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Studio Sessions #8: Optimizing your webcam settings for video meetings

Candice Evans

With just a few simple adjustments and tricks, you can easily improve the quality and professionalism of your next video meeting

In a previous Studio Sessions post, we wrote about how to look your best on camera during web conferences. Here we’ll go into a little more depth on how to optimize your webcam settings and make a better impression.

The majority of these instructions are for PCs. While Macs have a built-in camera, to adjust the settings you need to use a third-party program as there is no internal tool. This article from Macworld provides guidance on how to work with your Mac cameras.

Also, while this post focuses on Webex and Zoom, you can make these same adjustments on other conferencing platforms from their video settings menu.

Setting up your webcam for video meetings

Make sure your webcam is fully installed. Under Control Panel > View Devices and Printers, select the webcam from the listed options. If it needs drivers or anything else to complete installation, you should see this listed along the bottom bar.

Once installed, set it as your default camera. Under Control Panel > View Devices and Printers, right click the webcam icon and select “set as default” from the menu options.

If you do not see a “set as default” option, or if you can’t find your camera in the list of devices, you can also select a different camera from within the camera app or your conferencing software:

  • Windows Camera App: Click Start then type Camera to open the camera app. Click on the camera icon at the top of the screen to switch.
  • Webex: Both before and after joining a meeting, you can switch cameras by clicking Video Options (the downward arrow on the Start Video button at the bottom of the screen) and selecting which camera you’d like to use.
  • Zoom: Open the app, log in, and select Settings (the cog at the top right of the screen). Select Video then choose the camera from the dropdown menu. If you’re already in a meeting, click the upward arrow on the Start Video button and choose the correct camera.

Adjust Exposure

  • Windows Camera App: Open the app. Click the Brightness icon to the left of your image and adjust the slider.
  • Webex: Select Audio & Video > Video Settings > Adjust Camera Brightness. You can choose to do this automatically or select Manual and adjust the slider.
  • Zoom: Select Video Settings from the Start Video menu. Under ‘My Video’, check the box next to Adjust for Low Light, then choose the Auto or Manual settings.

Framing Your Shot

The Windows camera app lets you look at your image at any time to ensure you’re properly framed and looking your best. You can do this by turning on gridlines.

Click on Settings (the cog icon at the upper left). The Framing Grid options are listed here.

Rule of Thirds places a tic-tac-toe grid over your image. Make sure your shoulders are in view and your eyes rest along the top horizontal line. Crosshairs lets you center your image on the screen and Square lets you see a cropped view of your image as it may be seen by some meeting participants.

In addition to the above, all conferencing software provides different options for adjusting your camera settings once you’ve already joined a video meeting. Go to the settings menu as noted above and look at your preview image to see what you’d like to adjust.

Virtual Background

In Webex, select the Change Virtual Background dropdown. You can choose to blur your background, select one of the pre-loaded images, or click the + icon and use a picture from your computer. These options are also available in Zoom and can be accessed from the Choose Virtual Background option on the Start Video menu.


If your image has been flipped, go to the video settings in the app and select (or de-select) mirror image. This should have you looking like yourself in no time.

You don’t need to make a large investment in your camera equipment or software to improve your video quality in your next virtual meeting. In just a few minutes you can make some basic adjustments that will have you looking your best the next time you need to begin sharing your video meeting.