It’s a fact business images that work seldom ******** from the predictable: business teams, meetings, handshakes, office collaboration and portraits. Within these scenarios you should always try to move ahead by updating wardrobe and props as your images evolve.
The button-down era isn't over but nor does it dominate business dress as in the past. Dress codes in the high tech business are pretty much out the window. Younger workers prefer to dress more in business casual than in uptight suits. Your images should reflect these trends. Think of Steve Jobs in his black jersey and jacket…and he isn’t even all that young!
The ever present briefcase has also become a dinosaur for many. Who carries a laptop in a brief case? So replace that case with a hipper newer looking laptop case in your next business images.
Although the cubicle is still a staple, albeit an isolating office standard, new office environments are beginning to emphasize open plans and temporary stations for home workers. Office locations are not easy to get into without paying location fees. The safest route for business situations is to let the background fall away. That way the image isn’t associated with a particular type of office furniture or décor.
Here are some current wardrobe tips that that I developed from a site that I found for dressing for a successful business interview. The same rules pretty much apply to styling a business photo.
1. Instead of the same old white shirt and tie on the CEO types, dress them down in black. Try a dark shirt and jacket with a bold tie. Younger guys look hip in a white shirt, tails out but ditch the white shirt for the older guys.
2. Solid color, conservative jacket/suit or shirt/pants for both men and women. To ensure maximum variety in the shoot, photograph the models with and without the jacket.
3. Shirts and blouses should also be solid colors if possible. The nerdy guy has become a cliché in an ugly patterned shirt.
4. Shoes-forget the sexy wedgies but also don’t allow clunky librarian shoes (apologies to all fashion hip librarians!) Men’s shoes don’t have to be as conservative as in the past. The rock star look might be a little much for most users of business images but hip, casual shoes with jeans and a dress shirt/jacket would be good to see now and then.
5. Limited jewelry. Keep it to a minimum, be especially wary of very large hoop earrings or plunging necklines. A savvy photographer I worked with photographed a model in a series of business images wearing a cross necklace and then other nearly identical images without the cross. Always maximize the opportunity by thinking of all the possible users that you can include and don’t want to exclude.
6. Neat, professional hairstyle for both women and men. Don’t go overboard. Most women today keep their hairstyles very casual for work. Avoid overly styled hair in business situations.
7. Keep the makeup sparse. The model should look professionally made up but with daytime makeup on the light side
8. Manicured nails. ALWAYS look at your models hands. Remove wedding rings for some of the shots.
9. Pin one of those American flag lapel pins on the lapel of a man in a suit to get last minute US election downloads. We have not one shot of the flag pins that many US politicians consider de rigor.
The above doesn’t mean you dump the white shirt and tie altogether. Even just substituting a dark shirt for a white one or going without a tie and rolling up the sleeves of a white shirt will make the models more contemporary no matter their age. Search on ‘Business casual’ and you’ll see why it might be a good idea to rework some standard business shots with a fresher wardrobe.
Speaking of age. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: try to vary the ages of the members of a business group so that they aren’t all under 30. Uniformity of age in business group shots limits the usage of the final product. The older woman or man in the shot doesn’t always have to appear to be the leader. Remember the founders of today’s super successful web 2.0 companies are mostly under 30. Some of the staff that reports to them can be twice their age.
Want to know how NOT to style models for business shoots? See a review of crazy fashion from all over the world?Go here
Business casual wardrobe tips