what to wear or what not to wear has been a questions prospective clients sometimes ask me prior to a photo shoot. I used to scratch my chin until I started thinking about it. if you’re having a photo shoot, either for personal reasons or business, the subject is you. so anything you wear, use as a prop or the backdrop that you’re set against should accent you and not conflict with you. that’s the rule of thumb.
I usually tell client that the first defining rule is the intended use of the picture: is it personal or for business? if it’s for personal use you definitely have more leeway. if you are taking acting, corporate or professional headshots, it may be wise to follow some basic standards. still the rules are not carved in stone. a freelance journalist needing a headshot for his blog may not follow the same requirements as a student applying for a job in a law firm. those differences aside, there are some universal considerations pertaining to style, color, accessories, grooming, makeup and hair.
the colors that you wear shouldn’t contrast too much with the background. wearing colors that are also too similar to the background can also cause the opposite effect of merging into it. though the photographer can use creativity, it’s a good idea to use colors that are not too bright for dark background or ones that are too light for a light background. black, gray, burgundy and dark brown are more suited to dark backgrounds. but if the photographer is working with a light background, try using light colors that are washed out like pastels, denim, beige and whites. in an outdoor setting the colors to avoid are definitely the ones that are dull because they don’t add anything to the composition.
some will say long sleeves are best but what you wear shouldn’t look dated. as a rule women with slim figure can get away with most anything but the ones on the heavy side should avoid bare arms because they can distract from the beauty of the face! You might consider bringing different items for different poses. what is most important is to wear the clothes that you feel comfortable in and let the photographer use his creativity. unless you’re a professional model, If you’re not at ease with how you look, it will show in your photographs!
Keep your jewelry to a minimum. Metals tend to create unwanted reflections. If you wear earrings, keep them small.
most women have basic skills for applying makeup. one thing to note is that there are some subtle variations in color that go unnoticed to the naked eye that the camera will pick up. so If you do your own makeup, make sure foundation is applied evenly to the face and all visible parts of the neck to avoid looking like you’re wearing a mask. for everything else, unless you’re experienced in applying makeup, it’s a good idea to use minimal makeup. a lot of makeup mistakes that are hardly unnoticeable in real life are magnified by the camera, especially in headshots and portraits. so if you have fake eyelashes with smear glue, you can be sure that the pictures will spell out loud ‘fake eyelashes with smear glue’. it’s beyond the photographer’s job to teach clients how to apply makeup because they may know a lot more about it. if the shoot involves changes of clothes, great care should be exercised to avoid getting makeup on clothes. most women routinely dress and wear makeup so there’s little to fear in that regard.
If you want to tie back your hair, try to use a bow, barrette or any accessory that doesn’t call too much attention. if you’re the creative type, you can change your style in between poses. you will certainly make sure to bring a brush and hair clips and do not forget the water spray bottle. there are certain things that the camera brings out like dyed hair with roots showing, so you need to make sure that the color mismatch doesn’t show on the pictures. recently dyed hair tends to be dry and brittle. If you have your hair dyed professionally, you’re sure that your hair stylist gave you some advice on how to maintain it. otherwise, have some type of moisturizer that you apply to the hair before the shoot. good looking hair gives much you more confidence so you can free your mind and focus on posing and how you look in front of the camera. if you have a friend, she may be able to give you some pointers, or you can use a mirror, take time to make sure that everything falls into place.
all of these are a few guidelines that apply mostly to portrait photography and headshots of a professional nature. but if you’re dealing with fashion and modeling, you have much greater freedom to innovate and come up with color combinations and styles that break the rules. the bottom line is to feel comfortable within, relax and be able to smile naturally, have fun and let your beauty from within shine!
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