Zoom backgrounds are either your favorite thing about online meetings or your glitchy internet nightmare. Since many have discovered Zoom’s cool trick of adding a virtual background, we’ve all been in meetings with colleagues dialing in from aquariums, the ranch in “Tiger King” or the Vatican.
But here’s the thing — not all meetings are low-key and pantsless. Sometimes you have to look professional, even on Zoom. For example, here are three different libraries you could use.
The Best Zoom Background for a Lawyer or Law Student Is a Law Library
There’s nothing like a wall of intimidating titles behind you to lend a sense of authenticity and make your tiny square pop. But trying to find a good law books backdrop for a Zoom call can be tough. They’re typically too small, or fuzzy, or loaded with copyright issues.
But don’t worry, we have you covered with a small collection of super crisp, high-definition wide-angle shots of law libraries that are royalty-free and look amazing. The following were carefully sourced from our secret Zoom background mines and are curated here for immediate download from their source. And while these look amazing when you’re Zooming from your laptop, they look great as Zoom backgrounds on your phone, too. Click on any image to download it immediately. (Note: Royalty-free doesn’t mean attribution-free. Always give credit where it is due.)
The University of Michigan Law Library is an architectural wonder of gothic design that bears a soupçon of Hogwartian flavor. You can’t beat it as a Zoom background for a lawyer. The above photo found on WikiMedia is a striking view that will definitely set you apart from the other people in a Zoom call — unless they are young wizards.
The Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale may not be all law books but it is a hell of a Zoom background and makes you look like your office is in the future. It also makes you look suspiciously like a cold, calculating sci-fi villain so think about which case you’re working on and how your Zoom background may affect your evil scientist branding. The image above is posted on Wikimedia by Michael Kastelic; it is copyright-free but requests attribution.
Of Course, You Can Still Use Incredible Stills
Pexels.com offers a vast collection of high-definition desktop wallpaper backgrounds. They are lush and enormous and you can’t take your eyes off of them.
Studio Ghibli, a wildly fantastical collection of animators led by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, has posted a collection of stills from their movies to use for free as a Zoom backgrounds library. While the stills are absolutely gorgeous and perfect, and can you tell I’m a fan, there are other options for finding the perfect Zoom background picture — also for free.
Unsplash Zoom Backgrounds
Unsplash is one of my favorite sites for high-resolution free photographs. They do a fantastic job of promoting the work of amateurs and professionals from all over the world. Their files are a cinch to download, and their tagging work is top-shelf. I’ve been pausing my TV for the last three weeks to investigate the bookshelves behind celebrity guests on late-night talk shows. Now I can have my own top-shelf bookshelf at my back.
Flickr Commons’ Library of Congress Collection
Sometimes you want that old-school dignity only a picture of a 700-pound desk from the 18th century can properly impart in your Zoom background. The Library of Congress’ collection of public domain photos has your back. Like wacky circus shots of a drunk carny from the 1930s? Want a picture of the actual Rosie the Riveter? There are no copyright restrictions because these photos belong to the American people to abuse as quirky Zoom backgrounds, as is their birthright.
A Free Zoom Background to Make Your Zoom Colleagues Jealous
I can’t use my home office as my background for legal reasons (because my wife is an attorney and she uses the back of my office to store empty boxes, old mops and broken lamps). Also, my dog won’t stop hogging the camera. So when I Zoom, I just pop down to my swanky downtown apartment/office (pictured below) and work from my luxury couch, which is a total lie. I’m at my desk right now, sitting on an old Amazon box filled with catalogs. But nobody knows it because I use one of the free backgrounds from West Elm and I look like I’m a millionaire.
Zoom Backgrounds From Famous Shows
Modsy is an interior design app offering free downloads of living spaces from famous TV shows. You can look like you’re working from Seinfeld’s apartment, Monica’s place in “Friends,” or the “Three’s Company” kitchen below, which is a total lie because that’s actually the kitchen from “The Golden Girls.” Makes a great Zoom background.
What’s your favorite Zoom background? Let us know @AttnyatWork or post to our Facebook page.
You might also like Marsha Hunter’s “Seven ‘Public Speaking’ Tips for Videoconferencing” while #WFH #SIP.
Featured Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com
Subscribe to Attorney at Work
Get really good ideas every day for your law practice: Subscribe to the Daily Dispatch (it’s free). Follow us on Twitter @attnyatwork.