What to wear to a photo or video shoot

1. Always bring an alternate set of clothes to the shoot: Things happen. For example, you arrive for filming and find that you are wearing a color that won’t work with the set, or doesn’t look right on camera. A thousand things can happen to upset your well-though-out choice of apparel. (Haven't worn it for a while? Try it on, make sure it fits).

2. Wear flattering colors near your face: Pastels, purples and browns are good. Blue is one of the best and safest colors for video. Green is risky. Ask if they will be using a green screen. If so, choose another color. If you don't know, don't wear it.

3. Be careful how you wear black: Through a camera lens, black tends to absorb much of the light around it, making details less visible. With a black background, a guest wearing black can look like a “floating head.” Black and very dark colors are usually okay when worn on the lower half of the body, such as a skirt or pants. If for some reason, you must wear black near the face, (i.e., a shirt) you can wear a colored jacket or sweater over it so less of the black is visible. Another thing to do if wearing very dark colors: Add a colored scarf (avoid neon colors). This contrasting addition of color can also be accomplished with a piece of jewelry.

4. Avoid bright white: White tends to dominate the screen, and like neon and bright colors, should be avoided. A better choice: not-quite-white colors like light beige, light gray and very pale colors may work better.

5. Avoid wearing bright red (or orange): Red tends to look orange to the camera. A better choice would be burgundy or maroon. In the warmer range, try coral. It’s softer, pinker.

6. Avoid herringbones, plaids, checks and especially stripes: Large ones are distracting, and small ones can dance around the screen, creating rivers and waviness (moiré pattern).

7. Jewelry: Keep jewelry to a minimum, especially earrings. A necklace can add a colorful or contrasting accent, but it shouldn’t be noisy, or too flashy or reflective. If it rubs against your microphone causing unwanted noise, get rid of it. Don’t wear jangly bracelets or large dangling earrings. Wear only one ring on each hand, and don’t wear multiple necklaces.

8. Solid colors are best: Large, bright patterns and prints are distracting and can draw attention away from your message. Avoid them. Muted or subdued patterns are generally okay.

9. Be pressed and wrinkle-free: Stick to wrinkle-free fabrics, or (especially for men) have your shirts professionally pressed. Dress as if you were going to a job interview (appropriate to the subject you will be talking about). Naturally, if your subject is outdoorsy or very casual, you should adjust what you wear accordingly. This is a good place to mention blue jeans: they should be worn sparingly, never ripped or torn, and only when appropriate to your occupation, shoot location, or subject matter. Again for men: Much of the time, a nice shirt (tucked in) and a pair of well-fitting pants (with belt), dark socks and decent shoes, is all you will need.

10. Men in suits: If you are wearing a suit, Make sure about 1-inch of your shirt cuff is showing, and wear over-the-calf socks in case you cross your legs. No leg skin should ever show. Your suit should fit correctly.

11. Women in skirts: All one color, matching skirt and jacket for women—nice, do it. Avoid skirts and dresses that are too short. A little leg is nice, but it is important to stay age-appropriate. Bring along a change if you have doubts.

12. Style: Stay subdued, even boring. Don’t make a fashion statement unless you are an artist, fashion designer, or are wearing traditional garb, things of that nature. You want the audience to focus on what you have to say. Men: Don’t dress in all dark colors (or with a stuffy vest unless you’re English—and a professor). You don’t want to look like one of the Blues Brothers (i.e. ties: keep them current and moderate).

13. Logos: The only logo or brand you should be wearing is your own, if you have one. It goes without saying, that you should not wear t-shirts with phrases or logos. (In most cases, you shouldn’t be wearing a t-shirt at all).


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