What clothing should you wear (and avoid wearing) on camera?

Gentlemen, ladies, we need to talk.

We need to talk about the items of clothing that you're wearing on your vlogs and your social media content. Now, I don't mean that you shouldn't look fabulous. Everyone should look fabulous, it's important to look fabulous! If you look fabulous on the outside, you feel fabulous on the inside, and that's really good.

But there's certain types of clothing or certain garbs, that you should avoid wearing from a technical filmmaker's perspective. Now I'm going to tell you about these one by one, as they're thrown at me in a comedic fashion. Let's begin.

Pure White

Number one is pure white. Avoid pure white. The reason why you should avoid pure white is if you're phone is auto exposing, or your camera is an auto exposing camera, like every phone is basically, it will either expose to the white, in which case your face and everything around you is super dark and not very good, or it will expose to your face, in which case you're wearing something that is brighter than the centre of the sun! So not very good, neither of those is a particularly good option. So, no pure whites.

Pure Black

Next we have pure black. This might be a little bit hypocritical, 'cause I'm sort of wearing quite a bit of black right now. But our camera isn't auto exposing, so that's my get-out clause for this. So for the same reason, your camera will either expose to the black, in which case everything around you is super bright and you look angelic and like halo-like, and not a good way. Or alternatively it'll expose to your face, and you'll look like Holly out of Red Dwarf, or just like a floating head, or just kind of like something that you're wearing. It is blacker than your soul, which nobody wants, let's be honest. So no pure black.

Stripes or complex patterns

Next we have stripes or particularly complex patterns, now you want to avoid this because this can cause an effect called moiréing. Basically this causes these awkward, and difficult and quite distracting stripes and zig-zags going down the screen. It does more on some cameras than others. But you generally want to avoid that because it's super distracting, and no-one wants to be distracted from your pretty, pretty face, do they? Let's be honest.

Satin / Silk / Shiny or reflective material

Now, I think I'd definitely look fabulous in this. But this basically represents like satins or silks, or stuff that is super super reflective. You want to avoid these because essentially when you hold it up there, it kind of just looks like it's a little bit sweaty, which may or may not be the objective of this part garb, but whether it's the objective or not, you definitely don't want on your social media videos for your business, do you? No shiny things!

Sunglasses or transition lenses

And finally, we have sunglasses. I don't understand why you see people wearing sunglasses, you're not in the Blues Brothers, you don't have a full tank of gas, half a packet of cigarettes, 200 miles from Chicago, and it's dark and you're wearing sunglasses. I've ruined that quote, but never mind. When you're wearing sunglasses, people can't see your eyes, and people connect to you, the audience connects with you, through your eyes. If you wear sunglasses, all people can see is the camera, the lights, and just whatever else is going on around it, instead of you. And you're more important than that, right? I would think so. Generally also, you want to avoid those reactive transition lenses that you sometimes get from opticians as well because they can have similar sort of effects, and people don't necessarily realise. So just be careful for that as well. But yes! No sunglasses. Bad sunglasses!

What should you wear on camera?

And that concludes our list of things that you should not wear on camera. What should you wear on camera? Well, plain fabric clothes that are maybe blues, and purples and reds, stuff that's slightly more bold in colour, such as jewel colours, because it's still important to look vibrant and look exciting, but you just don't want to necessarily do so at the detriment to the rest of your video.

If you have any questions about this, drop me a line, drop me a connect request on LinkedIn, and let's have a conversation. In the meantime, my name's Nick Pilgrim from CineRobota, helping you look fabulous.