What Should I Wear to My Branding Session?

A Stress-Free Guide to Choosing Your Wardrobe

Deciding how to dress on a normal day can be stressful enough. But what about when it’s a big day? Like your branding photo session? In this blog, we’re providing a quick and easy guide to help you dress for a successful branding session. 

Branding Photo Taken by St. Catharines Photographer

Choosing Outfits for Your Brand Photography

Wardrobe is an important part of your branding session. Your clothing needs to help you create a personality, without overshadowing you as the subject of the photos. There’s a science to getting this balance right. As photographers, we’ve found that choosing a wardrobe can be both the biggest source of stress, or fun depending on the way you look at it. 

A study of American women showed that the average woman in the course of her lifetime will spend one year of her life trying to decide what to wear. Maybe that’s not so bad if you love the creative work of picking out your clothes. But if it stresses you out, you deserve more ease in your life! 

Does trying to decide what to wear bring you joy or stress? 

Either way, we’ve curated a list of our best advice to help you navigate dressing for your branding session – with confidence and ease! 

How to Decide What to Wear To Your Photo Session

First, let’s begin with a question that should come before “What should I wear to my branding session?” We think the first question should be, “How should I decide what to wear to my branding session?” 

And our first piece of advice – consult an expert. 

1. Hire A Stylist:

Let’s start with our #1 tip: hire a wardrobe stylist for your branding session. Stylists offer an expert eye when it comes to curating the perfect look for your brand photography! Many people think stylists are a luxury service reserved for celebrities, or big ad campaigns. But finding a stylist who understands your business goals, lifestyle goals and personality can be a major benefit to every business’s brand development – your persona, tone and identity are all ways you can connect with potential clients through your style. Stylists help you curate outfits that are the right fit, style and colour for you and your brand – uniting what makes you feel good with what will speak the right non-verbal cues to your audience. 

With a stylist, you’ll have a consistent look that resonates with your audience across all your photography. When you can build a relationship with your stylist over time, they’ll always be there to help your brand grow and evolve visually, while always staying rooted in your brand values, and confident in your clothes. 

Plus, having a stylist takes ALL the stress out of choosing an outfit – they will help you make the decision for you so you can walk into your branding session feeling like a million bucks. 

We are big fans of Charly Goss Style Inc

Stylist Charly Goss Team Photo in Naturally lit white room

*If you don’t have the budget for a stylist yet in this stage of your business, we’ve got your backs until that time comes. We are here to help you make decisions leading up to your photoshoot, but we can also share a few tips that will help you build more trust in your own fashion sense: 

2.) Time to Think About It:

First, give yourself plenty of time to think about it and decide. Give yourself at least a week to consider your options. Lay clothes out on your bed. Ask one trusted friend for their opinion (don’t ask too many people, that’s just overwhelming!) Wear an outfit for a day and see how you feel in it – pay attention to how people interact with you while you’re wearing it and if you feel like yourself. Do you feel comfortable? Confident? Does this represent and feel like the brand persona you want to convey? If the answer is yes, this might just be the wardrobe option for you! 

3.) No Night-Before Shopping Sprees:  

Along the vein of giving yourself enough time – it’s also worth mentioning not to leave your wardrobe to a last-minute shopping emergency! 

Imagine This: It’s the night before your branding photo session, and you’ve been avoiding the wardrobe decision for weeks. You take one look at your closet, scrounge through your laundry pile and get so overwhelmed you hop in your car and hit up the mall. You have an hour before closing time and nothing in the windows are catching your eye. Now, do you think this would put you in the best frame of mind for curating an outfit that is consistent to your brand? 

In our experience, it’s usually the novelty of having something new that gives people a false sense of confidence, when in fact, wearing comfortable clothes you love is what can generate true confidence (whether they’re new or not!) Those night-before shopping trips usually end up in impulsive buys, that don’t actually match your brand persona, don’t feel comfortable, or maybe don’t even fit right because you didn’t have time to try it on. If you don’t ever see yourself wearing an outfit again after your photoshoot, that is probably a good indicator it’s not a great option for your branding session. Give yourself the time and space to look at your closet, borrow from friends or do some mindful-shopping for that perfect piece you need to complete the look. 

Physcotherapist Portrait from branding photo session by St. Catharines Photographer

4.) Avoid Emotional-Dressing on Photo Session Day: 

Some of us can choose our wardrobe for the day based on our emotions: red when we’re feeling spicy, black when we’re feeling serious, blue when we’re feeling calm, cool and collected. This can be a really fun and healthy way of expressing ourselves in the day-to-day. But when it comes to your photo session, you’ll want to strike a balance between your personal style and your brand persona. Pick out your outfit ahead of time to make sure it feels like a representation of you on any given day. 

Asking For Help:

As you walk through all these decisions, a good photographer will know how to support you in the wardrobe decision-making process. As your photographers, we have a variety of tips and expertise to help you curate an amazing look for your photos. 

Looking and feeling confident in your photography sessions is really important to us, which is why we’re always setting up our clients for success before their photography session with tips like these: 

What to Wear To Your Branding Session:

1. Wear Neutrals

When you’re in front of a camera for professional  branding it is usually best to avoid bright colours and patterns. (We say usually because there might be some instances where pops of colour are well suited to certain brands – we’ll help you know the difference). But often, big and busy patterns can pull all the focus away from some of the most important visual cues in photos – your eyes, your face and your body language. We love this list of classic, neutral wardrobe items that look great in photos. 

Interior Designer Portrait taken in Niagara falls by St. Catharines Photographer

You want your clothes to frame you – not to BE you. Your clothes should amplify your voice and give you the courage to convey your message, not do all the talking for you. 

But trust us, neutral does NOT mean boring! And it doesn’t just mean white or grey. We love when our clients dabble in different variations of neutral. 

You can plan a colour palette that suits you by following these two categories: 

  • Warm Neutrals: These palettes lean into earthy tones like brown, pink, green and beige for a warmer, glowy feel. On the lighter end, it can be colours like beige, oatmeal, wheat grass or camel brown. And on a richer end of the spectrum, it can include sage greens, dusty roses, concrete-greys and terra cotta browns. Descriptive names we would use to describe the vibes in this category are: earthy, rust, clay, Tuscan, library, coffee shop, warm and cozy. 
  • Cool Neutrals: These palettes lean into white and grey to bring out a more light and bright feel. Think crisp white linen sheets or white counters, paired with a fresh white poplin blouse and blue jeans. On the lighter end, it could be a sleek white dress with a light blue blazer, while sitting on an ivory coloured couch. And on the warmer end of this spectrum, it could combine taupe, light yellows, greys and soft blues. Descriptive names we would use to describe the vibes in this category are: minimalist, white space, light and airy, fresh and clean, modern and sleek, soft pastels. 

*Pro-Tip – make sure you don’t wear any apparel with logos on it (other than your own brand)! You wouldn’t want to accidentally promote someone else’s brand in your photography and distract from the work you’re doing and the brand you’re building. 

When you’re having branding sessions done seasonally, think about which tone or spectrum you can work with throughout the year to feel seasonally appropriate through different times. We love the idea of building a neutral wardrobe capsule you can build on over time and have for your photography. 

2. Bring Multiple Outfits To Test Out Different Looks

We always recommend bringing 2-3 outfit changes with you! First of all, because if something isn’t feeling comfortable or doesn’t look right when you see it on our camera, it’s nice to have some other options. But it’s also nice to think about bringing different versions of your brand style to convey a fuller spectrum of emotion in your photography. 

Branding Photos Niagara

For example, maybe you want to consider having: 

  1. A Professional Option: What would you wear to a client meeting? What is the most polished version of yourself that you would present in a brand message? For some brands, their most professional look might be corporate conservative – a suit and tie, or a pencil skirt, collared blouse and heels. For other brands however, this might look like wearing a stylishly curated outfit, with a flair of business-casual: a blouse without the blazer, a trendy hat, skinny jeans, a fitted jumpsuit, etc. For your professional option, you’ll want a more fitted style of clothes for a more clean and tidy look. 
  1. A Casual Option: This is what can give your audience a look into your everyday, or business-casual style. What might you wear to work on a regular day? What would you look like while you’re working on a client project or taking zoom calls from home? … While we wouldn’t typically recommend sweatpants, we can definitely bring out a more down-to-earth vibe with items like a nice pair of your favourite jeans, a cozy cable-knit sweater or maybe a looser linen shirt. You can lean into more bohemian styles in your casual outfit as well depending on what level of business casual you’re going for. 
  1. A Fun Option: And maybe you want to lean into one side of your personality for a couple shots! Do you have something ultra-feminine you’d want to wear? Like a sundress, or delicate floral patterns? Or maybe there’s a strong Canadiana feeling to your brand we can pull out with flannel button down shirts and a toque. These can be a really fun way to sprinkle visual cues of your personality throughout your marketing, without making you a stereotype. Just like people, brand personalities can be rich and diverse, so no need to settle on one outfit to try and cover the different facets of your brand!
Jamie & Kim Fitzpatrick

Conclusion:

Choosing what you wear to your branding session is important, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. We are here to help you make that process easy and even fun! Your photographer should be able to give you tips on what to wear to your photography session and how to choose, so that you end up with gorgeous photos to share with the world. If you are looking for advice on dressing for your headshots, go check out our blog on our 7 Most Common Questions About Head Shots

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