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What to Wear (And Avoid!) On Camera: Accessories

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Read Time: 3 min

In the previous tutorial, we looked at what works and what doesn’t on camera when it comes to clothing colours, shapes and patterns. In this tutorial, you’ll learn the dos and don’ts of clothing accessories: things like jewelry, eyeglasses, hats and scarves.

Leave the Crown Jewels at Home

Let’s start with jewelry.

Avoid wearing necklaces and earrings that are really big and shiny. They’ll reflect light and distract the viewer. You should also avoid jewelry that jingles and jangles, like bangle bracelets. This interferes with capturing clean audio.

Here’s a short interview clip to illustrate what I’m talking about. The woman is wearing a funky necklace with lots of dangling parts. Listen closely as she speaks:

Did you hear the clacking of her necklace? Every time she moved or gestured, her necklace shifted around and the lapel mic right next to it picked up the noise. So keep jewelry low key and non-reflective.

Wear Non-Glare Glasses

If you wear glasses, remember that they reflect light too. You’ll really notice this if you’re doing a webcast or Skype call—the computer screen will be reflected in your glasses and people won’t be able to see your eyes:

Eyeglasses with reflectionEyeglasses with reflectionEyeglasses with reflection

If you’re planning to do a lot of work on camera, consider getting lenses with an anti-reflective or anti-glare coating. They can make a big difference! Another thing you can try is moving your glasses down a little lower on your nose. Sometimes just changing the angle of the lens can reduce reflection.

If you’re shooting outdoors, skip the sunglasses. I know, crazy talk, right? The problem is, they cover your eyes. You’ve probably heard the saying “the eyes are the windows to your soul”?  We communicate with our eyes, and when you cover them up, you create a barrier between you and your audience.

Transition lenses are a no-no too. These darken under bright lights or in sunlight—and again, will hide your eyes:

Transition lensesTransition lensesTransition lenses

Hats Off to Hats!

Hats can also be a problem. Take a look at this next interview clip, which was shot on a sunny day:

See how the man’s ball cap casts a strange shadow on his face? We usually wear hats to shade our face from the sun. If your face is in shadow, it will be hard to see. Video cameras have a hard time dealing with extreme contrasts between light and dark. Ball caps often have logos as well, which are trademarked images.

Say No to Scarves

Scarves are a popular fashion accessory, but have you ever tried to attach a lavaliere microphone to one of these? 

Scarf around neckScarf around neckScarf around neck

Sometimes you can hide the mic in the scarve's folds, but you run the risk of all those folds rubbing the mic and creating a rustling noise. So as trendy as scarves may be, they're better left in the closet when it comes time to record video.

Bottom line, when it comes to clothing and accessories for video the rule is simplicity. Remember, you want people to focus on you and your message, not what you’re wearing. Wear clothing and accessories that you feel good in, and your confidence will be reflected in your on camera performance!

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