By Ty Collins
Zoom calls are here to stay, so you might as well make the most of them.
One easy and free way to keep your Zoom calls interesting is by using its background feature to display a clever backdrop. Zoom offers users a library of ready-to-use backgrounds, but the other option is to upload your own pictures and videos.
Try one of these zoom backgrounds gathered from the web to make your backdrop more personalized.
If you want a backdrop that captures a snippet of your personality, consider adding a picture from your favorite movie or TV show.
One option is taking your Zoom call to a galaxy far, far away with this starfield background from Star Wars.
Some video calls are more serious than others, so you’ll have to consider if it’s appropriate to use something informal like this backdrop. But if it’s suitable to use them, these fun pictures make calls more laid back and spark conversation.
From the magical world of Harry Potter, you can use this picture of the Hogwarts dining hall to let everyone know how big a fan you are. It works year-round, but especially so during the colder months.
With this backdrop, you can quickly identify your fellow Harry Potter enthusiasts and strike up a conversation.
Be careful using this background because someone may put you on the spot to sing.
If you’re a fan of American Idol, its official Twitter account tweeted pictures of its set that you can use for your Zoom background.
Disney published a blog post with Zoom background pictures of its parks from around the world, including Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, a view of the Eiffel Tower and Pixar Pier from California’s Disneyland. These exciting photographs capture a bit of Disney magic and bring it to your Zoom sessions.
They can certainly brighten up your next video call, although they may make you long for a vacation.
Anyone who watched The Office will instantly recognize this scene. The televised mockumentary would interview subjects in this room throughout its nine-season run. You can situate yourself to be exactly where the show’s cast members would sit, and voila, you're a guest star on The Office.
For people who haven’t seen the show, it will look like you’ve chosen a run-of-the-mill office background, but for the fans among your colleagues, you’ll be the Jim Halpert of the workplace giving them a much-needed chuckle.
In a tweet, Fox gave the public a picture from its popular comedy show Bob’s Burgers that anyone can use as a Zoom background.
If you’re a fan, you can hang out with Bob and Linda Belcher while video calling.
Disney generously compiled pictures from its famous Pixar movies into one post. and anyone can snag one to upload it to Zoom.
One popular option is the room from Toy Story. It's perfect for teaching younger kids, video calling younger family members and for when you're chatting with your Disney-loving friends.
If you're a big fan of Finding Nemo, you're in luck. Disney included a picture from the movie in a post that you can upload to Zoom in no time at all.
Even if people in your video call don't recognize this scene, it's still a gorgeous underwater backdrop.
If you’re looking for a background that combines indoor and outdoor scenery, look no further than the backdrops from Airbnb.
Airbnb, the popular online vacation marketplace, gathered amazing photos from various homes on its website and compiled them in a list of background pictures. If your own home is looking a little hum-drum after months of quarantine (whose isn’t?), this might be the perfect way to upgrade your online presence without having to shell out for real-world decor.
This specific photograph comes from Airbnb’s Arrowtown House in Arrowtown, New Zealand.
Airbnb’s collection of backdrop pictures includes a photo from a listing called Skylodge Adventure Suites.
It’s always exciting to see pictures of beautiful lodges overlooking exotic scenery. You might be stuck at home, but at least you can pretend you're in the mountains of Urubamba, Peru.
Airbnb's collection of background photos of its rentals includes one from Killarney, Ireland.
This heavenly place overlooking a gorgeous lake allows you to pause during your video calls to appreciate the beauty of nature.
It’s hard to go wrong with an animal background. Hallmark put together a collection of pet background pictures that will instantly make any video call cuter. So if you or your coworker is having a bad day, warm your hearts with these photos of pets.
Hallmark has a knack for producing amazing seasonal pictures. In a list of virtual backgrounds for wintertime, Hallmark includes this beautiful scene of an evergreen forest blanketed in snow.
If it's your cold season, this might be the choice for you.
Are you longing for warmer weather and more beautiful places? Hallmark has you covered. With a list of summer background pictures, you can choose from several gorgeous photos of beaches and lakes.
If the leaves are falling where you live, match the outdoors by using a fall background from Hallmark's list. The warm colors of autumn will bring a sense of coziness and comfort to any Zoom call.
Furniture brand West Elm published a collection of virtual backgrounds that feature its products. The results are some very nice photographs of indoor and outdoor scenery.
If you're on a Zoom call that requires a semi-professional background, consider this option. It's a perfect balance of informality and professionalism to give the call a sophisticated but not over-the-top atmosphere.
From a collection of background photos from West Elm, you can choose this photograph of seats by the pool. It may just infuse some vacation vibes into an everyday virtual meeting at the office.
Canva is a free, popular tool for graphic design. As you can imagine, it has an extensive collection of images for Zoom backgrounds.
One of the coolest parts about using Canva is the ability to write customizable text onto your Zoom backdrops. With this instructional template, educators can post a permanent list of rules on their background so students can easily read and refer to them.
You don’t have to be a teacher to use a template like this. Managers and other meeting leaders can use this format to list announcements or post a meeting’s agenda.
Sometimes words say more than a thousand images.
If you like having inspiration quotes on your Zoom backdrop, check out this inspirational quote template from Canva. The text is changeable, of course, so look up some quotes from your favorite authors and heroes, then add them in.
There are multiple similar templates you can choose from as well.
This congratulatory background template from Canva is a fantastic option for congratulating someone on a work anniversary or other celebratory event. Keep this Canva template on file and break it out whenever you’re hopping on a call with someone who has a birthday or recently had a child.
This is an easy way to be thoughtful while working remotely.
Are you doing an interview or getting on a discovery call with a potential client? Check out Canva’s professional template that acts as a business card of sorts.
This pragmatic backdrop is entirely focused on displaying your name and any relevant professional information that you want people to see. You can tailor the text to include your email address, phone number, professional website, and your profession.
This reminds people during the call who you are and what kind of work you do, which is a simple but powerful strategy when meeting new people.
Sometimes you have to add some humor to your Zoom calls.
If you’re feeling particularly spunky you can use this backdrop, which is a variation of a comic-turned-meme called This Is Fine. Basically, it communicates that your world is on fire, but you’re pretending everything is okay.
This background can get a chuckle out of people, but always consider if it’s appropriate to use humor before switching it on.
Zoom calls are becoming a more normal method of communication, both in professional and private lives. As with all forms of communication, you can make them better or worse depending on the effort you put into them.
If you want to get more out of your Zoom calls, use these backgrounds to add some flavor to your conversations. It's free, easy and downright fun.
Ty is the head of digital acquisition and content at Calendly.
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