What Color Looks Best On Camera (Should You Dress For The Camera?!)

When it comes to having the perfect photoshoot, wearing the right colors can make all the difference – potentially turning a dream shoot into a nightmare, and vice versa. 

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However, there have thankfully never been so many resources available, allowing models and would-be photographers alike to make the right decisions regarding their shoots, and ensuring that only the best results occur. 

But this begs the question: what is the best color to wear on camera, and how can you make the right decision for your shoot? 

The Science Of Color

With regards to color, and the kinds of things you should wear during a photoshoot – or indeed any kind of filming – it is important to consider several factors, including scenery, background, skin color, and the purpose of the shoot. 


When you have the location for a photoshoot or filming session worked out, you should then use this to decide the colors your models will wear

This can often be decided by looking at the color wheel – wherein you can see which colors compliment one another, and which ones clash and contrast. 

For colder environments, or backgrounds that are within colder color schemes (such as blues, grays, and whites) it is important to choose something a little darker or warmer to create contrast. 

Alternatively, if you have a rich, deep background color, then you should choose something more subtle, light, and ethereal to really make the person on camera pop. 

Skin Color

Skin color is also an important aspect to consider. If your model has darker skin, then you should consider lighter colors, as this provides contrast, and is complementary to their shade of skin.

Likewise, if your model has lighter skin tones, then darker colors can really bring out the details in their skin, and add richness. 

This obviously depends on the tone and nature of the shoot, but is important to bear in mind nonetheless. 

Hair Color

Hair color is just as important on camera as skin color, and it can have a significant impact on color pairing, and which colors look good. 

This is something you need to seriously consider when choosing outfits for the model in question – and making the wrong decision can ruin a shoot. 

Generally speaking, darker haired people suit clothing with more muted colors, whereas those with lighter hair suit something richer. However, this is not always the case, so planning needs to happen before shooting. 

What Colors Work Best On Camera? 

Generally speaking however, there are some colors that just work better on camera than others – relating to both the way that cameras pick up and differentiate color, and the editing process once the photos have been taken. 

Choose Warming Colors

Warming colors are known to work better on camera – especially colors like teal, cobalt, purple, and coral, not to mention the shades in between. 

This is because they warm up our complexions, bringing out our best features, and adding a pop of color in the process. 

Choose Solid Color

Generally speaking, it is also better to choose solid colors for your photoshoot instead of patterns, as they can often not have the same effect on camera, and can actually distract from the model themselves in some cases. 

By choosing solid colors, you compliment their appearance and coloring, instead of distracting from it. 

What Things Are Best Avoided? 

Likewise, there are some colors and shades that are best avoided during photoshoots – either because they pose technical problems during the editing process, or because they do not bring the best out of our skin tones when on camera. 

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Avoid All White

One color that should be avoided is white. This is because it can prove really stark against backdrops, and it can actually cause technical issues. 

This is because during the editing process, model’s faces are usually put through exposure edits to ensure that all of the facial features and expressions are visible in the shot.

This is simply to accommodate for natural lighting (or lack thereof) on the day of the shoot, or just to get the best finish. 

As such, when this exposure is adjusted, it can mean that the white becomes almost glowing on the photograph, and takes away from the finished product and distracts from the model themselves. 

Avoid Bright Red

Likewise, it is always best to avoid bright red when shooting photographs, as this can pose problems during the photography process. 

This is because bright red can strangely have a ‘bleeding’ effect on camera, creating a somewhat hazy finish when the photo has been taken. You might think that a brighter color would give more definition, but in actual fact it has the opposite effect. 

Likewise, it can also make lighter skinned models seem flushed or red in the face – an optical illusion caused by bright red clothing on some people. 

Avoid All Black

It is also best to avoid wearing all black clothing – as this can mean that detail and definition is lost during the photographing process. 

This is because darker colors have less clearer definitions when they are paired together, but by simply switching some out with sharp contrasting colors, you can create some really defined, striking looks. 

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about colors, and which ones are the best to wear when being photographed. 

It’s certainly true that the right color can make all the difference, and in many cases can be the only thing separating a good photo shoot from a bad one.

Luckily, there are all manner of resources available now to help you find the right color palette for you and your shoot. 

So if you are interested in learning more, then be sure to check out this handy guide. Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!

Laura McNeill
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