What you wear on camera can have an impact on a number of levels. Firstly, there is the impact on you as presenter. Your performance will suffer if you aren’t a) comfortable and b) confident. Secondly, if you wear the wrong thing, whatever that is, it can act as a distraction, drawing your audience’s attention away from your message. One way to think about what you wear on camera is in terms of colour.
In this article I am going to talk through some of the ways that colours can impact on your appearance on camera. I am also going to offer some thoughts on the meanings that colours have in society and how they are therefore perceived by audiences.
7 top tips for choice of clothes in online video
Colours around the face
There are certain colours that when worn near your face, can really bring out your best features. Other colours won’t do you any favours and you should avoid wearing them near your face.
Rich colours such as ruby red, emerald green and sapphire blue look good against a range of backgrounds and are also kind to most skin tones.
Solid colours are better than patterns. They are less likely to date and will keep you looking fashionable for longer.
Pastels should be avoided as they can make you look washed out. When they are combined with bolder colours this is less of a problem.
Beware of black
Black can age the skin. It can actually look great on camera but only when particular effort has been made with lighting and make up to restore your complexion. If a dark colour is necessary, navy blue is a good alternative to black.
Use matte fabrics
Shiny fabrics that reflect light are not very flattering. Thicker cotton and matte fabrics are kinder to the lines of the body and dampen shadows.
The impact of background colour
The colour of the background in your video will effect how the colour of your clothing comes across. Blue is a very popular background colour for TV because it is kindest to the widest range of skin tones. White backgrounds can look amazing (think Apple…) but you need to get the lighting right to avoid it being too bright.
Gideon Shalwick made this great video about creating that great white background effect:
Patterns, including stripes, often don’t come across well on camera. They can have the unfortunate effect of making the viewer dizzy. If you add a solid colour layer to a patterned item, it can reduce the negative effects of the pattern.
What do different colours mean?
As a society, colours are associated with more than simple visual stimulation. Interior designers utilize particular colours in order to create specific moods in different spaces. The same philosophy can be applied to clothing.
Red grabs attention and is a colour associated with passion and romance.
Orange is like red and grabs attention, but not as forcefully. It is a very energetic colour but it is not an easy colour for many skin tones to wear.
Yellow is a happy colour and is also associated with intelligence and inspiration.
Green is associated with nature and is calming and soothing. It is unfortunate that green is not an option for those of you working with green screen.
Blue has two sides to it. On the one hand it is a soothing colour and is associated with creativity. On the other hand, it can come across as cold.
Purple is a very stimulating colour and is associated with spirituality and intuition.
Pink is associated with romance and happiness. Pink is a love/hate colour, so if you hate it, avoid it! Pink has become very much tied to the idea of ‘girly’ and ‘princess’ – these connotations can’t be avoided and are worth considering when deciding what to wear.
White reflects light. It is associated with peace and simplicity, as well as sterility and innocence.
Black is a very authoritative colour. It denotes seriousness and responsibility (hence the tendency of people to wear black for job interviews!).
A simple consideration of our understanding of colour can help you make better decisions about what to wear on camera in order to create the perception you are hoping for.