Zoom HeroSource: Zoom

Zoom has quickly become the de facto standard for any and all video calls while we're all stuck inside working, but as fun as it can be to see your friends and coworkers, you might not always want to show off what's behind you. Maybe your room is a mess, or you'd just rather not reveal your home to your colleagues.

One of Zoom's more fun features is Virtual Backgrounds, which lets you display an image or video behind you instead. There are endless possibilites to choose from, but hopefully these ideas can give you some inspiration.

Vacation spots

Manhattan skyline from atop the Empire State BuildingSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

Had a vacation or business trip abruptly canceled due to the global pandemic? You're not alone in the matter, and you can keep the dream alive with a scenic, postcard-ready background from any of your favorite travel destinations. You probably won't convince any of your friends or coworkers that you're actually at the beach right now, but it doesn't hurt to dream ... right?

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I'm missing New York pretty badly lately, so above is a photo I took last year from atop the Empire State Building in Midtown Manhattan. You're free to use it in your next Zoom call, but of course, there are millions of photos out there from all parts of the world. Pick something that resonates with you!

Hangout hotspots

Future Labs team dinner in BarcelonaSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

We all miss going out to restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and concerts with friends, so why not make a background of your favorite hangout spot to remind yourself of what you can look forward to once this all blows over? Toss in a group photo from your last friendly meetup, maybe even leave a space for just your face to appear, like a cardboard cutout. Find your favorite photo in your camera roll, or maybe look for a shot from Google Images — just find something that makes you feel at home.

Pop culture references

Parks And RecreationSource: NBC

Okay, so we've established that none of these Virtual Backgrounds are going to convince anyone one the other end of the call that you're actually someplace else — though maybe that's for the better, since you should be staying at home right now anyway. Instead of looking for a backdrop of one of your favorite real places, why not show off your enthusiasm for your favorite shows and movies?

Plenty of media companies are sharing Zoom backgrounds of their various properties. HBO is sharing wallpapers based around shows like Westworld, Silicon Valley, and Last Week Tonight. CBS tossed around a few Star Trek: Picard-themed backgrounds on Twitter, and NBC is sharing backgrounds from Parks and Rec.

Fox is sharing a host of Zoom backgrounds that put you in the world of The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Bob's Burgers, and even RuPaul's Drag Race has a few images up for grabs. You get the point, there's no shortage of pop culture backgrounds to choose from — maybe cycle through your favorite shows every call!


This Is FineSource: K.C. Green

This is fine. Well, okay. It isn't really, but you can at least distract yourself with a good laugh. There are dozens, hundreds, probably even thousands of memes that you can use as a blank canvas for your next Zoom call. Make yourself the envy of the jealous girlfriend, or place yourself in James Corden's passenger seat for some Carpool Karaoke.

Use your imagination

The best part of Zoom's Virtual Backgrounds is that you can use any media you want. Just make sure it's a 16x9 crop and there's a good chance you can toss it right into your next call. Have fun, get creative, and use whatever backgrounds best represent you!

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Zoom has quickly become the go-to service for both personal and business-related video calls, with easy presenting solutions and even some fun tools like Virtual Backgrounds.