A week ago, I co-hosted a live Zoom webinar in honor of Women’s History Month. I practiced the speaker introductions without notes but changed course at the last minute. I chose to read from the teleprompter on my computer screen—with my reading glasses.
Immediately after the show, an email arrived in my inbox from a world-class public speaker and friend with the gentle warning, “I think you should know…” Attached was a screenshot of me with a halo reflected on each lens of my glasses.
That was the moment I declared war on eyeglass glare.
I teach business leaders how to up-level their presence and authority on Zoom, yet I was not practicing what I preach. Instead, I opted for the comfort of being able to read without squinting, even with 24-point type.
Here are some proven tips to avoid excessive glare on your glasses when on video calls. Note the word excessive: unless you wear fashion frames without lenses or work out of a video production studio, some reflection is near impossible to avoid, particularly when working remotely.
These tips combine advice from eyeglass manufacturers, television studio directors, with my own observations.
1. Replace ring lights (or halo lights) with LED panels with diffusers.
Ring lights cast shadows and require lots of fill, not to mention the reflection they cast on your glasses or any reflective surface in your shot. Dimmable LED Panel lights emit softer light that make reflections less noticeable than the telltale circle. A broad light source like a Softbox lighting kit is another affordable solution for studio quality lighting at home.
2. Move your light source so it is angled above head height and to the sides of your face.
Almost all photographs are a record of reflections. A webcam is no different. The camera captures light reflecting off a surface. In photography it is called the Angle of Incidence. When you grasp and practice the general concept, you will be able to angle the light source to reduce the glare. If the light source is sunlight from a window, you may need to lower the shades or block the light with cardboard.
3. Lower the brightness of your computer display screen.
The computer screen is a big source of glare, particularly at night. Dim the screen or attach an anti-glare monitor filter to your display. At night, increase the level of ambient room light to offset the intensity of the glare coming from the computer screen and your video conferencing lighting.
4. Lower the angle of your chin and tilt your glasses.
Do not look at the light. Lower your chin slightly but still make eye-level contact with the camera. You can also lift the earpieces (the temples) a notch to increase the angle of the lenses to the light source.
5. Blue light blocking glasses help your eyes but do not improve your appearance on camera.
Computer screens give off blue light which causes eye strain and can be damaging to your eyes in the long term. Blue light blocking lenses do the job to shield your eyes from damaging blue light rays but reflect grey or blue on video. In short, they may be good for your eyes but not good for your appearance on Zoom.
6. Experiment with new anti-glare lens technology.
Some eyeglass manufacturers tout new non-glare technology that helps protect your eyes and keeps lenses glare-free on video calls. Anti-reflective (AR) coatings can be applied when you buy glasses or to ones you already own. But note that they are still fairly new when it comes to video conferencing. I plan to check them out and will write an update to this article.
7. Practice, test. and consider contact lenses.
One of the keys to looking good on a video call is to practice and test. Experiment with different light configurations. Record yourself in a variety of setups and find what works so that you can show up as your absolute best. If you are still having trouble managing your glasses on the screen, you may want to consider making the move to contacts.