Dressing Up for the Cameras

Just because clothes look great to the human eye doesn’t necessarily mean that they will look equally good on television.

A camera does not work like the human eye – for example if the sensor in the camera is flooded with high values of white, then the camera will seek a middle value to use as a base for every other colour – however as white is particularly bright it can force other colours to be under-exposed. The opposite is true of using black as a primary colour – so other colours tend to be over-exposed in comparison.

Cool blues and natural tones found right in the middle of the exposure values (where black at whites are at opposite spectrums) are great choices as the camera has an easy time exposing the shot.

Look at Obama!

Have a look at speeches by top politicians or newsreaders and you’ll see that their choice of clothing is not by chance. By keeping distractions at a minimum, people will focus on your face and your content and not on your favourite loud tie or pin-striped suit.

A common question posed to video production companies by clients is what they should wear when they’re in front of the cameras.

There are many myths and truths about what a person should and shouldn’t wear. So follow this basic guide and you won’t go wrong when the camera starts rolling:

Colours and Clothing:

– Stick to solid colours rather than stripes or checks

-Avoid Black, white or red – as cameras can have difficulty with these colours

– Avoid small, busy patterns including checks and stripes and shiny fabrics

– Take a change of clothes with you to the shoot – you never know what the background colour might be so better to play it safe in case the background set colour merges with your outfit

– Ask the producer what the background colour of the set will be – you don’t want your clothing to blend in and make you invisible to camera. You can also ask for wardrobe suggestions

– Take a bag to leave your possessions in so they don’t create a bulge in your pocket and remember to turn off your mobile phone

– Keep double-breasted jackets buttoned – single-breasted jackets can be left open, but not too wide

– Avoid loud coloured scarves or cravats

– Men – wear your tie as you would normally but clip the thinner part of the tie to your shirt – this will hold your tie centred and perfectly in place for the duration of the filming


– Avoid flashy jewellery, as it will reflect light. Also avoid large or jangly pieces of jewellery that will create noise when you move which will be picked up by the microphones

– If you wear contact lenses, then these are usually preferable to glasses – however glasses are fine if you avoid shiny frames


– If offered, it is essential to opt for make-up. An experienced make-up artist will know exactly how to make you look your best on-camera. Even for men – this should not be optional

– If you are not offered make-up – women can apply their own as they would normally and both men and women should consider applying powder to prevent any shine on camera

– Women – don’t wear vivid red lipstick or lip gloss – stick to soft tones

Body Language:

– Keep gestures small

– Don’t second-guess when the camera is rolling, instead work on the basis that it is always rolling to avoid being caught out when you think you’re off camera

– Try to speak from the diaphragm – this will help give your performance energy and a more dynamic appearance

– Make eye contact with the lens or interviewer for a few seconds after a take


– Run through your content the night before in order that you know your material

– Consider practising in the clothes you will be wearing – this will form a good simulation of the day itself

– Make sure your clothes have been worn before, i.e. ‘broken in’ so they are comfortable.


Relax, smile, act naturally and be confident – body language plays a crucial role on giving an impression to an audience.

If you’re still in any doubts, then watch a news channel or two to get an idea of what the presenters wear and have a look at their body language and how they gesticulate on-screen.

For more help and tips, contact Energise Media today and see how we can help you deliver the perfect performance.