Portrait Style Guide
IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE
PORTRAIT STYLE GUIDE
Psychologists tell us that people make up their minds about someone in an instant, consisting of a range of time from about 15 seconds to the blink of an eye. Whether or not someone is going to do business with you or hire you is decided that quickly. What follows is the information needed to back up that decision. If someone views your photo on a social media site like LinkedIn, in your email signature, or as part of a company marketing piece, you want to put yourself forward visually in a most positive way.
As a Twin Cities photographer specializing in headshots for people in business, I'd like you to consider some of these factors before your business portrait photo shoot.
Grooming and Make Up.
Be comfortable with your hair cut and styling. If you are in need of either, consider scheduling a trip to your hair cutter/stylist in advance of your photos. Hair fly aways are almost unavoidable although I will have hair spray and a brush available if needed. Fly aways are routinely removed from final images so don’t obsess about that. Bangs or hair across your forehead is perfectly acceptable. You’ll want to avoid hair falling into your eyes. The most common reason for a reshoot involves clients who are unhappy with their hair.
If you normally wear eye glasses, we can work around that to avoid or minimize eye glass glare. In that regard, this might be a great time to get some stylish new frames!
Less is more. Avoid heavy foundation applications. Don’t spend a lot of time covering up blemishes or moles. These are eliminated in retouching. Lipstick with color is great!
Dress professionally, whatever that means to you. Regardless of the work you do, there is no way you can be overdressed for professional photos (short of a ball gown!).
Avoid all black, all white, and tan/beige tones. If you want to wear a black suit, be sure to accessorize it with a lot of color contrast. For men, this can be a bright shirt or a bright tie. For women, pearls (my favorite), an attractive pendant, or a colorful scarf will work. The goal, for men and women, is to effectively throw color from those accessories up into your face and eyes. If you’d like more information about colors and the effect they have on people, take a look here: https://www.colorpsychology.org
Slacks, Pants, and Suit Pants.
Slacks that are similar to Dockers and other makers of cotton or synthetic material pants, wool pants, flannel pants, dressy capris, and nice-looking dress synthetic pants are acceptable. Inappropriate slacks or pants include weathered or distressed jeans, sweatpants, leggings, and any spandex or other form-fitting pants such as yoga pants.
Skirts, Dresses, and Skirted Suits.
Casual dresses and skirts, and skirts that are split at or below the knee are acceptable. Dress and skirt length should be at a length at which you can sit comfortably. Sleeveless dresses are ok; sleeves are preferred. No sundresses, beach dresses, or spaghetti-strap dresses.
Shirts, Tops, Blouses, and Jackets.
A collared shirt is preferable to one without. Casual shirts, dress shirts, sweaters, tops, golf-type shirts, and turtlenecks are acceptable attire for work. Most suit jackets or sports jackets are also acceptable attire for the office if they violate none of the listed guidelines.
Avoid polo shirts and shirts with potentially offensive words, terms, logos, pictures, cartoons, or slogans. Dressy t-shirts are ok if they are worn underneath a jacket.
Shoes and Footwear.
Conservative athletic or walking shoes, loafers, clogs, sneakers, boots, flats, dress heels, and leather deck-type shoes are acceptable for work. Wearing no stockings is acceptable in warm weather. Avoid flashy athletic shoes, thongs, flip-flops, slippers, and any shoe with an open toe.
Avoid big chunky jewelry that could overwhelm the area around your face.
Prepare From Head to Toe.
Shooting specifications often call for shooting some photos at full length. In that regard, it’s best to come dressed appropriately from head to toe, including the right shoes. If nothing else, being dressed up will make you feel more special. Finally, make sure the clothes you wear are in good condition. An ill fitting suit or a pilled shirt collar will stand out in your photos and become an unfortunate distraction. I have a steamer available if needed. You can bring alternate wardrobe choices…no extra charge for changing clothes during a photo shoot.
Next to public speaking, statistics reveal that one of the things people dread the most (even more than a root canal!) is getting their picture taken. Getting yourself mentally prepared for your photo shoot makes all the difference. First of all, let go of the feeling of dread. Together, we’re going to make this a fun and interesting experience. It’s collaborative…you and me together. I’ve successfully photographed nearly 10,000 people. I know how to do this! Think about this: What do you want to communicate?
These expressions will all be told primarily through your eyes. I’ll be there to help you with that.
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