When shooting a webinar, the camera may love you, but it could still end up hating your outfit, if you don’t choose your clothing and accessories wisely. What dazzles the eye in person can take on far more negative on-screen qualities, causing myriad distractions and technical difficulties.
What you wear for your webinar can have a crucial impact on how your message is absorbed by viewers. And while dressing for webinar success isn’t quite a science, there are several key points to consider when putting together your ensemble. They include:
The Color Pallette
Similar to television production, the colors you wear when streaming a webinar need to be carefully selected according to how those colors are recorded and appear on the screen. Primarily, it’s best to avoid wearing all black or all white, as they greatly affect lighting requirements and can make you appear washed out. (White, for example, can cause bright spots to appear on the screen, while lots of black will absorb light and make you look one-dimensional and without texture.) Red is also tricky, because it can bleed into other neutral colors and makes skin tones appear flushed, while bright yellows, greens, pinks, blues and oranges frequently distract viewers.
Instead, stick to mid-tones, natural and pastel colors, such as beige, light blue, gray, cream and pale pink. Medium shades like dark blue, brown, dark gray and beige work particularly well for suit jackets and blazers.
As subtle as it may seem, even the patterns within the clothes you wear for your webinar will have an impact on the final image. Steer clear of fabrics with patterns such as pinstripes, checks, herringbones, large flowers, dots, tweeds and plaids. Fabrics with these types of designs will “flutter” and “strobe” on camera. Solid colors are always a better choice, as well as understated patterns. For ties, again it’s best to go with either a solid color or very subtle pattern (no stripes!) that works with your jacket and is darker than your shirt. Long sleeves also tend to look better than short sleeves on camera, especially if you’re wearing makeup, which may not match the skin tone of your arms.
Let Your Smile Sparkle, Not Your Bling
Another visual pitfall to avoid is wearing sparkly jewelry and accessories on camera. Shiny jewelry, fabrics and items such as metal tie clips will reflect light back into the camera, so it’s best to only wear simple, non-distracting items, such as watches, belt buckles and lapel pins. Refrain from wearing long-hanging earrings and if you wear glasses, you may even want to wear glare-proof or contact lenses for the shoot.
Keep It Quiet
Jewelry can also be a problem if it rattles, clicks and clanks, such as with multiple bangle bracelets, earrings or long necklaces. These items tend to brush up against one’s microphone, causing distracting noise. Again, when it comes to jewelry less is more, so keep away from all things dangly. Very loose or flowing fabrics will have a similar effect, especially if you tend to use hand gestures when speaking.
Comfort Is Key
While dressing for the part is vital and helps one feel confident on screen (see below), another important consideration is comfort. Studio lights can be quite hot, and if they don’t make you perspire, your nerves may. Keep this in mind when deciding on whether or not to wear a jacket for the shoot; it can go a long way in masking unsightly sweat stains on your shirt. Shoes are also important, so try to select a pair that you’ll be comfortable standing in for an extended period of time, but also look good on camera, in case they’re visible in the shot. If nothing else, bring both a comfortable pair and a camera-ready pair.
Know Your Viewers
Aside from the technical/visual nuances listed above, it’s also essential to dress for your audience, focusing on not overdressing or underdressing. For example, for presenting to students, go casual, or if your audience is high-tech, dressing business casual works fine. However if you’re presenting to a C-level audience or marketers, a suit is better. If you’re unsure, it’s always better to overdress, with business casual as your go-to common denominator. This approach helps to ensure viewers are focused on you and your message, instead of your wardrobe.