5 Surefire Ways to Look Great on Camera

style

I’m heading into the city today, to the Huffington Post Canada offices, to do a shoot for one of their upcoming video series; it features people who come from wildly different backgrounds or lifestyles, having conversations with one another. I’ll be asking 5 questions to a Syrian refugee who now lives in Canada, and she will be asking me, someone born and raised in Canada, five questions of her own.  Stay tuned for that video when it’s ready to roll!

For now, the question is: what to wear for this video shoot?

First, some tips about what NOT to do! All images and photo credits can be found on my Pinterest page. 

No Logos: you don’t want to create extra work for the editors who will later have to blur out that branded item.

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Sorry, Gucci, you’re a no go. 

Avoid busy patterns that can create an optical illusion. You do not want people to feel like they are watching the twilight zone.

Leave the trippy prints at home. Same goes for stripes (unless you pair them with other solids), and plaid (sorry gorgeous oversized blazer… not today)

Avoid shadow-casting pieces that will take the spotlight off of YOU.

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I love a great hat, but it can be a real challenge to properly light someone in a brim. If your hat is a signature style piece, keep the brim minimal and tip it back so your face gets ample light.

Blush tones and pastels are great… in theory. However, in practice, without the right expertise, these can really wash you out. They don’t provide enough contrast and can make your skin look sallow. Yes, celebs will show up for interviews in a diverse palette, but after doing a shoot a few years ago in a pale rose blouse, I couldn’t help but wish I’d chosen something that would give my skin some colour and bounce a flattering hue up towards my face. Unless you can be sure to have a great stylist on set who will ensure you look well-lit and the clothing is flattering (or you have a professional makeup artist doing your colour) – try to avoid nudes, and pastels.

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While stunners, like Ms. Fanning, can pull off a great nude look, you don’t want to look naked on camera (I assume). Also remember: she has a team of professional makeup artists, stylists and lighting experts to make sure she looks her best and that the colours are balanced. No one wants to be a washout. 

Same goes for Black and White – either can throw off the colour balance. White can look too hot and black (the flattering shade) can be harsh and make you look tired.

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Now that we’ve covered the cautions, what should we be searching for as we assemble the final look?

When considering jewelry, keep in mind that what looks great in a still image can be distracting in a close-up video shot, overwhelming the image. I already have a very expressive face and will be choosing earrings that are anchored to my lobes (no swinging bling to create glare or bring to mind a fishing lure); similarly, my necklace will be some delicate, layered gold chains – nothing that moves too much or risks hitting the body mic.

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Keep the bling minimal, and make what you have to say your ‘statement piece.’

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Take some quick pics or a video to see if what you’re wearing translates on camera. Better to check it. The camera won’t lie and you want to know BEFORE you step on set that your highlighter is looking more 80s party-girl than ‘luminous’ and lit from within.

Be ready for your closeup by considering finishing touches, silhouette and your own comfort in the clothes and makeup you choose. Lucky you if you will have a team helping you out with this!

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Your outfit needs to be comfortable, especially if you’re sitting. You don’t want a gap in the back of your pants, or a waist line that cuts into you as you sit. Consider that your hemline will also shorten dramatically if you are seated and you don’t want to feel uncomfortable or exposed. I’ll be choosing a thick heel, for comfort, high-waisted dark denim, and a top that stays put. You don’t want to be fidgeting or self-conscious. 

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A great smile and posture certainly help. I will be thinking of ‘pulling up’ – bringing back all those years of ballet training. Long neck, relaxed shoulders and sitting slightly forward (I hear there will be a couch) should help me avoid looking like the guy in Beetlejuice who has been in that waiting room all day with a shrunken head and rumpled clothes. 

What will I actually put on today? Final answer: A deep ruby-hued top with bell sleeves, some minimalist gold jewelry, layered up, and slim black denim, with boots for an elongated look when I walk on set. I’ll be doing some gentle waves in my hair, for a not ‘too done up’ look and wearing a slightly-darker-than natural lip (no worries about lipstick teeth), HD face powder and lots of mascara. The photos below were my inspiration.

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Wish me luck! What are your best ‘on camera’ tips? Whether for stills or moving images, I would love to hear your best tricks in the comments below.

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