Working from Home- Getting the Camera right

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A number of colleagues have commented how clear my picture is during Teams calls. This is how I achieve a good image.

:rightUse. A. Good. Camera.

Whilst I’ve worked from home part-time for some years now, the pandemic of 2020 led to this becoming full time not just for me, but for all my colleagues as well. Teams meetings from home went from “maybe one a day” to “most of the day” and the webcam was now a solid requirement.

I’d been making do with the built in camera on my laptop but it had a few drawbacks

  1. The picture quality was poor, especially if the lighting wasn’t perfect.
  2. I had to keep my laptop open, not ideal when I’m using multiple external monitors and limited desk space.
  3. I had to talk facing the laptop, no-one wants a profile shot of me talking because I’m looking at another screen.

When the lockdown period started the world and their canines were buying up external webcams, and what was left in stores was expensive or unsuitable. So I looked around to see what I could do with what equipment I already owned. The solution I hit upon was my Canon digital camera. Spotting the market Canon, like many other camera manufacturers, had released USB webcam drivers to allow their devices to be hooked up to your laptop and used in Teams/ Zoom.

With the drivers installed, I was ready to go. I had a good quality image and using a small fold-out tripod could position the camera directly in front of the screen I was using. Only one problem remained, with all the screen real-estate of my external monitors my eyes would wander away from the camera - and often when talking. The solution here was to affix a pair of googly eyes above the camera lens giving me a pseudo face to focus on.

Here is my setup:

My Camera Setup

Summary

  1. Use a good camera. Ideally one you already own.
  2. Make sure you have good lighting, if you can face a window and work in daylight that’s ideal.
  3. Use a good microphone too. But that’s probably another post :)

Thumbnail Image by Joseph Mucira from Pixabay. Camera Photo taken for this post on IT Should Just Work