Styling Headshot and Branding Photography: What do I wear??

by | Dec 22, 2022 | Brand Photography, Sessions

Figuring out What to Wear

It’s a necessary evil…

I don’t personally love being in front of the camera. That’s a big part of why I’m usually the one behind it. If that’s where I am… you know what I’m saying. Anyway, what I’m telling you is I know what it’s like to feel uncomfortable having your photo taken. I *also* know what it’s like to embrace the awkward, and make it happen anyway. But whether you’re a “I’m not really into having pictures taken” person, or a “cheesy smiles on cue” kind of person… if you have a business, you’re going to need brand photos. And if that business is service based, those pictures? They’re going to be pretty damn focused on you.

Brand photography is incredibly important for businesses – it does everything from make you stand out to your ideal clients, to setting the tone for your service suite to those clients you attracted. Yeah, it’s THAT powerful. But we’re going to talk more about that another day. What’s important today is that those images? The powerful magical ones? They’re only able to do those magic things if they’re targeted properly. And targeting them means styling, baby.

As someone who pretty much lives in a mom-bun, and may or may not have an obsession with comfy pajamas, I can understand how intimidating the word “styling” might seem. Especially if you’re a business owner who works primarily online. For example: My web designer has one of those Oodie things, and she shows up to professional meetings in that, no lie. If I asked her to “style” herself for a photo session… I can see the blank stare now. So if that’s you – if you hear “styling” and your brain floats over to some wild fashion week latex suit, I’ve got you.

Let’s break it down…

Not only can I help personally work with you to style you for your session, I’ve got three basic points you should think about when you’re choosing what to wear for your branding and/or headshot photography session.

Think About Mood

Where do we start?

The first one is the most overarching, and if you’re a business owner, you’ve probably already thought about this. It’s the mood. You’ve gotta set the right mood. Think about your client/customer experience. Do you have a physical location? An office? What kind of services do you offer? What’s your industry? For example, if you’re a tech start-up looking for new company headshots, it’s likely going to be best to go with a clean tone in your images. We can be a little nerdy and quirky depending on what it is that you actually do, and what values underly that work, but we’ve got to take all of those components into account when we’re choosing!
Another great example is brand images for a Yoga studio. It wouldn’t make sense for the mood in the images for a Yoga studio to match the mood for a tech startup. Unless the tech startup makes Yoga props, which I guess could theoretically happen. The world is wild, after all. The point I’m making, is the clothing you choose should match the mood that aligns with your business’s overall brand.

Are you super professional when working with clients? We should bring that into your clothing choices so that it’s communicated in the mood. Casual and fun? Really like doughnuts? My own brand images are a great example of this – it would be super weird if I was wearing a black pinstripe pant-suit in those, right? I think you get it.

Think About Color

The Mood helps with this one!

Once we’ve thought about mood, color becomes even easier to choose! And it’s even easier still if you have a professionally designed brand, with a palette that’s used on your online presence overall. A palette from a pro gives you a starting point – so if you’ve got one of those, follow it! If your brand designer has given you a palette of greens (and those align with your business’s strategy and ideal clients) then you should probably work green into your outfit! But if you don’t have that starting point, think about the colors we can work with, and what they’ll communicate.

Color psychology is a whole topic in and of itself, and we definitely don’t have time here to even begin to cover it. But color plays a massive role in continuing to set the tone for your ideal clients. This is where you can get into some juxtaposition to make your point, too! Think about the difference between a black, standard suit… and a neon blue one. Those make pretty different points, right? Set pretty different tones? (The answer is yes, in case you were wondering.)

So: Going for professional but sassy? Add a pop of color into your outfit. In particular blues, reds, and hot pinks do well here. Trying to communicate a casual, laid back, but professional approach? Consider jeans (gasp) and a semi-professional shirt in a subtle color from your palette (or that you pick). Are you EXTRA quirky, and looking for clients who love that about you? Show it off! Don’t be afraid of color and patterns, and dressing as you would in your natural habitat.

Think About Comfort

Ya gotta be comfy, and I’m not sorry about it.

Speaking of your natural habitat… the last thing to think about is the one most people ignore, but it’s also the most important! Comfort. Think about your comfort. This isn’t just logistical, either! It’s about the final images you’ll get out of your session, too.

Logistically speaking, it sucks to walk around the city in clothes that make you feel uncomfortable. Or shoes that make you uncomfortable – those are worse. Depending on the sets we’ve chosen for your session, we might be walking a bit, and I want you to take that into account.

But being comfortable goes further than the logistics! It also shows in your final images. People will be able to tell when they look at your pictures whether you were comfy when we took them. There are already a ton of components you’ll be thinking about (okay to be fair I’ll think about most of them for you, but the point still stands). “Did I move my hair to the right place?” and “Is my arm far enough forward?” and “Did that sip of coffee look weird?” will swim around in your head, at least at the beginning of your session before you forget I’m there. We don’t want “Ow, my toes” or “I can’t breathe” to be added to that list! We want you to feel like your absolute best self during your session, so that’s who we capture. And that person? They’re COMFY.

When in doubt: Ask Me!!

You don’t have to do it alone.

There’s two options if you’ve read this far: you’re either feeling super confident about choosing clothes for your session, or… you’re overwhelmed. If you’re feeling confident, that’s awesome! I’m glad it helped. (Please imagine me taking a tiny bow to an imaginary crowd.) But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s okay too!

That’s why I’m here. We can have a consultation before your session to go over all of these details, and take the guesswork out of the process for you. We’ll look at the mood your business needs to set, and the colors that will support that. We’ll talk about the way you work with your clients, and how that should impact the choices you make for clothing. And we’ll go over some basic rules for comfort, and talk about what makes you most cozy. Because these are your images, and they should be tailored to you!

Jessica Strobel holding multi-colored doughnuts over her eyes, smiling wide

Hey! I'm Jessie - 

And I'm so glad you're here!



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