What Not to Wear

March is ‘Getting Down to Business’ month at my studio. Schedule an appointment for your business portrait and receive a second finished image along with the one included in your session at no extra cost!  Contact my studio now for details!  http://www.southhillstudio.com/contact.htm

One of my favorite television indulgences is the TLC series, “What Not to Wear”. While I don’t watch every episode, I tune in now and then just to see what hosts Stacy and Clinton are doing for their latest fashion ‘victim.’ Sometimes I like the suggestions they make, sometimes not so much.

It’s a little like what I do for my business clients when planning their studio session. The difference being, of course, that I don’t tell clients that they must throw out everything in their closet before we start. Instead, here are some straight-forward, simple suggestions to help you look your  best in front of the camera and in your final business portrait. Thought I’d share them with you.

Attorney Jim Britain recently updated his business portrait.  Note that he selected a light blue shirt instead of the usual white.
Attorney Jim Britain recently updated his business portrait. Note that he selected a light blue shirt instead of the usual white.

1) Keep patterns to a minimum.  Solid colors, other than white, are usually more flattering to everyone and ‘read’ better in a business portrait. If you must wear something patterned, make it in the blouse or shirt beneath a jacket or sweater. Or better yet, as a scarf or tie. White dress shirts beneath a suit jacket are fine.

2)  Iron everything before  you arrive. There’s nothing worse than rumpled garments in a business portrait. Removing wrinkles from an image is costly and time-consuming.

3) Accessorize.  For women especially, a necklace or scarf can change the look of an entire outfit and is quick to do. For men, a couple different ties or a vest can make accomplish the same thing.

4) Bring two different sets of clothing. I allow my clients a change of clothing during their portrait session and encourage them to select one outfit that is more casual, perhaps even more ‘fashion-forward’  than the first. There are times when they need an image that is not quite a formal as the one on the website for promotional or publicity purposes. It’s easier, and more economical for my clients, to switch clothing at the initial session than to come back later.

For a second, more casual business look, Carolyn wore a sweater insteadl of the jacket.
For a second, more casual business look, Carolyn wore a sweater instead of the jacket.
Carolyn Coughlin chose a black suit for her website portrait.
Carolyn Coughlin chose a black suit for her website portrait.

5) Avoid clothing with fashion logos on them.  Whether you know it or not, a fashion logo subliminally sends a message to your clients. You want the focus on you, not who makes your clothing.

6)  Hats are a no-no. I love hats. I wear them all the time. But for a business portrait, unless you’re an artist with a paint palette in your hand, leave the hat off.

7) Glasses. If at all possible, ask your optician if you can borrow a set of empty frames like yours or similar to your for your portrait session. It helps to cut down on glass glare in the portrait and saves artwork time afterwards. If you don’t always wear your glasses, be sure to remove them for some images.

8)  Under-eye baggage.  Try to get a good night’s rest the evening before your portrait session. Everyone has shadows under their eyes but dark shadows due to lack of sleep are bad for business.

9) Easy on the make-up. Contrary to what a lot of people think, you don’t need to wear heavy make-up for a studio portrait. Most studio lighting used doesn’t require it. The type of make-up a woman might wear for a ‘glamour’ style portrait certainly isn’t appropriate for a business or professional portrait.

10) Hair today… Unless yours is a portrait for a hair salon, stick with your usual hairstyle, the one  familiar to your clients. If you’ve updated your hairstyle and plan to stick with it, then you need an updated business portrait as well. A trim a day or two before is fine, but if you need a cut, do so at least two weeks prior to your portrait appointment.

I hope that these tips are helpful. Your business portrait is an important part of your marketing effort. Take care in planning and selecting your portrait so that it sends the message you want to your business’ clients and customers.

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