Yesterday I got new headshots for work taken at an event hosted by Gotham Photography Company and business-wear stylist Ben Wolff of re-dress.
Ravaging my closet 10 minutes before I needed to leave my apartment probably wasn't the best approach to styling but I managed to pull together a velvet navy blazer over an ivory silk camisole. I thought the different textures were current and that the navy would compliment my eyes. I kept my hair and make-up simple and natural.
Later, I discovered I could have made better choices to convey professionalism yet still appear modern and relate-able.
Ben helped me select my best and final photos. I really trust his opinion since he's a former actor and has been in the hair and make-up chair countless times for both stage and on-screen appearances. In the sweetest way possible, Ben made great suggestions for next time, including how to use color for my skin, hair, and eye color.
Naturally, I asked him to elaborate and share his styling tips with Glamamom readers so that you too can look your most fabulous:
1. A headshot is exactly that, a headshot. You’ll be photographed from the waist up and probably cropped from just under the bust so it’s very important to think about hair, make-up, and jewelry when considering your outfit. Always wear your hair as close to your “Everyday Look” as possible. If you color your hair and need to touch up the roots do it 3 to 4 days before hand so the color has a chance to relax and blend. Relying on Photoshop to fix roots can be costly. Your makeup should be easy and have a natural look. I suggest to many of my clients to have both done professionally before a shoot if they can. If that’s not in the budget then a quick blow dry followed by a little lip color and eye liner will usually do the trick. When in doubt keep it simple. Just think “Business Professional” not “Hollywood Glamour” and you’ll be fine.
2. Avoid any clothing with too tight of a pattern such as close narrow stripes, Houndstooth or Herringbone. As chic and exciting as these patterns are in the real world they tend to cause an unwanted motion or blur in photos and on camera.
3. Color is a beautiful thing, especially during the Fall and Winter months when things can be a little gray. However for photo and on camera work, color needs to be applied in a strategic way. Pairing a colorful blouse, camisole or Tee from your Spring and Summer business wear collection with a darker (Gray, Navy, Brown or Black) blazer is easy to put together and may be the perfect look for your headshot or on camera work. It will read as business professional in both cases. Use color wisely and you can take any look from average to great in a snap.
4. When putting the outfit together don’t forget to consider your hair and eye color in the overall look. Most people will layout the outfit they want to wear on the bed, stand back and look at it that way. Static. Instead put the outfit on and stand in front of a full length mirror with as many lights on as possible. See how the colors in the clothing play with your hair and eye color. Do they work? Is this the “YOU” you want the world to see? You’ll get a very different perspective doing it this way and have a much better overall result. If at all possible have someone whose opinion you trust take a digital photo of you wearing the outfit or outfits and see which one you like the best. I do this with my clients before every photo shoot. Think of it as a dry run. I guarantee this will give you a positive outlook for the shoot, relieve any fears or anxieties about having your picture taken, and give you a better experience in the end.
5. Finally the most important tip I can offer, is just be you! Whether you’re shooting a headshot or appearing on camera there is no substitute for authenticity. After all isn’t that what you’re really selling? The worst thing I believe a person can do is to use Photoshop editing to change something that doesn’t need changing. Laugh lines are there because you laugh. Crow’s feet are there because you like to smile. These are good things that give you character and add to your beauty and should be appreciated. It’s one thing to use a tool like Photoshop to fix lighting or soften a couple of minor lines here and there, but taking it too far will ultimately have a negative effect on your self-image and therefore how people see you. If you accept and have confidence in the way you look your friends, family, clients, and ultimately the camera will as well. Believe me it’s great when people say, “You look just like your photo.”
Ben's tips seem easy enough to apply (minus that whole, accept your wrinkles part) and hardly require running out and buying a new outfit, something I'm totally guilty of. Too bad I didn't learn them before this and this.
Are you already re-thinking the styling for your holiday card shoot? ;)
Ben Wolff is a leading Fashion Stylist and Business Wear Specialist here in New York City and the Tri-State area and president of ‘re-dress’. Ben has taken many top business professionals through the re-dress process and showed them how to get more from their business wear without buying new. For more information or to book a ‘re-dress’ service please visit www.re-dress.com.