How to Successfully Utilize Wardrobe and Makeup in Your Production

A truth about the video production industry is that many video producers get into it for the tech. They love being behind the camera and staying up-to-date on all the latest gadgets and programs that will make their videos the digital beauties they want them to be. But some video producers can forget the elements beyond these aspects that are also needed to make a production truly successful. One of these vital elements is wardrobe and makeup.

The fact of the matter is a good video production has everything ready to go (like your equipment, software, locations, and crew), but if your on-screen talent is wearing even one wrong shade of color, you’ll end up recording footage you won’t be able to use because of glaring visual problems.

How to Use Wardrobe & Makeup Properly

For the most part, the rules about what people should and shouldn’t wear on camera haven’t changed for years. However, many video producers don’t know what these rules are, especially if you’re a new one or you’ve never worked with on-screen talent before. Here’s a run-down of some of the basics you’ll need to know:


1. Avoid all extremes. Stark contrasts in tone, sparkly attire like jewelry and sequined jackets, and patterns like herringbone can wreak havoc on video camera sensors (even with the newer ones on the market). These can all result in harsh rendering, wobbly lines (known as the moiré effect), and sometimes glare.

2. Dress to slim. The camera is said to add ten pounds to the acting talent, so make sure they’re dressed in clothes that flatter their figures but are also appropriate for their character.

3. Stick with some select solids. As mentioned in #1, non-solid colors and patterns cause issues. The best colors to use are pastels, neutrals, greens, and blues. Reds and oranges can look like they’re glowing, and bright white attire can negatively affect the camera’s exposure. Even blacks can look wrong on specific people, so make sure you try out different colors when one’s not working.


1. Go for a natural look. Heavy makeup is meant for the theatre, so keep it there! All foundations on both men and women should even out their skin tone while also not making them look washed-out on film. Like with clothing, reds and metallics/sparkles in makeup can look wrong on film, so avoid using these if possible.

2. Remember to powder. It’s amazing what a small dab of powder can do to reduce shine on-camera.

3. Keep hair under control, too. Men should shave to avoid five o’clock shadows, and women and men with long hair need to pull it back into a ponytail (again, if appropriate for character). Everyone should use hairspray to tame flyaways.

You can read even more tips on using wardrobe and makeup appropriately for your video production in this post, including issues you may run into on set, like glare from glasses.

What to Do When You’re Not Sure

If you simply don’t want to deal with the specifics of wardrobe and makeup for your video production, it’s best to hand the job over to a professional. Every city has makeup artists and costumers for hire, as well as media consultants who know much of the information required to make people look good on camera. You can find their information by googling, using a local directory, or asking your contacts if they know of anyone who can help you.

Unfortunately, not all production budgets are equal. If you’re strapped for cash, you still have a few options. First, you can always double-check your wardrobe and makeup selections yourself. Simply test the products out on camera before you start shooting. Alternatively, if you’d like to leave this chore up to someone else, you could put out a call at your local university to see if any students (especially theatre ones) would be interested in doing an unpaid internship with your production.

Video production is truly the sum of all its parts. And wardrobe and makeup is one of those important elements that when implemented properly, can make your final work look like the masterpiece you wanted it to be.

Bree Brouwer is a freelance blogger and writer who enjoys investigating culture and entertainment, pursuing a better life and business the geek way, and shopping for deals like a true Dutchwoman. Find her at

Man getting makeup applied from Shutterstock 

Photo of shirts hanging in a closet by Shutterstock

Makeup brushes and tools by Shutterstock:
Jennifer O'Rourke
Jennifer O'Rourke
Jennifer O’Rourke is an Emmy award-winning videographer & editor.

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