Whether you’re going on camera for an interview or starring as an “actor” in a scene, you want your message to be the star of the show. You want people focused on your face and voice, not distracted by what you’re wearing. Colors, styles, and shapes translate differently through a lens than they do in reality. What might be the right outfit for an in-person interview may detract from your content on video.
So what can you wear in a video to ensure your viewer focuses on your message and brand?
1. Avoid white and black.
White often appears too bright on camera, “blinding” the viewer and washing out the subject. This often means people won’t be as drawn to your face, which can damage the intimate connection you want to build between speaker and viewer.
Black has the opposite problem. Although black is slimming, it can absorb too much light and can make the speaker look dull. Black can often create a “hole” in the lighting of the video that can make the lens have difficulty balancing exposure.
Moreover, harsh contrasts don’t always convert appropriately through video. This means that you shouldn’t wear a top that will contrast heavily with your skin tone and hair color.
2. Wear dark, muted colors.
Bright colors may draw the eye in person, but in a video they can be distracting. Studio lighting prefers dark, rich colors like navy, grey, purple, dark cream, and olive. You can also wear light pastels depending on skin tone and background. These provide enough color to be interesting without distracting from the face.
3. Consider the background.
When choosing a color to wear, consider the background as well. If the video will be using special effects and green screens, you don’t want to wear green—or you could end up a floating head. If you’re going to be shooting in a cityscape, dark colors may make you lost along the buildings. If you’re shooting in a natural landscape, earth tones can wash you out.
4. Avoid loud prints or patterns.
If possible, stick to solid colors. Patterns, even when subtle, can be distracting. This is true for shirts, suits, and even neckties or handkerchiefs. You should never wear anything loud or busy.
You’ll especially want to avoid pinstripes, herringbones, and tweeds. Lines that are too close together can look like they are “strobing” on camera. If your video will be played on television, you especially want to be aware of vertical patterns. Standard TVs use horizontal scan lines, so they have trouble displaying vertical lines like pinstripes. This creates a “moiré” effect, where the patterns compete for visual dominance and create a blurry, disrupted display.
5. Know your body shape.
Everyone knows that the camera adds 10 pounds. This is simply because the speaker is emphasized on camera, taking up a majority of the scene with little context or environment around them. You don’t want to feel insecure or timid while on camera, so make sure you dress comfortably and in a way that will highlight your best features. Wear shaped (not tight) clothing that is fitted in certain spots to avoid looking lumpy or larger on camera.
6. Wear subtle accessories.
Shiny or sparkly jewelry can catch the camera lights and create an imbalance of light. Stick to small chains, pearls, and non-reflective watches. Moreover, your jewelry shouldn’t rattle or clank, as these can create disruptive noise in the microphone and take away from your message.
Avoid wearing sunglasses on your head or in your shirt, as these can reflect light and images. If you wear glasses, these too can cause glare off the lights. If possible, switch to contacts when filming. If you’re wearing glasses, let the production crew know ahead of time so they can position the lights in a way that will minimize glare.
7. Wear breathable clothing.
If you’re shooting a video, you’re likely using some form of external or studio lighting as well. These lights can make you hot and sweaty. You don’t want to sweat through your clothes and appear red and oily on camera. Choose thin, breathable, and natural fabrics.
8. Know your audience.
Wear what your audience wears. In most cases, you want to appear as relatable to your viewer. You want to connect with them through the video. What you wear and how you present yourself can create a deeper connection. For example, if your ideal viewer loves to workout, wear workout clothes. If they’re music lovers, you can wear a shirt of your favorite band. Use clothing and accessories to tell more about your personality and brand.
9. Keep hair and makeup natural.
You want to feel comfortable on camera. Now is not the time to experiment with new hairstyles or makeup looks.
For hair, you may want to use hairspray to tame fly-aways, which can appear more prominent on camera. For long hair, pull back in a braid, ponytail, or bun to keep out of the face. Avoid products that make hair shiny, like lots of gel or spray.
For makeup, keep it neutral and natural. Most cameras now are advanced enough to pick up on makeup, so you don’t need to make it too heavy as was necessary in the past. Focus on makeup that will emphasize your eyes and lips, which are the parts of the face that viewers are most drawn to naturally.
10. Use logo shirts sparingly.
Wearing a shirt with a logo can subtly create brand awareness and soft-selling to your audience, but it can also distract viewers. We recommend wearing a branded shirt when talking about your company, like in an about us video. Avoid wearing a logo in videos that are focused more on customers or narrative.
Always wear clothing that will enhance your message.
11. Have options.
Bring a few options with you on the day of shooting. You can then talk to the videographer to determine what would work best with the scene, the lights, and the brand. You may also want to bring a brush and makeup to do touchups before shooting.
The Bottom Line
You want the viewer to focus on you and the content, not on your clothing. Wear something that will make you confident; confidence is key to effectively sharing your message.
Not sure what to wear for your big video debut? Contact True Film Production now to create the perfect shot list for your brand’s video content.
Whether you want to launch an idea, spark a movement or simply get people talking about what you do, you have one shot
at delivering your message in a way that matters. Let’s make sure you do it right.