How to Customize Virtual Backgrounds in Zoom Meetings

Zoom’s virtual background feature allows you to customize your background during video meetings. With some simple steps, you can upload your own images or videos to use as custom backgrounds. As a professional who works from home, setting an appropriate background for video meetings is important for conveying professionalism. Follow this guide to learn best practices for customizing virtual backgrounds in Zoom.

Enabling the Virtual Background Feature

Before you can add custom backgrounds, you need to enable Zoom’s virtual background capability.

To enable virtual backgrounds:

  1. Sign into the Zoom web portal and click on “Settings”.
  2. Select “In Meeting (Advanced)” on the left sidebar.
  3. Scroll down and toggle on “Virtual background”.

Once enabled, the virtual background options will be available in your Zoom desktop client during meetings.

Choosing Appropriate Custom Backgrounds

When selecting a background for Zoom meetings, choose relevant, professional images:

  • For business meetings, use an office setting or blurred/abstract background.
  • For webinars/teaching, use backgrounds related to your topic.
  • Avoid distracting patterns or text. Simple backgrounds look best.

Also be mindful of color contrasts between your background and clothing. Avoid wearing clothes that will visually blend into the background.

Uploading Custom Images and Videos

To upload your own virtual backgrounds:

  1. Open the Zoom desktop client settings.
  2. Click “Virtual Background”.
  3. Click the “+” icon to add images or videos from your computer.
  4. Select your custom background file(s) to upload.

Supported formats: PNG, JPG, MP4, MOV. Zoom recommends 16:9 aspect ratio.

Configuring Your Camera and Lighting

For best results with virtual backgrounds:

  • Position your camera properly – keep your face/upper body centered in the frame.
  • Adjust lighting to be bright and even across your video. Avoid backlighting.
  • For sharper quality, use an external USB webcam instead of a built-in camera.

With proper lighting and a clear background, virtual backgrounds will look more seamless and professional.

Best Practices When Using Virtual Backgrounds

Follow these tips when using custom backgrounds:

  • Test your background ahead of meetings to preview the effect.
  • If needed, reduce distracting elements around your workspace.
  • Remain stationary as much as possible so the background effect looks realistic.
  • During meetings, check your video periodically to ensure your background is displaying properly.

Using Virtual Backgrounds to Showcase Your Brand

In addition to concealing home environments, virtual backgrounds are a creative way to reinforce your personal or company brand during video meetings.

Some ideas:

  • Upload an image of your office building exterior or interior workspace.
  • Use lifestyle imagery related to your brand or industry.
  • Feature your logo, tagline, or other brand assets.
  • Create backgrounds customized for webinars, virtual events, etc.

With Zoom’s robust virtual background capabilities, the options are endless for showcasing your brand visually on video calls.


Customizing virtual backgrounds is easy with Zoom Desktop and just takes a few minutes to set up. With the right background, lighting, and camera placement, you can conduct video meetings seamlessly from home while maintaining an authentic and professional image. Use the tips in this guide to take your Zoom calls to the next level with virtual backgrounds.