Oh No! It is Professional Photo Time!

These words above can bring dread to your heart especially if your last lot of photos did not live up to your expectations.

I have had my share of good and bad professional family and business photos. The good ones hang happily on the wall or are on the web. The bad ones are hidden away or deleted. Unfortunately I have seen other people’s family and business photos that also need to be hidden away but are not.

The better professional photographers give pre-photo advice on your setting and your poses so that you feel comfortable and relaxed. It is rare to get dressing advice for a photo shoot.

Clothes can make or break a photo. A great photo has three elements – setting, pose and clothes.

Here are my tips to help you get the dressing element of professional photos right for you.

Family Photos

The best and most interesting family photos have harmony and contrast. Let me explain.

Harmony and contrast are created through colour and style.

When you clothing is in harmony it draws people’s attention to the faces and personality of the subjects. Have a discussion with your partner or family to choose a colour. White is popular but it does not suit everyone. Blue is second favourite as most family members have a shade of blue in their wardrobe. Ignore the skin-tone colours of beige, apricot or brown as you can appear naked in the photo as happened to a very upset acquaintance of mine. Co-ordinate colours below your waist especially if full-length photos are to be taken. Blue jeans fit the bill perfectly.

Next look at clothing styles. Everyone in a centre-buttoned shirt or V or round necked t-shirts or tops will create family harmony. Patterns may be different but make sure they blend not clash with each other.

Contrast creates a focal point. Put your only child in a textured top or a different style to everyone else. A mother or father wearing the theme colour plus another colour draws your attention to them. Everyone in white with mum wearing coloured or textured jewellery also creates a contrasting focus.

Business Photos

A business photo needs to show your personality and draw people to you.

Wear colours that focus attention on your face and eyes. That is easy if you have had your colours done and know what your complimentary, contrasting and signature colours are. You also need to be photographed against a plain or natural background colour that enhances you not merges or clashes with what you are wearing.

Your choice of clothing and accessories need to appeal to the type of clients that you and your business want to work with. Will you attract corporate clients, soft gentle clients, achieving go-getters or quirky artistic types? You clothing can show that as long you feel comfortable with that unspoken impression.

Be aware that photos will be cropped and shrunk for promotional material. I have had business photos that looked fantastic in full-screen but I faded away in the smaller version.

Special Occasion

For wedding photos you want to be your best but not overshadow the bride. Talk to all involved. This is a day for a perfectly fitted outfit. In the dressing room, stand far away from the mirror. Some colours may merge together or fade. Some can make you look naked. Some dress features can dominate the outfit. Choose a colour shade that suits you and a style that reflects your true personality. Your joy or your discomfort will be there for all to see.

For award dressing, it is your time to shine. Do the same dressing room mirror checks or have your photo taken in the clothes before the event so that you can make adjustments or changes. If dresses have a solid colour background with a contrasting colour design feature, make sure the feature lengthens not widens you. The Queen’s dresser got it right. Racheal Leahcar’s dresser for promotional photos for the final of ‘The Voice’ got it wrong.

Last Words

Your photographer will help you get your setting and pose right. There is more to dressing but this article is a start towards creating your best professional photos so far.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 28 June  2012. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

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