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Branding Session Style Guide

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Hi friend! So glad to have you here!

Dressing for your branding session can be something that is stressful when you don't know what will look the best on camera. I have some tips for you that will hopefully make the process of looking amazing a little more clear. Don't forget you can always email me and ask for help with your session. I want you to feel secure in how AMAZING you will look in your branding session photos. 

Love, Sarah

Quick Overview

I will go more indepth on these pointers below, but if you keep in mind the following you can't go wrong:

• SOLID COLORS
• NEUTRAL COLORS
• MUTED COLORS
• MINIMAL PATTERNS
• GOOD FIT
• COMFORTABLE FOR MOVEMENT

BU​SINESS PROFESSIONAL MAKE-UP

• HAIR DOWN
• IT'S OKAY TO GO GLAM!

 

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Colors

Avoid bright, neon colors or pastels. Colors that fall in the mid-tone to jewel tone work best for headshots:

 

MUTED COLORS:

MUSTARD

TANS

OLIVE

PLUM

BURGUNDY

BURNT ORANGE

WHITES

 

DARK NEUTRALS:

NAVY

RICH BLACK

RICH BROWNS

DUSTY, OR RICH GREENS

CHARCOAL

A few of my favorite colors for headshots are burgundy, navy, plum, emerald green and charcoal.

Do not wear bright pink, bright orange, turquoise, mint green, coral or any neon colors whatsoever. 

If you want to incorporate your company colors, but they are not one of the muted or dark colors to the right, incorporate them as accessories.

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Solids vs Patterns

- Keep away from plaid, checks, and anything that has high-contrast colors right next to one-another. The only patterns that can work are subtle ones with a slight variance in color.

- Patterns generally draw too much attention and appear distracting. Some patterns (especially small ones) can cause a phenomenon called moire where it looks like there's a weird pattern showing up on-camera (that's invisible in real-life) because of the way the pixels on the camera work. (See the image to the left for an example of moire) Small polkadots, pinstripes, small checks and tight patterns are the worst offenders.

-Avoid any logos, unless they are your company logo.

Top/Blouse Tips

- Choose a moderately open neckline, like a modest v-neck, boat or crew blouse. If you wear a buttoned shirt, it should fit without causing bulging.

- Long sleeves or three-quarter sleeves look more professional. Because I typically have you turned at an angle to the camera, your arms will be the most camera-forward part of you. Unless you absolutely love your arms, you will want longer sleeves. 


- If you decide on a tank top or sleeveless top, bring a sweater along too for a few shots.


- Layers work well for headshots, but be strategic about fit and color. Lighter colors should be underneath, with darker colors over the top in suit jackets and blazers. 

- If you don't love your midsection, pick a jacket, sweater or blazer that can be buttoned.

-Bring a few classic options that you use year-round. These pieces are typically seasonally ambiguous, meaning that you could wear them any time of year. That way you won’t end up with images that you can only use for a short season out of the year.

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Check the fit

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- Clothing should be well-tailored and fitted. 

- Avoid baggy or loose clothing, as it will make you look larger than you are in real life.

 

- Avoid fabrics that are clingy or shiny, especially thin, stretchy polyester or velvet. These fabrics highlight every bump and crease. Do not wear silver or shimmery gold. 

 

- Avoid wearing something that is too tight, as this can lead to bulging in places, drawing the eye away from your face.

 

- Longer shirts are best if you plan to be untucked. They elongate your torso and hide mid-section insecurities

 

- Make sure your clothing is pressed and lint-free. If you are wearing a shirt that wrinkles easily, hang it up and put it on right before photos to avoid it getting wrinkly in the car.

 

- Wear the right bra for the shirt you'll be wearing.

Make sure the color won't show through. Watch for lines and seams from bras that might show through shirts. If you are going strapless or with a tank top, wear a strapless bra (but again, I generally don't recommend sleeveless or short sleeves for headshots).

Make-up

Before your Session

- Wear sunscreen in the week leading up to your shoot! Racoon eyes or peeling skin are not fixable during edits.

- Drink extra water the week prior to your photos. 

- Don't get anything waxed or threaded the day of or the day prior to your photos. Waxing or eyebrow threading can lead to redness. Avoid any major skincare treatment in the same week as your photos. 

- Schedule a haircut a couple weeks in advance rather than right before your session, just in case you don't love it or in case you need a little time to learn to style it.

Foundation

- Avoid shiny, glowy, or dewy makeup, like those that contain minerals or sunscreen. 

- Use a matte foundation that matches your skin tone and blends well with the skin color on your chest and neckline. Don't apply foundation too thick; it will cake and enhance wrinkles. 

- For more mature skin, use a thin liquid foundation rather than thick liquid or powder foundation. Thick makeup settles into fine lines and wrinkles and makes you look older. Opt for a light foundation with a touch of moisturizing quality, then cover any noticeable shine with a translucent powder.

- If you have makeup with some shine, use a loose, matte finishing powder over the top, like Laura Mercier's Translucent Finishing Powder.

- Use concealer a bit more liberally than normal to cover any blemishes, but make sure it's blended well. 

-Contour your face a bit more – Because of the two-dimensionality of photos, you should add a bit more contouring to your face so you look more three-dimensional on camera. 

Natural Lipstick with Slight Shimmer

- DO NOT wear super bold/dark lipstick. Lipstick should be one shade darker than your natural color and it should stay in line with your color palettes. Dark tones make your lips look thinner. 

- Wear lipstick with a slight shimmer or gloss. Matte lipstick also makes your lips look thinner.

- Avoid strong lip lines and avoid going outside your natural lines to make lips appear bigger. Both are picked up easily on camera and look strange. 

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Neutral Eye Makeup

- Eyeshadow should be in neutral tones

- Highlight with a matte ivory or white shade under the browline to make eyes appear more open. Concealer sometimes does the trick. 

- Do NOT wear eyeliner on the lower lash line. It closes down your eyes, makes them appear smaller, and makes you look older. 

- Avoid long fake lashes, as they also tend to close down your eyes, add shadows under your eyes and make eyes appear smaller. 

- Avoid shimmery eye shadow. Shimmer falls into creases and accentuates lines.

- Use black mascara. Brown is too light for photos. 

Grooming + Glasses

  • Make sure your glasses' lenses are clean before your headshots.

  • Only wear glasses that have minimal to no reflective coating. The purple tint that helps with screen glare is a nightmare for photos. Please, please, please try to bring a pair without coating. Sometimes you can borrow a display pair from your optometrist that doesn't have coating.

  • Do your hair in a style you typically wear. Photo day is not the day to try a new style.

  • Do not wear your hair in a bun or ponytail. It can look like you don't have hair, or if your head is turned, like you have a big bump on one side.

  • Bring a comb or brush and some hairspray with you.

  • Only use products that enhance shine. Don't use mattifying products (be careful with dry shampoos on this front!).

  • Wear facial hair the way you normally would. If you're normally clean-shaven, use an electric razor to avoid redness.

Planning on buying a new outfit?

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For Her

Ann Taylor $$

Eloquii $$

H&M $$

Check out these great stores if you plan on taking this photoshoot as an opportunity to add to your wardrobe! Some of my favorite branding outfits have come from these stores:

For Him

Nordstrom$$$

Bonobos $$

Tiebar $$

You can shop at all of these stores online and usually receive your purchase within a week or two, but if you'd like to go into a store and shop for women's clothes I highly suggest taking a look at a local boutique!

 

Downtown McKinney has several options for adults (Grady Ln, Willow House, Jasper & Petals).

Lastly, I recommend that you wear something that flatters the parts of you that you love the most and also allows you to be extremely confident! 

 

If you are uncomfortable when you look in the mirror (having to suck in and only like the way you look from one angle, or needing to constantly adjust), then that probably isn’t the best outfit choice for you. 

I want you to be really confident in your outfit, because I know that you will love your portraits so much more if you’re not worrying about how your clothes fit!

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Final Thoughts

Dallas Wedding Photographer,  Sarah Mae posing with her camera

I'm so excited to photograph you at your branding session!

I hope you are getting excited too.

 

If you have any questions about your outfit, or anything else, before we see each other again feel free to text or email me.

See you soon!

-Sarah Mae

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