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The Best Lighting for Your Zoom Calls to Look More Professional

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Just because there’s an end in sight for work-from-home mandates legally speaking, we suspect Zoom will be ingrained in corporate culture indefinitely moving forward. Even if you don’t work for a company like Google or Twitter, who have both announced plans to allow at least some employees to continue working remotely, you’re bound to have meetings with people who do. And with many workers having fled the cities during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no sign of Zoom going anywhere anytime soon.

So if you haven’t already invested in proper lighting for your home office (or your office office), now is the time to do so. As Larry Becker, author of “Great on Camera” explained in an interview with USA Today last year, you don’t want to be subject to what he calls “Shady Face,” in which your face is obscured by shadows. Assuming your house or apartment doesn’t have the layout necessary to position your body directly in front of a window, you’ll want to procure the best lighting for Zoom calls, whether that means snapping up a trendy ring light or a starter set of smart bulbs to supercharge your existing lights.

Best Floor Lamp: Nova LED Tree Floor Lamp ($200)
Best Ring Light Kit: Sunpak LED Bi-Color Ring Light ($130) 
Best Smart Bulbs: Philips Hue Starter Kit ($130)
Best Laptop Mount: Lume Cube ($80) 
Best Value: Cyezcor Video Conference Lighting Kit ($22)
Best Phone Holder: Ubeesize Ring Light with Tripod Stand and Phone Holder ($20)
Best Tripod Stand: Mactrem R6 Ring Light with Tripod Stand ($19)
Best 2-Pack: Neewer Portable Photography Lighting Kit ($33)

Best Floor Lamp: Nova LED Tree Floor Lamp ($200)

Best Floor Lamp: Nova LED Tree Floor Lamp ($200)

Image credit: Nova of California

This chic lamp serves as sort of an overhead ring light, taking the literal shape of two rings affixed to a vertical metal rod. It has three brightness modes: Low, Medium, and High, along with an off button, naturally, controlled by a touch-sensitive button at the base. The Nova LED Tree Floor Lamp’s built-in 55,000-hour bulb ensures your Zoom calls will be enhanced by 360 degrees of warm white lighting for at least the decade to come.

Best Ring Light Kit: Sunpak LED Bi-Color Ring Light ($130)

Best Ring Light Kit: Sunpak LED Bi-Color Ring Light ($130)

Image credit: Sunpak

For a proper ring light, the Sunpak LED Bi-Color Ring Light is a pricey, but fully featured, entry point to the ring light craze. Standing at 70 inches when fastened to the included light stand, the 19-inch light contains 448 LEDs — 224 white and 224 amber — for the ideal balance of white and warm illumination. An adjustable knob allows users to dim the light when needed, and because the Sunpak runs without emitting heat, you can keep it in close proximity during your calls.

Best Smart Bulbs: Philips Hue Starter Kit ($130)

Best Smart Bulbs: Philips Hue Starter Kit ($130)

Image credit: Philips

Don’t want to give up your current furniture setup? No problem. The Philips Hue smart bulbs are widely considered the best in their class, and for good reason. For one, the setup is foolproof: just install them as you would normal light bulbs, then download the Hue app to your Android or iOS device and pair it to the Hue bridge included in this bundle. From there, you can command the Hue bulbs using your phone or with your voice if you have a virtual assistant.

Best Laptop Mount: Lume Cube ($80)

Best Laptop Mount: Lume Cube ($80)

Image credit: Lume

Designed specifically for remote employees, the Lume Cube is a versatile office lighting solution that can not only be mounted to a tripod but also to your laptop itself. While the adjustable stand can extend anywhere from 12 to 30 inches, the included computer mount attaches to your laptop with easy-to-use suction cup adhesive. Simply charge it up over a USB-C connection in time for your next meeting and watch as your lighting situation improves.

Best Value: Cyezcor Video Conference Lighting Kit ($22)

Best Value: Cyezcor Video Conference Lighting Kit ($22)

Image credit: Cyezcor

Instead of treating the ring light and laptop mount separately, Cyezcor’s Video Conference Lighting Kit combines the best of both worlds by letting you snap a ring light to the bezel above your laptop screen for just $22 when you clip the coupon on the page. It’s highly customizable as well. Rather than locking you to one particular color temperature, you can select between white, warm, and natural light with five levels of brightness to choose from.

Best Phone Holder: Ubeesize Ring Light with Tripod Stand and Phone Holder ($20)

Best Phone Holder: Ubeesize Ring Light with Tripod Stand and Phone Holder ($20)

Image credit: Ubeesize

Whether you admit it or not, everyone multitasks at work. But the Ubeesize Ring Light with Tripod Stand and Phone Holder takes the idea of juggling responsibilities a step further. As opposed to the Lume Cube, which mounts to your laptop, this ring light has a spot for your phone, so you don’t even have to be sitting at your desk to take a Zoom call. Just pop the phone into the integrated 360-degree clamp and phone in. We won’t tell your boss.

Best Tripod Stand: Mactrem R6 Ring Light with Tripod Stand ($19)

Best Tripod Stand: Mactrem R6 Ring Light with Tripod Stand ($19)

Image credit: Mactrem

As an alternative to the Lume Cube and Ubeesize Ring Light, Mactrem’s R6 Ring Light with Tripod Stand is a simple, cost-effective way to step up the quality of your Zoom calls. In addition to sitting on a 5-inch tripod, Mactrem packs in a discrete tripod for your phone you can set up next to it. Although it’s not wireless or rechargeable, you can hook the ring light up to your laptop or desktop computer or even a portable power bank using a standard USB port. 

Best 2-Pack: Neewer Portable Photography Lighting Kit ($33)

Best 2-Pack: Neewer Portable Photography Lighting Kit ($33)

Image credit: Neewer

What’s better than one light? Two, as evidenced by the Neewer Portable Photography Lighting Kit. By leveraging the power of dual video call lighting, you can maximize the brightness of your on-screen presence from all angles. Both ship complete with mini tripods and extension rods as well as an array of filters — two whites, two yellows, two blues, and two reds — to adjust your color temperature the old fashioned way. 

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