If you want to maximize your communication effectiveness during a video conference paying attention to the visual stimuli you are transmitting is vital. Your video conference virtual background can be used to your advantage. It can help you get your message across and drive attendees to focus on what matters. It also sets a professional tone for your conference and takes the online meeting to another level.

Your background also serves as part of the branding process. When branding yourself or your organization, it’s important to  maintain a consistent alignment in the theme, message, and tune of your content. Subtle brand cues such as color palette, music, and background imagery are all part of the process.

Many video conferencing apps offer features that either blur the background or replace your home environment.

Zoom offers a wide range of backgrounds to choose from – these include cityscape, space scenes, and basic office images – or you can supply your own background. This feature works best with a green screen and uniform lighting so that the system can better detect the difference between you and your background. It does not have a blur feature. 

Skype offers both a blur feature and virtual backgrounds, but does not include any backgrounds. It is easy, however, to upload your own.

The free personal version of Microsoft Teams is currently just available for iOS and Android mobile devices, with no backgrounds or blurring features available. Microsoft Teams through your workplace or via G Suite does have both blurring and video backgrounds using the desktop app.

JITSI MEET currently has a beta version with the ability to blur the background.

There are a number of free stock photo sites where you can easily download a variety of images. Some of these are: Shutterstock , Adobe Spark, and Unsplash .