If you’re anything like us, you’ve likely become pretty comfortable with Zoom, the robust video-conferencing software, over the last few weeks. While we’ve quickly learned about all of Zoom’s cool features, our favorite is the software’s ability to let participants select a virtual background—no more showing off that pile of unwashed dishes in the sink. Our team has used the cool feature to teleport to a Hawaiian beach, a shrine in Kyoto, and more.
Want to test it out for yourself? We’ve dug through our roving photographers’ archives and picked out nine unique images that will add a little “sense of place” to your next mundane conference call.
To download the backgrounds, click the heading title, then right-click to save the image to your computer. To add a Virtual Background to Zoom, navigate to Preferences > Virtual Background, and upload your image. Enjoy!
The Central Coast of California has got the best of everything: mountains, ocean, and sunshine. It's my one true happy place! — Elizabeth Preske, associate editor
Washington, D.C.'s iconic cherry blossoms are such an inspiring harbinger of spring. I can't help but smile when I see them, making them the perfect backdrop for days filled with virtual meetings. — Laura Ratliff, editorial director
I love wintery and snowy landscapes, and this particular scene is of the Cascade Mountains, a place that's been on my bucket list to visit. — Jamie Hergenrader, senior editor
South Africa is on my 2020 (fingers crossed!) bucket list, so this background is doing its part to keep that dream alive. Also, it looks like these guys are rallying around me like chilly little cheerleaders. It's the closest I'll get to a group setting while we're all social distancing. — Astrid Taran, senior audience editor
This soon-to-be Zoom background classic is the ultimate conversation starter—a fisherman’s net is about to drop on you. But more importantly, it reminds me of my visit to Maui’s Ka'anapali Beach Hotel (known as "Hawaii's Most Hawaiian Hotel”) to learn the almost-lost art of throw-net fishing from Kent Keawehiku Apo. He used me as target practice! — Todd Coleman, creative content director
In an ideal world, I'd be lounging on a beach right now. These palm trees make me think of relaxing days and warm weather. Who doesn't want those good vibes on a Zoom call? — Sherri Gardner, assistant editor
Who wouldn't want to be on a calming beach right now? Plus, I love the way the palm tree frames the view. — Taylor McIntyre, visual editor
March is always my least favorite month—it sounds likes spring but never really delivers—and this year, it’s like March took steroids. So I added a dose of sunshine with this background of Tijuana’s cheerful Santa Cecilia Plaza. For anyone who hasn’t been to Tijuana in a while, the border town is undergoing a revival thanks in part to a thriving food and craft beer scene. Join me as I dream of my next taco and lager pairing! — Molly Fergus, VP and general manager
The Brooklyn Bridge is my favorite landmark in New York and the only touristy activity I enjoy doing. I love taking visiting friends and family there for a stroll across. — Emily Manchester, senior SEO analyst