HOW TO STYLE
(EVEN WHEN YOU THINK YOU HAVE NO STYLE)
(EVEN WHEN YOU THINK YOU HAVE NO STYLE)
When you’re asked, “what’s your style?”, most people shuffle through fashion trends or color palettes in their minds, but have a hard time nailing down one unique style.
For some, our home decor brings together different items you love, but doesn’t fall under one particular look. For others, they find themselves head-over-heels in love with one trend this season, but switch a 180 the next.
Truth is, most people have a hard time knowing what their style is, let alone accessorizing it, mix n’ matching it, or naming it. So how do we visually “style” our videO content, when we haven’t the faintest about what that is?
Well luckily for you, you already have a style, even if you don’t know it. And, you don’t need to be a designer to stand out on video with style. Here’s the thing: styling your videos is simply about adding elements that reveal parts of who you are, but in a completely do-able way. There are 4 main elements that you’ll need to think about when it comes to styling your videos:
· Your clothing
· Your background
· Your music and video design elements
· Your content
Before we dive in, I just wanted to say one thing that’s super important: how your audience perceives your brand is through the culmination of your content, and not just that pretty bookshelf in the background.
Your content itself is equally important when it comes to making your viewers trust and want to know your brand. Don’t aim for perfection because these 4 elements all build onto one another, and it’s your consistency that creates brand resonance, presence and authority.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s dive into some of the elements you can start to style and have fun with!
We all want to look professional and put our best footage forward with our online content. Some of us will reach for that pant suit (even though we haven’t worn it in real life since 1998) because we believe it exudes the kind of feeling we want our brand to show. But what often happens (and I’ve witnessed this time and time again .. myself included!) is that you end up putting on a role that doesn’t actually feel like YOU.
When it comes to choosing the right outfits for video, a great general rule of thumb is to ask yourself: “does this feel like me?” You can absolutely dress up and accessorize, but don’t do it for the sake of brand perception if it’ll make you feel awkward. That feeling will transfer onto camera, so just DO YOU. A polished version of you, yes. But an overly polished version of you is completely unnecessary. Start by going into your closet and looking at the outfits you frequently wear in everyday life.
· Stripes and dense patterns! This can often create an optical effect on videos, AND if you're not perfectly centered in the frame, most cameras will "bend" these patterns causing strange looking distortions that are less than flattering.
· Wear all white. White looks so sleek in real life, but on camera ... it often translates to an off-white and "expands" from its actual size. No bueno.
· Flashy or dangly jewelry. Not only that they can be distracting if they cause a glare from strong lighting, but the "clang" of bracelets and heavy necklaces often proves to be a nuisance of a noise distraction that you can't fix in editing.
· Wear clothes that feel like YOU. If you wear something uncomfortable, it shows up on your face and body language! So ditch that suit jacket and wear something that you would actually wear in real life!
· Wear colors that complement your background. Have navy blue wallpaper print behind you? Then don't wear black because more dark colors will just drown you out. Opt for something that "pops" against your background.
· Wear colors that compliment the webpage that your video will live on! For example, if you're making a sales page video, make sure that pretty top is going to look nice against the brand colors that are already on your webpage so your look is totally cohesive!
Finally, don't overthink it. Once you've chosen an outfit that looks and feels like you, don't spend too much time fidgeting over every crease or which earrings will match. Yes, we want to look great on camera, but what's most important is that you just get OUT THERE. What I've learned is when something is easy and fun, you're more likely to do it more often.
Like your clothing, your background should complement your clothing, and reflect your personal style. There are a few different ways to achieve this, ranging from super simple, to super custom. Let’s run through your options.
SHOOT “CORNER TO CORNER”
If you have a larger space, like a living room, shooting corner to corner will give you a nice depth of field, and makes your videos truly unique because it’s your space. Corner to corner refers to a method of setting up your camera to give you the MOST space behind you and your background. Most people don’t realize this, but this space is what gives your video image that beautiful crisp subject and blurry background so many desire.
There’s something called “depth of field” that filmmakers, photographers and videographers use all the time to draw attention towards one thing. In geek speak, it’s the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects that give an image judged to be in focus in a camera. All you need to know, is that when you have space and distance BEHIND you, your camera won’t be able to focus on objects far behind you, thus creating the blurry background look that’s so desired.
Keep in mind that a smartphone camera won’t blur your background as much as a 50mm prime lens on a DSLR, but it will help to make you “pop” from your background, especially if you’re using the right colors.
WALLPAPERS OR BACKDROPS
If you’re limited to a small space, or, if your living space isn’t camera ready, then a removable wallpaper or hanging backdrop may be ideal for you. This option is fairly inexpensive, and you can find many different options online. You can even use a curtain from your local home decor store. Just make sure the curtain is wide enough for your camera lens so you don’t see the edge of your backdrop. This may mean you need to set up a test shot first to get the required measurement.
· Don’t get a backdrop with dense polka dots, stripes, or such patterns because they may “bend” in the corners of your camera frame and also risk looking dizzy on video.
· Don’t get a backdrop with a very dark color (unless it’s on brand, and you’re using a light kit to light your background properly) because it can drown you out on camera, instead of making the subject “pop”.
·Set up your camera to find the proper width required for your backdrop so you don’t see the edges of your white walls peaking through! Every camera lens is different, with smartphone and iPad lenses generally being wider, so take the time to find out the width you need, before you shoot.
· Do take the time to hang your backdrop properly so there are no wrinkles which can become exaggerated on camera (and look less than pro!).
· Choose a color that compeiments your skin tone and your outfit colors. You’ll always want to select colors that help you to “pop” from the background.
YOUR MUSIC & DESIGN ELEMENTS
Not all of your videos require a soundtrack and brand fonts for text elements, but they definitely add a layer of uniqueness and professionalism. Any editing software (Mac, PC or cloud-based) will be able to add your logo and a unique soundtrack for brand cohesiveness across all your video content!
SOUNDTRACK & DESIGN ELEMENT DON’TS
· Don’t select a soundtrack just because you like it. Make sure it’s aligned with how you want your audience to perceive your brand.
· Don’t select a soundtrack that has strong vocals because they tend to compete with your speaking audio.
· Don’t agonize over the “perfect” soundtrack. You’ll probably want to change this every year or so, so just choose one that feels like you, and stick with it!
SOUNDTRACK & DESIGN ELEMENT DO’S
· Do drop a .png of your logo into your editing timeline to create a fullscreen image of your logo at the beginning and/or end of your videos. Just make sure it’s close to 1920x1080 HD resolution so you don’t get pixelation in the final video.
· Do use clean fonts for readability of your main text elements. Scripts and fancy fonts can be hard to read, especially in videos with other moving elements.
Ultimately, your content will be largely how your audience perceives you and your brand. While you might be tempted to spend a lot of time getting that background just right, your audience is looking for great content that will help them!
When thinking about what type of content you should create, always have the end in mind first! What is the goal of this content? Is it to accompany an offer on a sales page, or will it be live on your website in your vlog to attract traffic and potential customers? By starting with the end in mind, it’ll help you to get a clearer picture of:
1. Who is your ideal customer/client that you want to attract?
2. How are you using your content to show them that you’re different and trustworthy?
3. What is the action you want them to take after they’ve finished consuming your content?
· Don’t focus on how long the video should be, rather focus on delivering succinct, actionable content that delivers value.
· Don’t overwhelm your audience with too much information in one video. Treat it like a blog post where you’re always focusing on one key concept, then breaking that concept down into 3-5 key ideas that your audience can take action on.
· Don’t stop after the video content is created. That’s just the first step! Make sure you’re sharing your content across your social media streams multiple times to generate maximum traffic.
· Create content that specifically addresses the questions and challenges of your ideal customer/client. Think of each video as speaking to one person.
· Do be consistent in creating content, even if that’s just once every two weeks or once a month. It’s your consistency that’ll attract the audience you want.
· Do include the words you use in your natural speech in your content! By sprinkling in how you really speak, this gives your audience more insights to your personality and uniqueness.
How you style your videos is a series of intentional decisions to highlight aspects of your brand and the best parts of you. The most important thing to know is that your brand will evolve, so don’t get stuck in perfectionism. Know that your ideal customers are waiting to hear from you, so just getting started is the most important thing. You’ll discover and develop more and more of your unique brand style, the more you DO it.
MASTER BRAND VIDEOGRAPHER
Emmy has been slinging professional and broadcast cameras in the film industry for over 15 years, even before high definition existed. She’s helped clients like MGM and Paramount Pictures bring their vision to life on the big screen, but found her passion in helping entrepreneurs tell their story to spread their brand message and elevate their online presence with branded videos.