This is the first in an occasional series of interviews I’m planning to do to help you get the most out of your photo session.
One thing that people naturally worry about once they've decided to have their photographs done is what to wear. Choosing a wardrobe can be particularly important for professional headshots because you’re using them to present yourself to potential clients and employers. For some women it can be tricky deciding how to use clothing and accessories to project the appropriate professional image.
Kristina Moore is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of CorporateFashionista.com, a website dedicated to helping women create an effective personal presentation. Moore worked in corporate finance, and as a corporate headhunter in Silicon Valley, so she knows how effective the right appearance can be. She was kind enough to answer 5 questions for me about selecting your wardrobe for your next headshot session.
Camille --There’s plenty of research showing that social media profiles with pictures get more attention than profiles without pictures. How important do you think what a woman wears is?
Kristina Moore: It is crucial. In a matter of seconds, your profile image provides an instant impression of who you are and what you’re all about without saying a word. What you wear can highlight whether or not your personal or professional style is modern or outdated. It’s to be expected that the observer may then wonder if the ideas and abilities you bring to the table are also modern or outdated. You've got an opportunity, so it’s important to make the most of it. What you specifically should wear depends on several factors, including whether or not you’re going for an up-close tight shot or a distance shot.
CWF -- How much of a difference should there be, if any, between what someone wears on a day-to-day basis, and what she wears to have professional headshots taken?
KM -- There doesn't have to be much of difference at all. Truly, it’s all about taking control of where you wish to direct viewers’ attention no matter if that’s in person or in a photograph. If your goal is to direct attention towards your face, then the shape of your neckline, the color or prints/patterns you select, even the jewelry you wear play a role.
CWF -- How should you strike a balance between keeping focus on your face by minimizing jewelry and accessories, but maintaining your personal brand if you’re known for dangling earrings or colorful, quirky glasses?
KM -- The trick is to limit the number of focal points you’re asking viewers to pay attention to. I recommend three at most to create a visually balanced shot. This style strategy makes your trademark piece an asset rather than a distraction. For example, trademark eyeglasses + small, pronounced earrings + colorful blouse; dramatic earrings + trademark bold lip + open neck top; or trademark necklace(s) + graphic eye makeup + sleek hairstyle.
CWF -- With all the different social media sites available, do you think it’s important to have a different look for different internet venues?
KM -- I think a consistent look is key. Viewers, buyers, potential employers, and so on want to connect with you…a consistent look can help with this on virtual platforms. I recommend having the same profile image for each of the different social media channels your target audience visits.
CWF -- I recommend to clients to bring two to three outfits to wear for photo sessions with me. If you were putting together a ‘what to wear’ list for a session, what would you include?
KM -- It all depends on who they are and the purpose for the photo shoot. If it’s for a LinkedIn profile shot and the subject is looking for work or clients in a conservative field, then I would suggest they bring a fitted classic blazer with narrow lapels paired with a moderate scoop neck top in a personally flattering color or a fitted sheath dress with color-contrasting piping details. It’s all very personalized. The overall idea is to think about what you want to visually communicate to your audience and combine that with strategic style pieces that authentically express yourself and your mission.
Thanks again to Kristina Moore for her time and expertise. For more on creating and maintaining your own professional image, check out her website, CorporateFashionista.com