You finally decided to do it: you booked your photographer and now you're getting ready for your first branding shoot. Your business is doing well, clients are a-pouring in, and you feel great about how your new professional pictures are going to give your work an even bigger boost...except you have no idea what to wear.
Everything in your closet just feels wrong. Should you go for all-neutrals? What about jewelry? Is there going to be someplace to change your outfit?
Stop. Right now. Take a nice, big breath, and read on. Here are 5 easy ways to get your outfit(s) looking perfect for your branding shoot.
WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?
This question is the key to everything in business, and it definitely applies here. Thinking about your potential clients is the best place to start. Who do they expect to see? What kind of style draws them in? If you're a personal stylist, you want to show up wearing duds that are on-trend and inspirational. If you're a yoga instructor, a pantsuit would look hella awkward—stick to flowy and athletic clothes. Now, in a personal branding session, you may be in different locations throughout the day. I usually like to shoot at my clients' home, work, and some other places where they are in their element. If you're doing a full day, then tailor your style to each location, but do stick to a consistent aesthetic.
CHOOSE A COLOR PALETTE
Once you've got your style down, it's time to think about your color palette. It's a great idea to pick 3-4 colors, and plan your outfits along those tones. This way, your full branding story will look consistent no matter what your location is. How do you pick the palette, though? It's never a bad idea to choose similar colors to the ones you use in your logo or marketing materials. And again, think about your clients. Are you an edgy hair stylist? Then go for bold colors that match your punchy personality. If all else fails, though, there's nothing wrong with sticking to classic neutrals.
BREAK OUT THE ACCESSORIES
...But don't get too crazy. I love a nice accessory or two because they give a little more personality to an outfit. Have a favorite pair of earrings? Wear them, especially if they make you feel amazing. At the end of the day, a personal branding session is about revealing who you really are so you can connect with your clients. There's no better way of doing that than adding a little bit of flair with some jewelry or a chic scarf. Just don't overdo it: one, maybe two, statement pieces is enough.
KEEP YOUR BASE OUTFIT SIMPLE AND VERSATILE
I learned this one from a client, actually. We were on a long shoot that day, with multiple locations. There weren't many places she could comfortably change her whole outfit, so she decided to wear the same pants and a white cami for each segment. Every time we got to a new spot, she'd put on a different top or outer layer and a new pair of shoes. This way, she never had to worry about trying to change in a bathroom or a car—she was just ready to go. Going forward, this is something I highly recommend to my own clients!
Laughter makes good medicine, but it also makes some damn good photos. A real, genuine smile goes a long way in making your branding pics stand out. Think of how many business headshots you've seen where the person looks like they're in barely-suppressed pain. Would you want to interact with them? Probably not. A real smile is welcoming and warm and makes people want to trust you. For your shoot, I'd suggest two things: either joke around with your photographer (if that's me, don't worry, because I'm the queen of corny jokes), or give your loudest, most horrible fake laugh. Know why? You won't be able to help laughing for real afterward!