What to Wear – or Not to Wear – On Camera

Heidi Klum for Max TVOn a recent workshop I hosted, I learned to my amazement that participants weren’t as much interested in the finer points of video marketing, equipment choices, and video SEO, but they did want to know all about how to look good on camera.

At first I thought I was the makeup of the group (young, female entrepreneurs), but turns out that my most read blog post is 10 On-Camera Tips to Showing Off Your Best Self.

Excellent, my peeps are stepping out from behind the scenes and into the limelight! So, in addition to the showing-off your best self on camera, I wanted to share some wardrobe tips to give you a full picture.Here some basic guidelines I send out to corporate types for the shoot day:

Please bring more than one outfit ‐ especially tops, and ties where appropriate, so we have some choices.

The camera picks up certain colors and patterns better than others.

  • Colors that work well are beige, blue/dark blue, gray, brown, purple, green, and pink
  • Wear a shirt that a microphone can be attached to
  • Avoid stark white or bright yellow shirts that tend to reflect light and be too vivid on camera
  • Avoid black suits, which tend to diminish your appearance because they absorb too much light
  • Avoid fabrics with complicated patterns such as checks, tight/close stripes, herringbones, tweeds, and loud plaids. Fabrics of this design tend to strobe on camera
  • Avoid neckties with bold, tightly designed patterns, including plaids, polka dots, and shiny fabrics. They too will flutter on camera
  • Avoid jewelry that rattles, or clanks, and might make noise
  • Avoid any logos and references to brands, including sports teams, locations, films, etc. 
  • Style your hair off your face to avoid shadows

The bottom line is: “less is more” and “keep it simple”. I also prefer people to stand and not sit in front of the camera if feasible, not only does it help your posture, it also makes your clothes look better on camera: less bunching, longer lines, and fabric can fall as it was intended to.

  • Choose a color you know complements your complexion. It’s probably the color you get the most compliments for looking great, when wearing
  • Stay with solids – can’t go wrong there
  • Avoid ruffled or asymmetric tops
  • Look at your outfit from waist up and from chest up – that’s what you’ll most likely will work with, don’t worry about shoes
  • Avoid scarves (I’m a HUGE fan of scarves, but for interviews or talking-head shots I take them off) – they are often a continuity nightmare and jump cuts will look awful. (Look up ‘continuity’ and ‘jump cut‘ here if you’re not sure what that is).

What I do, before deciding on an outfit, I put each of my choices on and take a photo and look at it on a big(ger) screen, to get a good impression of what it will look like on video.

Happy styling!

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