Photo Ready Tips: Dress for Success

Desirée Damon, Multimedia Specialist
June 21, 2019

When it comes to websites and social media profiles, a picture is worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, for many people, the thought of taking a professional photo fills them with dread. Unlike the cover models of popular magazines, you don’t have an army of professional hair and makeup artists to get you ready, your office isn’t filled with the perfect lights and filters, and you weren’t born airbrushed and Photoshopped.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to look (and feel) your best in front of the camera – and they start before you even head to the shoot.

What to (and What Not to) Wear
Dressing for success is crucial, but your power suit may or may not be the best option in the closet. The most flattering clothing, jewelry or makeup will draw attention to the face by not drawing attention away from it.   

Solid, subdued colors are the least distracting, so they’re best suited for professional portraits. Bright colors, especially red, orange or yellow, can also make someone look larger than they really are. If you plan on wearing dark pants, choose a dark top as well. The same goes with lighter colors such as tan or olive. Contrasting tones between top and bottom make one half of the body look larger than the other – not a flattering look.1

Uncovered arms and legs are especially distracting. They have more skin area than the face, so they will always appear large in comparison.1 Again, not a flattering option! So always opt for long pants or a skirt that extends past the knee. Ladies, if you’re not wearing a jacket, choose a blouse with sleeves that extend to the elbow or lower.

If you’re going to be taking a group shot, coordinate outfits accordingly. Take a tip from a well-planned wedding party, and pick similar colors and patterns that all work well together.1 This way, no one stands out from the group in a distracting way.

Plan Ahead: Not a Hair Out of Place
Everyone knows a fresh hair cut takes time to get used to. It never looks exactly the same the day after you come home from the barber or salon. Make an appointment at least three days before a photoshoot to ensure that any roots are touched up and that you’re comfortable with styling your new hairdo.2,3 You want to make sure you still look like you. If you wax or tweeze, make sure to do this at least 24 hours before the photoshoot as well, to avoid any potential redness or puffiness.3

The one exception to this is shaving. If shaving is part of your morning routine, but the photoshoot isn’t until later in the day, you may need to touch up around lunchtime to avoid the dreaded five o’clock shadow. If you use a moisturizer after shaving, avoid ones with sunscreen – or you may end up with a whitish glare on your face.3

Get Your Beauty Rest
When you look and feel your best, not only will the photoshoot be a more pleasant experience, but the end result will reflect it. So, above all else, relax. Avoid dark circles and puffy eyes by getting a good night sleep. If you need any reading material before bedtime, check out the reference links below for additional tips on picking the perfect outfit.

Clothing for Portraits – How to Tell your Subjects What to Wear

2 Preparing for Your Photoshoot: The Beauty Checklist

3 Photoshoot Prep for Men

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