Real Life Style has learned how to operate virtually over the last year. From the blog to our personal styling and corporate style presentation clients, all of our work can now be done online.
Of course, I know How to Look Good on Zoom with regards to clothing, hair, and makeup. But I was still struggling with my tech and Zoom environment until recently. How embarrassing is that?! Keep reading for what I tried, what worked, what didn’t, and where I am now.
Real Life Style Office – Before the Zoom Makeover
See above the Real Life Style office before the Zoom makeover. I thought it was just my tech that needed a makeover. Turned out it was the entire office!
The First Try
The number one reason I needed a Zoom makeover was that my computer webcam was not high-quality enough. My virtual Wear Your Power corporate style presentations and monthly Look Good Feel Better style presentations were not as sharp as I wanted. So, I purchased a good quality external webcam and problem solved. Right? Nope. Yes, my picture became amazingly clear and the webcam was really easy to use. Unfortunately though, the color swatches I use in my Look Good Feel Better presentation were not showing up accurately. And I still looked like I was working in a shadowy cave, not a soothing lavender den. As an aside, I paid $124.99 for the webcam above, which is now $74.99.
Despite my new webcam, streaks of light and shadows were appearing on me from the side. The chandelier (that was so cool until Zoom happened to me) was reflecting in my glasses. First things first, I moved the desk from perpendicular to parallel with the window. This is the only source of natural light in the room, which would now be where it should, behind my computer screen. I had avoided this move in the past because it didn’t allow Kyle room to work on her side of the desk. A global pandemic later, I had to admit that she is probably now fully ensconced in her new home office or out and about with me—not sitting on the other side of the desk. Sniff, sniff….
I also purchased the above Lightweight Mini Webcam Tripod to move the camera around separately from my computer. Wondering why I am not using the ring light I already own? Because it reflects in my glasses no matter how much I move it around. I do use it to photograph clothing and jewelry though!
Now that I vanquished the weird shadows on my face and lightbulbs reflecting in my glasses, I went in search of more light because my colors were still not accurate. Our star intern suggested we try warmer lightbulbs (pays to have lighting experts in the family!). Bulbs which are 2700K (the K stands for Kelvin) were exactly what I needed.
Were things better? Absolutely! They were sooo much better. If I wasn’t a personal stylist with a particular presentation that relies on accurate colors, I probably could have stopped there. But I am, so more drastic action was needed.
The Second Try!
Yep. I bought a new computer. I was finally ready to get a smaller computer that is more portable, and one of my kids needed my bigger computer. Both my son and I exercised great patience while we were waiting for the computer to be built and shipped. It was more than worth the wait! The clarity of the camera is just as good as the external one I had purchased. At least it looks like it to me!
More light! I traded out my little lamps for two giant ones with better lightbulbs. What a difference! And I even like how they look in the room. In fact, I’m wondering why this didn’t occur to me years ago. Oh I know, it didn’t occur to me at all. An interior designer (see paragraph below) gave me the advice. Hire an expert, people! 😉
At one point I realized that the greyish lavender paint I loved so much was a major cause of my Zoom color issues. The cool paint was fighting with the natural light from the window and the warm light bulbs in my fixtures. Not to mention I had used the decorator trick of painting the ceiling the same color, adding another nail in my lighting coffin. A white ceiling and a fresh coat of a different shade of lavender paint have made an incredible difference. Annie Elliott, the interior designer with whom I consulted on my recent paint color choices, was insistent that I (and all families with young kids) use Benjamin Moore’s Aura Interior Paint – Matte for its durability and washability. Yes, it costs more than other paint. But in the long run I will save money by gaining an extra few years out of this paint job. Stress too, because as much as I hate seeing my kids fingerprints on the walls, I refuse to constantly tell them not to touch the walls, which is what I heard growing up.
The Real Life Style Office – After the Zoom Makeover
Ta da! Color issues solved. I may still need to add an outlet to the back of the room in order to get more light, but things are much better than they were.
The above picture is how the RLS office looks as I type this blog at the desk. The question is, how long can I keep it this beautiful and empty?
Painting the office was part of a larger home renovation project in which we painted and replaced the baseboards and wood floors (aren’t they pretty?) in most of our apartment. The Real Life Style office is the only room where we replaced carpet with wood. There are a few other awesome additions and changes to the office, but I’ll save them for the full before and after blog!
Have you had to change your physical space for Zoom? Let us know in the comments below!
Real Life Style is a style consulting firm that teaches busy women to wear their power so they can live their lives fully and confidently. Lani Inlander and Kyle Dunphy are based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and serve clients across the country. We offer personal styling services, an on-demand e-course, corporate services, and training to become a personal stylist.
You can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.