On Camera

What to Wear on Camera


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When you’re making your own videos or you know that you’re going to be interviewed on camera, it’s really important to be able to choose the right outfits that not only flatter you but also give off the right message to the viewers.

So in this video, I’m going to break down all of the things that you need to think about when you’re planning for on camera wardrobe and make sure that you know how to create your own very camera friendly wardrobe by the end of this video. So stay tuned.

Hello and welcome back. My name is Kat Elizabeth in case we’ve never met. I’m an actor and personal branding coach and I’m really excited to talk to you about this topic because as you know I’m a video created myself. I actually have a little camera confidence course that I created so that you can get a lot more confident in not just how you sound or how you feel about video, but also how you look.

So today I am going to cover everything that you need to know about what to wear on camera so that the clothes that you’re wearing are sending off the right message; not going to do weird things when you’re on camera. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but sometimes certain patterns or colors can make the lens kind of go a bit crazy and you can end up looking a little bit unwell as well.

I really just pulled together a little wardrobe of things that look great on camera and a very on-brand for you. So let’s get straight in to point number one.

So the first thing that you need to think about is color and we’re going to talk about this one the most because there are a few different elements to consider. So first of all, let’s just think about the colors that really suit you because this is a really great place to start.

what to wear on camera + video

So whether you’ve kind of done your colors before or not, you’ll probably notice that sometimes when you wear certain colors you get way more compliments from people around you. Well, this is a really good indicator that it’s a color that suits you, so I want you to make sure that you are wearing colors that do suit you in real life because the same thing is going to happen on camera.

Don’t go picking colors that you would never wear in real life just because someone tells you that it’s a good color on camera. There’s just no point because it’s probably going to make you look a little bit sick or tired. It can even age you.

The second thing you want to think about is the psychology behind the colors. I’m sure you’ve got some sort of awareness of colors that have different meanings and it’s really big deal because when you creating videos or you are being interviewed, if you wear a color that says the wrong thing, the interviewer might sort of get the wrong vibes from you, but also the people that are watching could do the same thing and so colors that are extremely strong, for instance, red, can come across as very aggressive and look, maybe that is something that you’re going for. Maybe you want to come across as bold and aggressive and that’s fine, but if you are trying to come across as being friendly and down to earth and relatable, then it’s probably not the best color for you.

Whereas colors that are a little bit more bright and happy, things like yellow, they can be seen as something a lot more positive. Greens and blues can be a little bit more peaceful and tranquil and trustworthy.

So do you own research and have a look at color psychology so that you can decide which color is actually aligned with the message that you’re wanting to send to the audience. Something else to consider are black and white. Now you can definitely wear some black and white on camera. You’ll probably notice that I actually wear a little black and white combo all the time. It’s one of my favorite things, but if you wear all black, so you’re sort of black from the neck down to your sleeves, you kind of disappear on camera so it absorbs all the light. It can really drain your face of all the color and it can be much too high contrast with your skin. If you absolutely have to wear a black jacket, make sure you’re wearing a top underneath that’s really soft and flattering on your skin tone and that’s going to help sort of offset it, but better alternatives would be a gray or a navy, if you’re really sort of going for more of that corporate vibe.

What sort of has the opposite problem? It actually attracts a little light and the light and bounces off it and you can end up looking like this glowing angel on camera, which isn’t necessarily what you want to go for. The balance can kind of be off. So if you’re in the onscreen with a few other people and you’re wearing white and glowing and then not wearing white, it’s kind of like you’re creating this unintentional spotlight on yourself, which could be seen as a little bit selfish and it’s also distracting.

So my recommendation with white, especially if you’re someone who’s quite fair, because I find it’s even if it’s more difficult to pull off if you’ve got my sort of skin tone, is break it up. So if you want some white, wear something over the top. So add a cardigan, put a singlet over the top of it, but just wearing all white is going to really kind of not do you any favors on camera but also can be quite boring and it can also make you look larger just because of what it does to the light. So in general, black and white, you can make them work, but if you can avoid them, it’s much better to go for some other sort of color.

Now some colors that tend to look universally flattering, almost no matter your skin tone because obviously you can find the right specific color tone for you, are the blues, greens, purples, and pinks. I know that could sound a little bit limiting, but there’s a lot that you can do with within the range.

For instance, green can go all the way from something kind of lime green all the way to a really rich forest green or even a teal. So I really suggest that you start, if you can, looking into those colors that tend to look flattering on camera, see which one suits you, which ones you feel good in, and then start trying them on in front of the camera and seeing how they look.

The biggest thing to take into consideration when choosing color is keeping it in mind what your backdrop color is going to be. So unfortunately, if you’re working on in front of a blue or a green screen, you cannot wear the same color as the screen. Same goes if you know you’ve got a pale backdrop like this one. I’m not going to wear it and an off white or white with nothing to break it up because I’m just going to kind of disappear into the background and often you might find that there’s quite a dark gray background or something like that. So in that case you want to wear something a little bit higher contrast to the background.

Tip number two to think about is to not wear anything distracting on camera. So the idea of on camera wardrobe is that you really just want to draw the eye upwards to your face because that’s what we’re trying to pay attention to unless you’re a dancer and you want people to be watching your entire body as you do the movement.

Usually if you’re on camera, it’s going to be some sort of talking head video. It might be an interview and it’s sort of just from the waist up. So therefore, all the focus should be up here and so the best thing to do is stick to really clean lines; nothing too fussy. So I love a really simple neckline. You could have a collar if you want to, but make sure it’s sort of stays in place. It doesn’t move around too much. Things that can be really distracting are cowl necks; those loose necklines that used to be really popular for women because they move around and that can also be an issue for continuity because if you are cutting between a few different shots and the top is sitting here in one shot, and seeing here in the other shot, people are going to be like, “Hold on. What happened?” And they’re going to be staring at your top instead of at your face.

The same thing can be said for jewelry that does those kinds of things. Anything that’s just really fiddly and maybe it’s sparkles too much, it moves around. Just avoid them at all costs. There’s just no need for that. There are so many simple options out there that are going to suit you. So just stick to really clean and plain block colors and lines that just sit exactly where they’re supposed to and you’ll be fine.

Point number three is also kind of about being distracting, but it’s really about avoiding prints that are going to make the camera kind of go a little bit funny. So what you’ll notice is that often, it’s not always the case because cameras are so high def these days, but we’re not always going to be on the highest def camera, is that really fine lines. So not pin stripes but where it’s like black, white, black, white, and they’re the same width all the way across really fine, tiny polka dots, hounds tooth, all of those prints, even some very small flower prints can kind of create this weird glowing effect and it looks like it’s moving on camera and that is extremely distracting and it’s also really unflattering.

I find that it competes with your face and people are going to be watching the top and not paying attention to your face. So just avoid all of those kinds of prints. There are definitely prints that work on camera. Anything that’s a lot larger, the higher the contrast, the riskier it is. So the highest contrast is obviously black with white, but if there are prints where you’ve got sort of a more subtle difference, so let’s say you’re wearing a red dress and it’s got some black through it, or you’re wearing an off white and it’s got gold through it, these kind of things can still look really beautiful because they’re subtle and they’re not going to sort of compete for your attention.

Number four is about accessorizing and I really think that accessories are a fantastic way to bring more interest to your outfit when you’re trying to stick to really simple lines and you only got a certain number of colors. So accessories are a great way to introduce colors that wouldn’t necessarily look fantastic as a top. So, the black, the white, the red, the bright yellow, anything that maybe is a bit too much if you wore it, it’s fantastic as an accessory because there’s just a tiny little pop. So whether it was like a broach or a necklace, earrings, a clip, a headband, have a little bit more fun there and some metallics can look really lovely as well. So the main thing is you need to check these things on camera because what I found sometimes is that an accessory that looks beautiful in real life, I wear it on camera and it just kind of looks odd because I’m not moving around.

So some accessories kind of look best when they’re moving with your head. But if you’re just standing still, there’s just this weird thing poking out of your head like an earring, it doesn’t really make any sense.

For guys, if you’re wearing a really simple top, like a button up shirt that you feel is a little bit boring, you could bring a little bit more interest by using a contrasting color with your tie. But again, don’t be wearing ties that have any of those prints that I mentioned or a color that could really blow out on camera.

Number five is the most important, in my opinion. It’s that you need to be comfortable. So you could go out and buy, in theory, the perfect outfit. So based on everything I’ve said, you tick all the boxes and then you put it on and you feel uncomfortable. You feel self conscious. It doesn’t feel like you, whether it’s cause it’s physical discomfort or because you feel a bit like, Oh it’s not flattering or if it feels off brand, like if it’s too corporate where normally you’re a lot more down to earth, well then there’s no point because you’re going to look really uncomfortable on camera.

So I really want you to make sure that once you’ve made sure that you’re not wearing anything that’s completely off limits because it’s just not going to work for you, then the next step is actually going through and going, do I feel comfortable in this? Try standing up in it, sitting down in it, moving around in at. Watch yourself back in it. Make sure you’re not cringing when you see yourself in it. Because again, things that we think look great in real life, like you could check your face in the mirror and be like, “Yeah, I look good.” And then you see a photo of yourself and you’re like, what?

I find the exact same thing happens with videos and outfits. Some of my favorite outfits in real life don’t actually look good on camera because they just, when I’m sitting down, they get all lumpy. They’re not flattering, there’s too much going on around my neck, so I have a bit of a separate wardrobe, but I have my camera friendly outfits where maybe it’s a simple version of how I’d wear it during the day and then I’ve got my real life outfits and that is totally fine. I think as long as you can find some ways to overlap them so you don’t have to buy two separate wardrobes, then you’ll be set.

So number one thing to remember is make sure that you’re comfortable. I hope you found all of those tips helpful and that you’re able to start creating a camera friendly wardrobe yourself moving forward. But if you are feeling really stuck as far as camera confidence goes, like you’re hating how you look and sound on camera. If you’re all these mental blocks about why you shouldn’t be doing it and you just can’t get over them, then definitely check out my Camera Confidence Crash Course, which is linked in the comments below because it was basically designed to break through all of those mental blocks, get you looking, feeling, sounding confident, so that you can start creating those videos that you know are going to grow your personal brand and eventually change your life.

All right, well, I’ve included a couple of extra videos that you can watch on the topic and make sure that you have liked this video and subscribed so that you don’t miss out on any future ones and I can’t wait to see you soon. Bye for now.



Kat is a copywriter, brand & messaging strategist personal branding coach and the founder of The Personal Branding Project whose mission is to help you go from best-kept secret to in-demand brand.


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