Even if you’re the kind of person who pays little attention to what you wear on a day-to-day basis, it’s useful to know a few things about the nature of clothing as it relates to TV and video.
Bear the obvious in mind: cameras, computer monitors and TV screens are not people, they’re machines. And as such, they don’t discern fine visual differences like the human eye.
In the same way that photographers with still cameras can not capture the full dynamic range of a scene, as compared to our eyes, and therefore they shoot to accentuate the range that will be viewable on the final media (photo print, magazine, computer screen, etc), TV and video production have similar limitations.
Here Are The Suggestions I Present to TV Interview Guests
1) First of all, wear clothes that are comfortable.
2) Avoid apparel that is very light (such as white) or very dark (such as black). Even a dark navy blue jacket can blend into a dark background, in the same way that a very light beige could blend into a light background. Also, if white is worn against a dark background, the range of contrast could result in the white being burned out, in other words, having no details at all. Conversely, if black is worn against a white, or very light background, the black clothing could be completely devoid of detail.
3) Additionally, avoid bright colors, such a red or orange, which tend to draw attention away from the subject’s face. (Unless that’s what you want to accomplish). Also, be aware that this point is more pertinent to a TV interview, where the cameras tend to be close. On the other hand, in a situation like a TV debate where the cameras show a group of people on a stage, a woman might elect to wear a bright color to distinguish herself among the others.
4) Generally speaking, solid colors work best. Avoid checked patterns, plaids, extreme stripes or dramatic herringbone patterns – they have a tendency to moiré on screen (which means appear to vibrate).
5) It’s useful to wear a buttoned shirt or blouse, which makes it easier to attach a lapel microphone.
6) Beware of jewelry that can make noise. The slight rattling or jangling noise that you may not normally be aware of, can be magnified by the microphone during an interview. Be particularly cautious of a necklace that might touch a lapel microphone, and especially avoid bracelets, which can create distracting noises for a person who gestures with their hands. In general, minimize jewelry for TV and video interviews.
7) Eyeglasses can create distracting reflections, but if you normally wear glasses, and that’s how people know you, it generally makes sense to wear them, especially if it would make you more comfortable. However, a glare-free type or frames with no lenses would be ideal.
8) In many instances, it would be best to bring an alternative selection of clothing to help the director present you in the best possible light.
For information on how to best present yourself as an interview guest on TV, check out this article: Video and TV Interview Tips.
Avid hiker, bicyclist, motorcyclist and long-time advertising pro. Founder of Skyworks Marketing, Nonprofit Fire and Our Ventura TV (cable TV). One career highlight was working on a small team that built a business from nothing to over $100 Million in 3 years. Skyworks Marketing provides lead generation and video advertising services. We create custom marketing funnels that provide the highest-quality leads and sales.