As an entrepreneur, your clothing choices are an important factor to showcase your brand image. What you wear communicates a lot about your personality and professionalism, meaning it can have a major impact on first impressions as well.
Likewise, if you’re planning a personal branding photo shoot, you may find yourself wondering “what do I wear?”
As a brand photographer, clients often ask me this question. Based on my experience, I have compiled the following list of wardrobe do’s and don’ts so that you can feel confident and prepared for your own photo shoot.
1. Wear solid colours
While picking out your wardrobe, you may find yourself gravitating towards your favourite printed pieces, but this is actually not the best decision. Florals, stripes and polka-dots may look great for your day-to-day wear, but they actually have the opposite effect in branding photography.
Prints can sometimes be distracting in photographs, stealing attention away from you as the focus of the image, or even clashing with items in the background. Instead, it’s best to wear solid pops of colour which complement you without creating too much distraction.
2. Wear clothes that fit well
There’s nothing worse than ill-fitting clothing to ruin your professional image. Any clothing you choose should be properly fitted, look professional and complement your figure. Likewise, avoid wearing anything that’s either loose and slouchy or skin tight.
3. Accessorize your outfit
Jewelry can really elevate an outfit to the next level, making you look even more stylish and polished. Just remember that less is more with jewelry, so keep the number of pieces you wear to a minimum and limit the focal point to one area. For example, don’t wear big earrings together with a big necklace; just choose one and let it shine on its own.
4. Wear your brand colours
Your photos will ultimately be used on your website and other marketing materials, so it’s a good idea to keep your brand colours in mind when choosing your wardrobe. Don’t wear colours that are completely off brand for you because they may end up clashing with the other visual elements of your branding. You can either wear your colours boldly or incorporate them more subtly in your wardrobe – it’s up to you!
5. Wear heels
Heels can leave you feeling a little sore, but the style they add to your outfit is well worth it. Flats may be a more practical option for daily wear, but for the purpose of a photo shoot, they can shorten the look of your body which is somewhat unflattering.
On the other hand, heels elongate your legs and body, creating a long, lean line which is extremely flattering to most figures. Nude heels are a good choice if you’re planning to wear them against your bare legs, or, if you’re wearing pants, choose a colour of shoe that matches them.
6. Bring wardrobe options
You want to get as much out of a single photo shoot as possible, so make sure to bring multiple pre-styled looks to change into. By bringing extra clothing and tops in particular, you can get a variety of looks in your photos, giving you more choice and a wider range of uses for your final photo collection.
Certain items may also be better suited to different lighting conditions or settings, so it’s good to have a number of options to choose from. You may want to bring some dressier and more casual looks with you as well, since they can help to highlight your professionalism, individual personality and sense of style.
7. Wear anything too tight or uncomfortable
This point should go without saying. The last thing either you or the photographer wants, is for you to feel uncomfortable in front of the camera because of your clothing choices. Anything too tight, finicky or irritating to the skin will leave you constantly tugging and adjusting the garment.
This ultimately translates to the photos, making you look awkward and uncomfortable in general. Keep in mind, most photo shoots can take up to a few hours, so make sure you’ll be comfortable in whatever you’re wearing.
8. Wear something you wouldn’t normally wear
It’s easy to feel pressured to go above and beyond your usual attire in order to look impressive for a photo shoot, but try not to push yourself into wearing anything you’re not comfortable with. The whole point of a personal branding photo shoot is to showcase you and your personality, so don’t try to be someone you’re not. Embrace your uniqueness and show it through your own personal sense of style.
9. Wear clothing that is worn out, old or wrinkled
You want to look polished and professional in your personal branding images, so wearing old, worn out clothing is counterintuitive. Faded colours, stretched out tops or sweaters with pilling don’t photograph well and they convey a less-than-professional message.
Save your favourite, well-worn pieces for home and wear something that’s fairly new or in good condition for your photo shoot instead. If you’ve already looked through your closet and still can’t find anything that fits the bill, then look on the bright side; at least it’s a great excuse to go shopping!
10. Wear pieces that are super trendy
Fashion trends will come and go, but your photos will be sticking around for a while. Considering all the time and effort you put into your personal branding images, you want them to last you for a while so that you can use them again and again. Wear something classic that flatters your figure so you can make sure that you’ll be looking back on these photos fondly and not with regret.
11. Wear neon colours or busy prints
Bright, flashy clothing may be fun to wear in a casual setting, but it can be fairly distracting and jarring to look at for a long time, making it a poor choice for your photo shoot wardrobe. Even if neon colours or prints represent your brand, it’s better to incorporate them subtly through your jewelry, a scarf, or props like office supplies, and keep the other visual elements of the shoot simple. Otherwise, they’re bound to overpower the image, causing viewers to be more focused on your wardrobe than on you.
12. Show too much skin
Your personal branding photos are going to be used for your business and self-promotion so it's better to sway to more conservative clothing rather than revealing pieces. The point of your photos is to make sure you are taken seriously by your clients, so don’t choose clothing that shows a lot of skin, even if you have the confidence to do so. Wear clothing that’s more modest and respectable for your photo shoot and save the mini-skirt and low-cut tops for a girls’ night our instead!
Did you find these questions helpful when planning your wardrobe for your personal branding photo shoot? Let me know in the comments, and if you have any other questions, feel free to ask!
If you are planning a brand photo shoot download my questionnaire I use with clients to define their brand direction. Sign up below to have the PDF delivered right to your inbox!