What to wear for a photoshoot

3P5A6831_ppI often provide on-site, corporate portraits and headshots for corporate clients in their own offices, and a question I am frequently asked is: “What should I wear for my upcoming photoshoot?”.

Here are a few brief tips to keep in mind, which apply not only for corporate headshots but also generally to any portrait session.

Put on your power suit

More than anything else, the most important feature of a good corporate portrait is to look professional and relaxed. A corporate portrait will be used for a variety of purposes: in-house publications, on the company websites, LinkedIn, etc. You want the photo to project confidence, skill and to make you look like the kind of person other people would like to work with. It sounds simplistic, but it is quite difficult to look good and relaxed, comfortable, poised and in control if you don’t feel it first. So choose an outfit that you feel powerful in.

Now for the technical dos and donts

While the above holds true in all situations, there are some simple rules of thumb to keep in mind when preparing for your photoshoot. A general guding principle is that you want good contrast and clothes that flatter you in which you look and feel your best. Here are a few more, easy to remember, dos and donts:

Do:

  • Favor solid colours over busy patterns – you want the focus of the image to be you, not your clothes
  • Choose colours that match your skin tones – we come in all shapes and colours, so choose what fits and matches you best
  • Wear dark colours if you want to look slimmer – but keep in mind where the photos will be taken (i.e., if against a dark background, you will blend in if your colours are too dark. In that case, choose something lighter.)
  • Take extra care of all your personal grooming – be well rested, shaved in the right places, showered, hair clean, brushed and neat looking, brushed teeth and a bit of makeup (lips, cheeks, forehead) goes a long way (even for men).
  • Think about the background. If your photos are going to be taken in your office which has beige walls, don’t wear a beige suit. In general, try to wear darker, solid colours. White can work, but again, if your walls are bright white you can get lost in it.

Don’t

  • Don’t wear clothes in which you easily overheat. A photo session is work – lights will shine on you, you will be moving around, posing, trying out different positions and may also feel a little nervous and self-conscious. All that usually causes people to perspire. You can do yourself a favour by wearing clothes that breathe.
  • Don’t be too trendy. Stick to the classics – trendy styles come and go but if you choose a straight, classic look, your photo will be useful across a wide range of applications and give you plenty of time before you need a new one.
  • Don’t be too self-conscious. It is natural to feel that way, of course, but your photographer is your friend. A good one will not choose images that don’t flatter you so don’t worry and feel awkward about the way you look. Everyone has a good side!

And finally, have fun. A photoshoot can be enjoyable. Even if it is just a short break in your day, it’s fun to have someone come to your office, and tell you how good you look. Enjoy it!