In the first two tip guides in this series I talked about how to prepare your clients for their first video and how to give better interviews, this guide is more—personal—it’s about how to dress on camera so your clients look their best.
Not Rocket Science
While looking good on camera isn’t rocket science, it is all about science—the science of how images are caught on video. There are just a few things that cameras pick up and accentuate that our eyes usually don’t see—except on video, then they stick out like a sore thumb. This guide is going to cover clothes, jewelry, hair, and, yes, makeup. All the tips your clients need to look great.
Let’s get this out of the way first, everyone—yes you too guys—can use a little makeup on camera. For men a little light powder is often good enough. Powder takes the shine off skin so you don’t look like a greasy teenager (no offense to teenagers, we were all teens once). Women usually have this handled, guys, just ask for some help in the office. Seriously, guys, a little powder is fine— no one will be able to tell and your forehead won’t be gleaming under the lights like a beacon.
For women, a normal amount of makeup is fine. No need to go to full on stage makeup. Be natural and don’t over do it.
What Not to Wear—Yes Color Does Matter
Once and a while you see someone on TV news who just looks…wrong. More correctly, when you see them on screen, you see through them and see the weather map or other graphics through them. That, folks, is because the person on camera was wearing the wrong color clothes. If you’re appearing on camera avoid wearing solid strong blues, greens, or reds. These colors don’t “read” well on camera and should be avoided. Clothes with those colors as accents are fine though. it’s the large blocks of solid color that are a problem. By the same token, black and white can be a problem as well. These strong colors can be hard to light properly so you look don’t look washed out (wearing too much black) or too dark (lots of white). Light colors and neutrals tend work best and help create a flattering look on camera.
I See a Pattern Here
Like colors, intricate patterns can be troublesome on camera as well. Checks, plaids, complex designs, and brightly-colored bold patterns at times don’t translate well on screen. Stick to either simple, broad patterns or something so subtle it doesn’t “read” on camera. If given a choice, however, no pattern and sticking with solid colors is much better for everyone on camera.
No Logos, Except Your Own
Unless the logo is your own, don’t wear it on camera. Other logos are distracting not to mention you’re also promoting someone else in your client’s video.
The Bangles Were a Great Band, Just Don’t Wear Them
If you’re going to be on camera try to wear as little jewelry as possible, and especially avoid flashy, noisy jewelry that will be distracting on camera. Wearing jangling bracelets will make recording great sound nearly impossible. Likewise, any big, flashy jewelry that keeps catching the light will distract viewers and make the video about the necklace or bracelet, not your client. This doesn’t mean forgoing all jewelry—just keep it simple so the focus is on the person not the bling.
Bonus: Have Options On Hand and Be Flexible
When I’ve been on camera for TV or the web, I usually brought two or three shirts with me. Then I let the videographer or producer tell me which one would look best on camera (and me for that matter). Encourage your clients to have a couple different options on hand for the day of the shoot. Also let your client know that if they can’t wear their favorite necklace, watch, or bracelet that it’s just to make the best video possible. It’s not personal, you just want your client to look great on camera. Now who doesn’t want to look great on camera?
Why It Matters
Why do the right clothes, makeup, and jewelry even matter in a video shoot? Frankly, if the video is shot and it turns out in editing that those wrist bangles jingled every time your client moved or your client’s shirt pattern created camera interference that can’t be corrected, the shoot will have to be scrapped and redone. That’s going to take extra time and cost extra money. Most of the time a good videographer won’t let a video get to that point, but if your client insists on a particular shirt (or didn’t bring other options) or won’t take that necklace off then the shoot might just proceed and…well it might not look great in the end.
Photo from Vancouver Film School on Flickr.