What To Wear (And Not Wear) When You're On Camera
Clothes Can Affect Your Video Performance. Here Are 10 Tips On What To Wear On Camera.
What should you wear during a video production? Believe it or not, the clothes you choose can have a huge impact on your performance, and on how you look on video.
Some of these tips are about you—choosing clothing that you would normally wear, and will help you be your authentic self.
Other tips are more technical and based on how camera sensors work. Some colors and fabrics can be problematic during production.
So, here are my 10 tips on what to wear on camera:
1. Choose Comfortable Clothes
The first tip is to choose clothes that fit, and feel good. Being comfortable will help you be confident on camera. It also helps to wear clothes that you’ve worn before.
Wearing clothes that are tight or constricting can affect how you move, your posture, even your facial expressions.
Because clothes DO affect your mood. There have even been studies about it.
2. Project the Right Image
Another tip about what to wear on camera is to project the right image. In a corporate video, you probably want to project leadership and professionalism—so you’ll be wearing standard business attire.
If you’re a CEO, you probably shouldn’t wear sweatpants on camera (unless your company makes them of course).
And if you’re a female executive, you’ll want to avoid anything suggestive or revealing. Showing too much skin can undermine your credibility.
3. Beware of Pinstripes
The next tip is based on how televisions and computer monitors display video images.
Video images are made up of hundreds of vertical scan lines, and those narrow lines can distort when you wear fabrics with thin, vertical lines.
That’s why pinstripes, plaids, even herringbone patterns can cause problems, especially on broadcast TV.
The distortion is called a moiré pattern, and the solution is pretty simple—avoid wearing plaids and pinstripes.
4. Minimize Wrinkles
Some fabrics, like linen, look awesome when you first put them on, but start showing wrinkles soon after. And wrinkled clothing can make you seem nervous.
You’re much better off wearing wrinkle-free fabrics, so you come across as more professional, and “put together.”
5. Beware of Blacks
Setting exposure on a camera can be tricky. If dark tones are underexposed, they can look black, with lost detail. Adjusting exposure isn’t a problem—that is, unless you have a pale complexion.
Then the brighter exposure will make your light skin lighter, in an unflattering way.
6. Watch Out for Whites
If you have dark skin, the opposite is also true. Wearing bright white clothing makes it hard to set exposure.
If I lower the camera settings to expose the white clothes properly, dark skin tones may appear too dark.
And if the dark skin tones are filmed with proper exposure, the white clothing will be bright, even glowing on camera.
The solution is to wear medium tones—light grey or beige.
7. Don’t Wear Red
Some camera sensors also have a hard time with reds. Bright red objects can “bleed” and make nearby objects appear red as well. So wearing a red dress, for example, can make your skin appear ruddy.
If you must wear red, make it burgundy or maroon.
8. Solid Colors Are Good
That’s plenty of tips about what NOT to wear. So what SHOULD you wear?
It’s hard to go wrong with solid colors, such as blues, denims and teals.
Greens are okay too, unless we’re shooting green screen.
Patterns are also okay, as long as they’re not too busy or distracting.
9. Jewelry Can Be Good
Watches, bracelets, necklaces and earrings can all look great on camera. The only downside is noise—you shouldn’t wear anything that rattles when you move.
Shotgun microphones are extremely sensitive, and will pick up every clink and clank. And if a swinging necklace bumps into the lav mic pinned to your blouse, it can be extremely distracting.
10. Bring a Selection
If you still aren’t sure what to wear on camera, the best advice is to bring more than one outfit. Sometimes clothing choices can change based on surroundings and wall color.
Bottom line, you don’t want to overdress or underdress. Just be yourself, and wear the clothing you usually wear.
About the Author:
Harry Hayes is the owner and executive producer at Content Puppy Productions, a corporate video production agency based in Charlotte. Before starting Content Puppy, he spent 20+ years as an advertising writer and creative director.