When you are preparing for your Personal Branding Photograph what you wear can make the world of difference. Follow these simple suggestions to ensure that you
My name is Peter Nutkins, I am a Specialist Portrait Photographer. My clients are busy executives who want professional, studio-quality service at their workplace, home or favourite location.
In the world of websites, your Personal Branding Photograph (sometimes called a headshot) is how you create your best first impression with a potential client. Indeed, it is likely that this could be a customer’s deciding factor to do business with you. Your headshot is representative of your best “you” and will speak volumes about your professionalism and your business. A great Personal Branding Photograph will reinforce your credibility. A poor one can, and will, deter business.
Clothing is an extremely important factor in your finished portrait, but it is not the focus. The focus is your face. With proper clothing, your face will command attention and the clothing will become secondary. Wearing the wrong clothing takes attention away from where you want it – on you and your face.
Here are my suggestions:
- Darker is more professional. The darker the suit or clothing the more professional you will appear. For a traditional, conservative business portrait which conveys success, I suggest deep colours such as navy blues and greys. Remember, the darker the colour, the more professional your finished portrait will look, not to mention the fact darker colours are more slimming. Please note that a white shirt is great with a dark suit.
- Dress to slim. Darker colours are slimming; lighter colours are not. Solid colours are slimming; bold patterns amplify your shape. A single colour from head to toe (i.e. a suit) is slimming. Vertical lines are slimming; horizontal lines are the opposite. The v-neck shape is slimming. This is achieved by the cut of a jacket, blouse, shirt or sweater. Single-breasted jackets are more slimming than double-breasted. For women wanting a full-length portrait, try to avoid wide belts. If wearing a belt, make sure it is a darker colour, again to slim the waistline and to keep the viewer’s attention to your face.
- Make sure your clothing is well tailored. It will be plainly obvious if both your shirt and/or jacket do not fit in your finished portrait. Men, make sure you can comfortably button the top button of your dress shirt. Ladies, huge ‘cover all’ jumpers look great in a lifestyle photo but not for a business image.
- Keep it simple. Overly busy patterns are not good, be it a jacket, shirt or blouse. Bright or busy jackets, shirts and blouses will distract the viewer’s eye from your face in your finished portrait. Shirt and blouses will sometimes need to be retouched due to a wrinkle in the fabric, and patterns on that fabric will make this more difficult. I do not want to count the hours I have spent getting thread patterns in clothing to look right.
- Hair. Have a comb on hand. It can make the world of difference. For men, please do not cut your hair the day before your shoot. It will look like you just got a haircut.
- Shaving. Men, if your appointment is in the morning, shave earlier in the day to let any razor burn dissipate and to allow any nicks to heal. If your appointment is late in the day, and you have a heavy beard, please consider shaving again mid-day.
- Neckwear. For the women, should you want to wear a necklace, think about bringing multiple options so that your photographer can give you an opinion as to what will work best for you. For men, please feel free to have multiple tie selections. Your photographer will be able to tell you which one will work best with your skin tone and ensemble.
- Long sleeves. For men and women, it is best not to wear something sleeveless or short sleeves. This may cause you to look heavier, and bright arms will lead the viewer’s eyes to the bottom edges of your image and away from your face.
- Other considerations. Your hands may appear in your finished portrait. Please make sure your nails are freshly manicured. If you wear glasses most of the time, then you should wear them for your portrait. Your photographer will be able to avoid glare. For best results, consider bringing an extra frame with no lenses.
- Make sure you are well rested before your portrait session. Try to get a good night’s sleep the night before and remember to hydrate. Dark circles and puffy bloodshot eyes can be retouched with Photoshop, but a fresh face is instantly more attractive than a tired one.