Amanda Sanders
Amanda Sanders
Best NYC Personal Shopper & Fashion Consultant

Tips for how not to look like crap when you FaceTime

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By: Megan Cerullo    
July 21, 2016  

Just because I want to talk to you doesn't mean I want to look at you. And I especially don't want you to look at me.

Remember Apple's early FaceTime ad, with the cute girl showing her boyfriend her new pixie haircut? Of course he loved it — we all loved it. We couldn't wait to be that cute with our own boyfriend. Which happened exactly never. Because apparently FaceTime has an ugly filter.

Getting a FaceTime call just gives me anxiety. I feel like Jane Jetson, putting on her morning mask. Only without the mask.

That “Jetsons” technology looks like it'll be a long time coming (still waiting on my flying car, too), so here are some best practices from experts, stylists and image consultants to help you avoid looking like hell when you FaceTime. Because let's be honest, that's the best we can hope for.

Play the angles — chin down!

Never shoot yourself from below the chin, which will make you appear bigger than you are. Tilt your chin ¾ of the way down, without giving yourself a double chin (totally possible). Hold the phone about 12 inches away from your face, at eye level, and tilt the screen downward slightly. "When you raise the camera up and you tilt it, you automatically look thinner," said Crystal Torres, owner of Ethan Rose 3 in One Salon. "Use the same tactic you would when taking a selfie and don't look at the camera straight on," she said.

AT&T's original FaceTime commercial made it seem so easy to look great (YouTube)

AT&T's original FaceTime commercial made it seem so easy to look great (YouTube)

Adjust the camera according to the type of call you're on. "Sometimes you want to hold the phone a little higher up. You create a sexier angle," said celebrity hairstylist Luca Blandi.

Find natural light

If you can't go outside, go stand by a window. Natural light softens your appearance. It's never going to be as good as that pro lighting crew Cute Pixie Girl had, but real life never is. Style blogger Lara Eurdolian suggests facing a window, so sunlight hits you head-on. Avoid backlighting, which darkens the shot, and overhead lights that create under eye bags. "Things you don't want to show," said Eurdolian. So true.

 

Stop staring at yourself

Eye contact is essential when FaceTiming. Looking at the little box of your face in the corner of the screen won't do you any favors; you'll just seem self-conscious. Or shifty. "Our eyes wander toward the little box but it doesn't make a good impression," said image consultant Amanda Sanders. Address your FaceTime partner as you would in person, by looking directly at them. "It's supposed to be a natural conversation, as though the person is there," Sanders said.

Keep your distance

Stay far enough away from the phone so you don't fill up the screen. "You don't want to be on top of the picture where all they see is your face," said Sanders. Remember Cute Pixie Girl? You saw her and her haircut, but also her shoulders, a little bit of her cute apartment. That's perfect (of course).

Practice

Look, Cute Pixie Girl doesn't just happen. You might not be able to field a team of pros to help you out, but you can figure out where in your home or office you look best. Walk around your space and try out different lighting scenarios. If this is for business, remove personal junk from the shot (and try never to be in this situation again).