This is one in an occasional series of interviews I’m doing to help you get the most out of your photo session.
Monica Barnett is a wardrobe stylist, image consultant and founder and editor-in-chief of Blueprint For Style. She’s been a guest lecturer at New Yorks Fashion Institute of Technology, a member of Vogue Magazine’s elite Influencer Network; and is one of only 300 Alpha Shoppers for Lucky Magazine. She recently released her style guidebook, Without Saying A Word: The Silent Power of Style. She took some time from her busy schedule to answer 5 questions on style.
Camille: How much do you think photos used in online profiles play into someone’s overall professional image?
Monica Barnett: Quite a bit because first impressions last. If you care enough to post pretty pictures, someone will care enough to take a look.
CWF: Do you think professionals are putting enough thought into selecting a wardrobe for a headshot session?
MB: No and I believe it’s a case of “laziness.” Professionals make the assumption that they should be in their professional attire without consideration for what works well on camera and creates a complementary look for them.
CWF: Do you think there should be a difference between what someone wears on a day-to-day basis, and what someone selects to have professional headshots taken?
MB: Yes and no. I don’t think it’s necessary to run out and purchase new clothing but rather create a fresh look from what you already have. In the end, the photo and essence should still speak to you and not be contrived, but it also needs to say you’re putting your best foot forward.
CWF: What do you tell your clients about using images for different social media sites or audiences?
MB: Pretend like a brand is looking for you and ask yourself, “when they see that picture, will they be impressed”? If not, change the photo. In a world of quick hits and 140 characters, the first impression is even more important.
CWF: I recommend to clients to bring two to three outfits to wear for photo sessions with me. If one of your clients asked you to help pull together a wardrobe for a session, what would you pick? (for a man and a woman)
MB: Hard question to answer because I don’t know what the purpose of the photos or look is for. That said, for a man, I would opt for a dark-colored suit with a shirt and tie combo that pop. As with any piece of clothing, fit matters most so some of his photos would be fully suited and others without the jacket to show a more professional, dressed down feel. For women, I think something that says feminine and powerful is always a good combination. I would recommend a dress with a nice v-neck and some complimentary color that is vibrant. Again, fit is most important!