Good wardrobe makes photo shoots look amazing! That’s why when I’m shooting headshots with actors I spend time with them consulting before the shoot to make sure they come prepared with a good set of clothes on the day. I want their photos to be the best, but I also want to actor to feel hot and confident knowing that their headshots are going to be the best they can be.
As part of a series of blog posts I’ll be writing on photoshoot wardrobe, today I’m going to talk about colour! Each colour has it’s own on-camera personality. They interact differently with your skin tones, how much light they bounce and also in how much attention they attract from the viewers eye.
To start off, here’s a colour palette of safe colours. They’re colours that look good on most people in most situations. They don’t interact badly with most skin tones, they’re not too dark or too bright and they don’t hog the attention on the viewer with their loudness.
Save this cheat sheet onto your phone so the next time you find yourself in front of a camera, you’ll know exactly what to wear!
You will see these colours used again and again in cast photos for TV shows because they are bound to look good!
House Cast Photo
Now let’s talk about colours that are not always guaranteed to look good!
Colours that mess up your skin tones.
Yellow, orange, red – Most people’s skin tones are a combination of red, yellow and orange. So when you wear these colours it will actually influence the way your skin reads on camera. Often when people wear yellow they look sickly and like they have jaundice, and it’s a colour that is especially unflattering on more yellowy skin tones like that of Chinese people. Orange will bring out the orange in your skin, and if you have uneven pigmentation it will bring that out too. It’s a colour that’s especially unflattering on skin tones that read as orange on camera like that of Phillipino people. Red will bring out redness in your face, especially on break outs, or if you have redness in your eye lines or eye balls or around your nose.
While on the topic of skin tones, I want to talk a little bit about black skin tones. Black skin tones have more colour and are more reflective, meaning extra consideration should be taken into selecting colours. Often times the colour of the wardrobe will reflect on the skin. The brighter the colour, the more skin reflection there will be. This is somewhat unavoidable but try to stay away from bright colours when taking a portrait/headshot.
Colours that the camera can’t read well.
Red and magenta – The camera doesn’t read these two colours well. You can see from the photo I took below of an actor wearing a red tank top. The image awkwardly transitions between magenta and red from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. This is more a technical issue than anything, but it lowers the image quality and that’s one reason why photographers are selective about using red in their photoshoots.
Colours that reflect of absorb too much light.
Black and white – Both these colours are often rejected by photographers because of how they affect light. Black does not reflect enough light and so it looks blocky and can make you look wider, especially if it’s not form fitting.
White reflects too much light, and calls a lot of attention to itself. It also bounces off your skin creating an illusion of roundness where there is none. Below is an image of a man wearing a white shirt, and it’s reflecting and illuminating his throat and under chin area because it’s so bright.
Both black and white create a lot of contrast in an image. Did you know that the first place an eye goes to in an image is the place of highest contrast? That means that if you wear black or white, the highest point of contrast may end up being wherever your clothing meets your skin. In a portrait, that’s not where you want to viewer to look. You would prefer them to see the eyes first.
Colours that are just too loud.
Anything that resembles the colour of a highlighter, ie. neon colours (especially yellow) will steal the attention of the viewer. Unless you want the viewer to be looking at your clothing and not much else, don’t wear loud colours.
Have you experienced any colour woes during a photoshoot you’ve had? Please post it in the comments below! I want to hear your stories. And make sure to save my cheat sheet so you are always prepared!
Inquiries about headshots and other photoshoots can be made at www.antosiaphotography.com