Photo Copyright Scott Bourne

Photo Copyright Scott Bourne

Whether you’re shooting video or stills, if you’re working with people there are some things you can do to make sure your shoot goes smoothly, and that your subject looks their best. This is a short list to get you started.

  • Ask the subject to bring at least one alternate set of clothing so you can change as needed if the clothes don’t look flattering on camera.
  • For those who are prone to sweat (especially under hot lights) revisit the old days and ask them to wear an undershirt.
  • Herringbone, stripes, or small patterns do not look good on camera.
  • Keep jewelry simple.
  • Ask your subject not to wear bright white. Cream, eggshell, or a light gray is preferred for proper contrast on camera.
  • Ask your subject to consider wearing a light coat of makeup (typically a foundation or light cream). This is to help the subject look and feel their best. Even men should have some makeup if under hot lights.
  • Spend time getting to know your subject – it will help them relax.
  • When shooting men, give them something to do with their hands if possible.
  • Don’t hide behind the camera. Come around where the subject can see you.
  • Have your set together before the subject arrives. Don’t spend time fiddling with camera adjustments and lights as if you’re doing this for the first time.
  • Be conversational. Keep talking so the subject doesn’t get that “deer in the headlights” look.
  • Always reassure the subject during the shoot. Saying things like “That’s it,” or “Wow you look great,” will elicit a more natural reaction.

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About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.

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