Oh Zoom, how I love thee! Let me count the ways. Since working from home, Zoom has easily become my favorite tool to connect with friends, family, colleagues, and clients. In fact, it’s saved me time, money, and so much stress during thee pandemic. Plus, I love free Zoom backgrounds.
Hosting a Zoom Meeting
Looking to host a Zoom meeting? Thankfully, the video conferencing service is completely free. Furthermore, it offers unlimited meetings where users may host 40-minute video conference calls with up to 100 participants. Overall, Zoom will continue to play a very important role in our lives.
Consequently, if you need to host longer meetings, Zoom offers a Pro plan for $12.50 per month or $149.90 per year, per license. Plus, if you’re in the education field, they are waiving the time limit for school employee email accounts. At the same time, even if you’re using the free account, you can meet for more than 40 minutes by simply “re-joining” the meeting link after the system boots you off.
Are you looking for a larger business plan for teams? They offer a Business plan that guarantees to host up to 300 participants, single sign-on, customized branding, and transcripts.
Zoom Pro Tips
After using the service, I wanted to share pro Zoom tips to help make your experience even better. Furthermore, I’ve included a round-up of 27 free Zoom backgrounds courtesy of Style Charade 🙂 Who doesn’t like plenty of Zoom backgrounds free?
Zoom Desktop vs. the Zoom App
Alright, Zoom can be used on your computer for video and/or audio calls. Once you’ve created an account and downloaded the software, you’re pretty much good to go! Moreover, they have an app for your smartphone for the times when using a computer isn’t possible.
All in all, having Zoom on multiple devices helps, especially if you want to reference documents. If you’re joining a Zoom video meeting on your phone, I suggest holding your phone horizontally. That way, your video appears as landscape for the rest of the group.
Mute, Mute, Mute
Moreover, and this a big one, and you’ve probably seen memes or jokes about this on social media. If your call includes more than three people, always mute your audio when you aren’t speaking. Depending how you are viewing a Zoom call (i.e. speaker view vs. grid view), the system uses audio to put the primary speaker in display.
Therefore, if there’s loud noise in the background, your video feed will pushed front and center for the meeting. Plus, when you mute your audio, there’s less distracting ambient noise which helps everyone.
As such, it’s the same concept for your video feed. If you need to change rooms of your home mid-meeting, you can disable the video without leaving the meeting. Nobody wants to be distracted by you while a conference is happening, lol!
Next, let’s talk about the enhance appear tool. Think instant Facetune! This setting ensures your skin looks smooth and flawless. Go to Settings-> click the arrow titled General -> click “Touch Up My Appearance.” Brilliant! Toggle between having it on vs. off. It’s pretty epic!
It’s very easy to stop video during Zoom meetings. Simply click the button that says “end meeting,” and you’ll be closed out of the window. If the host click the arrow that says “end meeting,” all guests will be immediately kicked out of the meeting. In fact, I find it’s helpful to have another co-host on the call to ensure this doesn’t happen!
Privacy on Zoom
Equally important, Zoom has been under fire for privacy concerns. Thankfully, I found some great articles on getting started. Plus, a lot of them cover insights on privacy. Feel free to read them here and here. Overall, privacy is extremely important, and Zoom is working diligently to make things safer.
Choose a Virtual Background
If you prefer not to show your home, Zoom allows you to virtually alter your location and background image. In other words, think of these free virtual backgrounds similar to green screens. Basically, the Zoom green screen allows can be used to superimpose special effects and scenery during your call.
You can transport yourself via a background image and green screen to the beach, space, Finland, and everything in between. Zoom includes a few free backgrounds. However, the visuals aren’t that interesting. Plus, they must be set-up in advance.
If you’d like to add new backgrounds, please find the steps below to changing things up.
- Go to Account Settings,
- Click Virtual Background image
- Lastly, go to the small “+” sign, and click Upload New Image or Video.
- Select the file and click choose
- You’re set!
Video vs. Photo Backgrounds
Transparently, you can’t go wrong with any Zoom virtual background. Sure, there are video vs. photo options. Both options service their purposes! Personally, I prefer a photo. After all, you don’t want people getting distracted during a meeting. Plus, photos are just easier to control from a color perspective.
DIY Zoom Backgrounds
Do you want to create your own Zoom backgrounds? If so, please read the following file size information.
Compatible formats include GIF, JPG/JPEG, or PNG. In the past, I’ve found that 16:9 aspect ratio is the best. Also, the minimum resolution of 1280×720 pixels.
Videos, on the hand, should be MP4 or MOV files with a minimum resolution of 480×360 pixels (360p). From what I’ve read, the maximum resolution of 1920×1020 (1080p).
27 Free Zoom Backgrounds
To help get you started, I’ve compiled 27 fun Zoom backgrounds free that you may use. These photos are ones we’ve taken over the years ranging from Nantucket to Napa Valley, Palm Springs, Portugal, and more. Basically, I want to help transport you to a new destination with your Zoom virtual backgrounds during meetings.
Who doesn’t love a dose of sunshine on video conferencing? Overall, it shows personality, fun, and just a great way to add some positivity to your day. Furthermore, I think it’s a great way to incorporate your social media photos. Hosting a family call? Why not add a photo of the family as your Zoom background? Connecting with a long lost friend? Pull a photo of the two of you. Imagine the surprise and delight when you take the extra step!
Overall, they are all sized appropriately for Zoom, which is very important. Besides, you don’t want to have a low-resolution photo on your screen. Therefore, simply save them to your computer and use them to add a bit more color to your next video conference. Finally, I hope you enjoy these tips!