You do you: what to wear on a personal branding shoot
Updated: Apr 27
"Yes, we can definitely photograph your F*ck the Tories necklace."
Excerpt from a conversation I had about outfit choices for a photoshoot with a very cool leader in the charity sector.
(If you're lucky enough not to know who the Tories are, in short they're the hard right party currently making life very hard in the UK).
One of the things I help my clients with is deciding what the heck to wear for their shoot.
Clothing choices are something that many of my clients stress over - and should never be a reason to put off being visible. So, I've written this article to share my thoughts in case you need some help.
From a short headshots shoot to a full personal branding, I am always available to help my clients think through how they want to present themselves. It's important. It's impossible (at least for someone who isn't a professional stylist) to recommend to people specific things to wear. It's so personal! So here's what I usually say...
What to wear for your brand photoshoot
🐛 You do you. Your clothes / jewellery / tattoos say a lot about you. So let's photograph it. No smartening up or self-editing required.
💃 Wear what you feel good in and have a good try on in the run up.
🧵 Think about what you'd wear if you were hanging out with the people you intend to see these photos (if you were being your authentic self)
Oh, also - befriend your iron.
Seriously though, I'm a big believer in expressing your personality through what you wear.
Long gone are the days where people are expected to dress up in a suit (thank God, my skirt suit days were not my finest fashion era). Ok, some poor folk still need to don the pinstripes, but not the creative changemakers I love to work with.
Variety is the spice of life
Another important aspect to clothing and accessories is that they help you to create variety in your photos. So, even on a 30 minute shoot I always recommend bring a change of sweater or jacket that you can easily whip on and off.
The same goes for scarves and even hats. You may also want to experiment with having your hair both up and down, and putting glasses on or off.
What not to wear
If your budget allows, working with a stylist can be a great way to find outfit choices you feel great in. Some stylists work with you and your existing wardrobe so that you don't need to go out and buy new stuff. Failing that, if you have a stylish friend or family member you can ask for advice, lean on them! And maybe even pilfer a few items from their wardrobe.
The only specific styling tip I do offer is to avoid wearing all black. It photographs quite flat, making you look like a two dimensional silouette. Other dark colours are fine (navy, grey, brown).
But what about my hair and makeup?
If you never wear makeup, you definitely don't need to crack out the lipstick for your shoot. Again, go with your usual look - and definitely consider finding a makeup artist you trust if you need your makeup to be on point.
In recent times I've started using what one of my clients called 'digital foundation' - in other words a bit of skin smoothing in the editing process. I'm always in two minds whether it's a good thing or not, and it's a personal decision so I always ask people if they would like a bit of teeth whitening or wrinkle ironing (many do!).
Hair is also something that keeps people up at night, you can almost guarantee it won't play ball on the day of your shoot. So, again, think about timing a haircut for the same day if you love the way it looks. Or, if you're like me, give it at least a week after going to the salon for it to bed in and so you can figure out how you want to wear it on the day.
Still looking for tips to help you prepare for your personal branding photoshoot? Look no further. Head here to read my Ultimate Guide to Personal Branding Photography.
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I create personality-packed brand photos for camera-shy changemakers in the Netherlands and London.
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