So you are a small business planning for your upcoming brand photography session, and you are probably wondering, what do I wear?
There are so many aspects that contribute to creating a great photo: lighting, location, preparation, props, scenery.. and of course the outfit.
Why do you need to know what to wear for a branding shoot and why is your outfit so important? Two reasons.
First, photos are all about telling the story and using visuals, color, contrast, and light to do so. The outfit can either compliment the story and enhance the photo, or distract from it. For example, if you come to me with a mood board of photos that you love that are all light and airy with pastels and neutrals, but then you show up to your photoshoot wearing black, blue, red, or a darker tone, we are not going to be as successful getting you that light and airy look. Or say you and your brand are super colorful and bold, it wouldn’t make sense to show up wearing a creamy white or beige (unless we had a bright color pop background behind you).
The second reason is that what you wear can really impact how you feel. Think about how you feel when you wear your favorite outfit – it can be anything, maybe your favorite sweatpants or a new fancy shirt – how do you feel.. comfortable, confident, happy?
Now think about how you feel when your outfit is off, maybe the shirt is too tight and showing off areas you didn’t want to be seen, maybe the slit on the skirt is too high showing off too much when you cross your legs. Maybe the summer dress is perfect but as soon as you move your arm the bra strap shows every time. See how clothing can actually have a lot of power over our confidence?
So what does a professional brand photographer suggest you do? Here are my top 8 tips to keep in mind when you are planning outfits for your business photoshoot.
1. Start with your vision for the photos. What are you using these photos for? Who is the audience? This will help you determine the overall vibe, are you trying to be professional? Are you trying to be casual and show you more behind the scenes? Knowing the what and why first will help you plan the best outfit.
2. Create a mood board where you gather a variety of photos that you like and that inspire you. You can use a mood board to get direction on many things, but outfit inspiration is a big one. I have my clients create a board on Pinterest. Once you do this you will get a better sense for the overall aesthetic you are trying to achieve, which can then help you determine outfit, location, and props.
3. Keep your brand colors top of mind as you plan outfits. Whether you have identified brand colors or not, you most likely have colors on your website, your business cards, and social media, a tone and vibe that your audience is connecting with. Try to be consistent with your photos so that it carries the same feel throughout, you want your branding images to compliment and match the rest of the work you are creating.
4. Get creative with what you already have in your closet, your photoshoot outfit doesn’t have to be an outfit you would wear every day, as long as you feel good in it and it has the right colors and vibe for your photos. Have an open mind and start to try on and mix and match things, you might be surprised at how much you already have to work with.
5. The other option is to shop around! Whether you splurge on a fancy new outfit or you find amazing deals at TJ Maxx, sometimes new close are exciting and make you feel so good!
6. Which leads me to my next suggestion, make sure you feel good in the outfit you pick for your brand photoshoot. Try the outfit on, lift your arms, twirl around, sit cross legged, jump up and down (yes, I may ask you to jump up and down… jk!) – does your outfit show off any parts of your body that you wouldn’t want on camera? Does the shirt start to wrinkle as soon as you sit in a chair? Does your bra start to show as soon as you move your arms around? Are your shoes comfortable enough to walk around? During a lifestyle band photoshoot you probably are not going to be standing still in one place the entire time, so try the outfit on with different posing and make sure it still feels good.
7. Plan multiple outfits, even if you don’t use them, you want to avoid the realization that you all of a sudden hate your outfit when you getting dressed for your photoshoot. Your mood and emotional state can impact how good you feel in an outfit that day, so plan a few backup outfits just incase.
8. There can be a seasonal component to photos. There are some clients who love seasonal photos for social media (I highly recommend this!), in which case it is important to intentionally dress for the season. Other times, say for a website or headshots, you might want to avoid seasonal so that it is more of a timeless image. In that case, I would avoid summer dresses, heavy sweaters, or anything else that might feel strange to use all year round.
Your photographer can definitely help you along the way with outfits and planning. But ultimately you know what looks and feels best on you. Keep these suggestions in mind, and start playing around with outfits so you feel confident your next time in front of the camera.