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 brand 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 and uncomfortable.
3. Accessorize your outfit
Jewelry can really elevate an outfit to the next level, making you look even more stylish and polished than your regular day to day look. (This is totally the reason why you accessorize for a night out!) 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!
4. Wear your brand colours
The purpose of these photos is to use them 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. (ie. try not to wear a hot pink blazer if your colour palette is soft blues and greens)
Good news is you still have creative freedom with how you incorporate your brand colours. You can either wear your colours boldly (for example a tasteful pantsuit so you are one colour head to toe) or incorporate them more subtly in your wardrobe (perhaps a scarf or pair of shoes in your brand colours paired with a neutral 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 may not be the look you want to achieve. But hey, if you're a flats girl at heart, then you do you! ;)
The benefit of heels is that they 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
The last thing you want is 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, which would result in clothing that appears ill fitting on camera and a subject that looks quite uncomfortable.
As a photographer, the last thing I would want is for my client to feel awkward or nervous in any way. (Photo shoots can be a bit nerve-wrecking as is!) Also 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 pressure to go above and beyond your usual attire in order to look glam for a photo shoot, but try not to push yourself into wearing anything you’re not comfortable with. The goal of a personal branding photo shoot is to showcase you and your wonderful personality! So 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 unfortunately they convey a less-than-professional message. (I know I know, your favourite sweater is super comfy! But girl I think it's time to treat yourself to a new one <3)
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 (ugh I'm SO relieved low rise jeans from the Britney era have passed) but your personal brand 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. (ie. every high school photo I've ever taken..)
11. Wear neon colours or busy prints
Bright, flashy clothing may be fun to wear in a casual setting (or an EDM concert) 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 maaaaayyybe 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 out instead!
Did you find these tips 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 FREE Brand Questionnaire I use with clients to define their brand direction. Sign up to have the PDF delivered right to your inbox!