Hide your messy kitchen or spare bedroom from your colleagues with the perfect virtual background that looks real.
We've all done dozens - or hundreds - of Zoom video calls by now. And learned how easy it is to swap out our real background with a virtual one.
But it's not that simple to choose one that looks like it's a real office or living room. Because sometimes you really don't want to make a business call from the Batcave. Although sometimes, admittedly, sitting at Leslie Knope's desk in Pawnee, Indiana, is just the ticket. Even if you end up craving waffles all day, just like her character on Parks and Recreation.
SEE: How to use Zoom: 15 tips and tricks (free TechRepublic PDF)
And while, ideally, it might be easiest to just use your own real background, it still looks nicer to have something a bit neater than your own messy office or kitchen visible. And now that most of the world is still working from home, with offices only slowly reopening, there's always the chance that a kid or roommate might pop into the camera view if they don't realize you're in the middle of a meeting.
that have just the right perspective that will make your co-workers and colleagues do a double take during your next video conference. Keep a shallow field of depth, the colors simple, and the setting realistic if you want to make people think you're not using a virtual background.
SEE: Photos: The 27 most realistic Zoom virtual backgrounds for business meetings (TechRepublic)
Free virtual backgrounds of libraries and bookcases
Bookcases are a popular option, because they add depth, but also some interest. Faber Books provided several images on Twitter of their favorite libraries around the world. NPR's music background bookcase is another popular option.
Chapman University in Irvine, Calif. has provided several free Zoom background images of its campus and libraries that provide fantastic depth and perspective for business meetings.
The Los Angeles Public Library has shared indoor and outdoor images from its various libraries around the county and some of the images are ideal for Zoom backgrounds.
Free virtual backgrounds of the great outdoors
Speaking of the great outdoors, that's definitely one way to go, especially with summer arriving. You can tuck yourself onto a patio or deck and yet still appear to be conducting business efficiently.
Showcasing the perfect living room or kitchen
If you would like to showcase the perfect living room or kitchen, in addition to the above A-frame deck, West Elm has shared quite a few Zoom images that are designer-created and will make your co-workers envious of your sense of style.
Getty images and virtual backgrounds
Getty Images has shared dozens of free Zoom backgrounds of popular photos. They have a watermark, but you can purchase the image without a watermark if you really want to fool your colleagues.
Whichever background you choose, it's easy to swap out a virtual image instead of your real one. Juston how to do it in a few simple steps.
- Zoom 101: A guidebook for beginners and business pros (TechRepublic Premium)
- The 54 coolest virtual backgrounds to use in Zoom meetings (TechRepublic)
- Zoom just gave free users frightening news (ZDNet)
- How to use Zoom like a pro: 13 hidden features to try at your next meeting (CNET)