Striking Zoom Backgrounds to Match Your Office Lighting
By: Amber Stefanson | Jan 9, 2023
Virtual backgrounds sound like a great option when you want to make a good impression during a video call from a less-than-ideal space. They can instantly erase a mess or give the illusion of privacy when others are in the room. Unfortunately, when the warmth, direction, and strength of the lighting in your room don’t match up to your virtual background, the result can leave you looking cheesy and unrealistic. Such poorly matched virtual backgrounds can end up drawing more attention than a slightly unprofessional backdrop will.
A well-matched background, on the other hand, can be not only believable but transformative, making you look radiant where you otherwise would have looked sallow or washed out. To help you find the right Zoom background for your space, we’ve curated some striking landscape photos that match many different kinds of artificial lighting: fluorescents, incandescents, white LEDs, and colorful RGB lighting.
Photo by Wikipedia
If you take your meetings in a school, office, hospital, or government building, you likely have fluorescent lighting. Fluorescents are some of the least flattering lights due to their harsh brightness and cool tonality, which work together to wash out the warmth in your complexion.
Luckily, the right cool-toned background can breathe life back into your face and make your virtual façade more believable. Click on the arrow to the right to check out our selection of fluorescent-friendly backgrounds.
Photo by 231 PROJECT on Unsplash
Cool & Direct
This background works beautifully for the most aggressive fluorescent lighting. Choose this airy grass field when you face a lighting fixture, or if you sit directly underneath one. This background is brighter than it seems once you import it into Zoom, so we recommend trying out the indirect and backlit backgrounds as well. You can download this background here.
Photo by Darya Tryfanava on Unsplash
Cool & Indirect
This rocky scene captures the subdued brightness of fluorescents when you don’t sit directly under them (or when one of the bulbs has been removed).
Our tip for using this background: make sure that the bright clouds on the right side of this photo are on the same side as the nearest light fixture so that this background mimics your light source. If the bright spot in the photo is on the wrong side, you can use the built-in photo editing app on your device to horizontally flip the image before importing it into Zoom. You can download this virtual background here.
Photo by Delaney Turner on Unsplash
Cool & Backlit
This virtual background is perfect for when the cool fluorescent light falls behind you. The brighter clouds near the horizon will neutralize the halo effect you get when the light behind you catches your hair. Meanwhile, the dark foreground balances and brightens your dimly lit face. You can download this background here.
Photo by David Emrich on Unsplash
Neutral & Direct
Newer fluorescent lighting tends to be a bit warmer and less prone to flickering than older fluorescents. These bright, neutral light fixtures pair perfectly with brisk, sunny landscapes. Similar to the grassy hill a few slides back, this background runs bright, so we recommend trying out the indirect and backlit backgrounds if your lighting doesn’t appear as bright on screen as you expect. You can download this background here.
Photo by Karolina Kolacz on Unsplash
Neutral & Indirect
This hazy beach diffuses light similarly to neutral-toned fluorescents when they’re dimmed or at a distance. The light in this photo comes from every direction, so you don’t need to worry about positioning your camera or flipping your background to make this virtual background more believable. You can download this background here.
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash
Neutral & Backlit
The layered lighting in this photograph makes it a beautiful backdrop for meetings where the brightest fluorescent lighting falls behind you. The dark sky will cancel out your overly-bright background, while the vibrant grass in the foreground pulls the eye toward you. You can download this virtual background here.
Photo by National Review
Although true incandescents are becoming less popular as the world shifts over to more energy-efficient light sources, they remain a favorite of those who prefer gentle, vintage-looking lighting in their homes. If you have incandescents, Edison bulbs, or even warm-toned LEDs, you’ll need a Zoom background with a slightly orange cast. Click on the arrow to the right to see a few of our favorite incandescent-friendly backgrounds.
Photo by Kaidi Guo on Unsplash
Overhead or Backlit
While the orange hue of this background lends itself to cozy, insulated interiors, its blue tones also make it an excellent choice for rooms that have mixed natural and incandescent lighting.
Our tip for using this virtual background: hold your head in the upper third of the frame when your incandescents fall behind you, or keep your chin in the lower half if your lighting fixtures are overhead. You can download this background here.
Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash
The mist in this photo diffuses the sunlight so that the source of the light feels vague and omnidirectional. If you have incandescent light coming from multiple sources around the room, this background is a great pick. You can download this background here.
Photo by Delaney Turner on Unsplash
This wind-swept landscape has the ability to turn a sallow incandescent glare into a virtual golden hour. If the source of light in your room isn’t on the same side as the sun in this photograph, don’t forget to flip the image using your device’s built-in photo editor before importing it to Zoom. You can download this background here.
Photo by Led Led Italia
It’s no surprise that most people have LED light bulbs in their homes. LEDs are bright, energy-efficient, and long-lasting. They also possess an extremely versatile range of color temperatures. Whether you have flattering warm-toned LEDs, natural “sunlight” bulbs, or cool task lighting, we have the perfect virtual background for your space. Click on the arrow to the right to see our top locations for your reimagined home office.
Photo by Mateus Elias on Unsplash
Warm & Overhead
Are you longing for a tropical getaway? This virtual background transports you to the beaches of Brazil, meanwhile transforming your overhead fixture into warm, dappled sunlight. The color temperature of the light matches most indoor ceiling fixtures, including in rentals and other spaces where you don’t necessarily have control over the lightbulbs in your fixtures. You can download this background here.
Photo by Lukáš Kulla on Unsplash
Warm & Diffuse
If this lovely Austrian vineyard pairs well with your office space, then you probably already know that the most flattering white LEDs are soft, warm, and staggered at different heights in every corner of the room. If this sentimentally-lit background were a lightbulb, it would fall right around 3000 kelvin, meaning it will blend in seamlessly with any space that has a warm and homey lighting design. You can download this photo here.
Photo by Dyaa Eldin Moustafa on Unsplash
Neutral & Overhead
Do you enjoy the acuity of daylight bulbs in your home? This versatile background from Mt. Sinai in Egypt combines yellow sunlight and blue shadows in a way that will blend in well with your neutral task lighting. The downward slant of the mountains on either side draws the eye inward, to your face, so rest assured: you won’t get lost in the textural detail of this stunning photograph. You can download this background here.
Photo by Goran Vučićević on Unsplash
Neutral & Diffuse
Invite some mystery into your remote meetings with this foggy scene from the Fruška Gora mountains in Serbia. The combination of diffuse light and shadows makes this background forgiving and adaptable to lighting of any brightness and direction. You can download this background here.
Photo by Fabrizio Conti on Unsplash
Cool & Overhead
Soften your stark task lighting with the smooth and misty contours of Como Lake in Italy. Since this background is on the brighter side, we recommend embracing your cool lighting by sitting closer to the source, where it’s the brightest. Alternatively, check out the next slide for a darker and moodier take on cool-toned lighting. You can download this virtual background here.
Photo by Abdelrahman Ismail on Unsplash
Cool & Diffuse
It’s important to slow down and take some time to enjoy the little things. This mellow scene from Dahab, Egypt takes your dimmed, cool office lighting and transforms it into a twilight oasis. It pairs perfectly with virtual cocktail hours and other social calls. You can download this background here.
Photo by Hue Blog
Thanks to their increased accessibility over the past decade or so, colorful lights are the big thing in mood lighting right now. Maybe you seek out the retro hum of a neon sign or maybe you prefer to spec out your home in smart, wifi-enabled LED strips, bulbs, and panels. Either way, we’ve gathered a few backgrounds inspired by the most popular RGB lighting palettes. Click on the arrow to the right to see what we’ve hand-picked for you.
Pink light is some of the most flattering light out there. Whether it’s used to photograph models for an editorial look or to set mood lighting in your own home, pink light can make you look radiant. It smooths over imperfections and brings out rosy tones in your skin, giving some that in-from-the-cold look. This Zoom background matches your rosy bulbs for an overall pastel, romantic effect. You can download this photo here.
Photo by Raphaël LR on Unsplash
This timeless color palette has a strong association with nightlife, due to its presence in Tokyo and Miami cityscapes at night. If you need to flip this image to ensure that the pink and blue lights appear on the same sides as your corresponding lighting fixtures, make sure you flip this image before importing it into Zoom. You can download this background here.
Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash
If you prefer dramatic and vibrant lighting schemes that evoke sunsets and tropical birds, try out this photograph of Tokyo, Japan as your office backdrop. It captures a stunning view of Tokyo, with the setting sun casting a pink-orange glow over the cityscape. You’ll be the center of attention in your next virtual meeting. You can download this photo here.
Photo by Stefan Widua on Unsplash
Whether your room is lit by neon signs or red-hued LEDs (which can actually improve your eyesight over time), this dim background can refresh your office without making you look out of place. Due to the way this alleyway swallows up the red light, this virtual background is suitable for both overhead and lateral fixtures. You can download this background here.
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash
Do you prefer to keep the lights off — or at least as close to off as you can get them? Try out this tranquil, starlit landscape. It’s sure to match your night-inspired LED color scheme, or even the blue light coming from your device. You can download this background here.
A 4K Webcam for a 4K Background
To make your striking virtual background even more believable, you’ll need a high-quality camera. The quality of your laptop’s built-in 720p webcam is not going to be as convincing as a 4K webcam. If you’re looking for an upgrade, check out the Iris. This top-of-the-line 4K webcam captures you in perfect detail, and it features many built-in settings that enable you to adjust your lighting and saturation. If your new virtual background doesn’t already pop, it will pop with a few minor adjustments on the Iris. You can read more here about all of the features that the Iris has to offer.
We hope you found the perfect background for your needs. Don’t forget to check out our virtual background picks for a spookier vibe. You can never have too many virtual backgrounds at your disposal!