Over the years, I have photographed quite a lot of public speakers. I know that each speaker wants to look their best on stage and in their images. Having a good image of yourself is great when you can also use it for your marketing materials! Have you ever thought, “This picture would have been great if…” Well, I have gathered a few tips from my experience as a photographer that can change that statement!
Wear black sparingly. While you may be tempted, wearing some color allows for separation between you and the background…especially if the background is black. The only time I say to wear black is if you know for certain the background is very busy in color and pattern. If you’re wearing a black suit, wear a brighter top underneath (white works!).
Wear solid colors. The easiest way to look in style is to wear a solid colors. If you must wear patterns, make sure it is subtle.
When speaking, use two hands to count. Most people use one hand to signal example #1 and example #2. The issue is when you use #1 as your thumb and #2 as your pointer finger…it ends up looking like a gun. The solution: use both hands to count. One hand touches the finger on the other hand. Another option is to use American Sign Language numbers, which starts #1 with your index finger and #2 as your middle finger.
When speaking, face your palms up. Palms up shows openness. Most public speakers want to be viewed as open, honest, and trustworthy. Facing your palms up shows this.
Remove water bottles/labels. If there is a plastic water bottle near you, put it on the floor beside you. If you’re at a podium, place it inside the podium. This is especially true if that bottle has a label. If it’s a plain white (or on-brand) porcelain cup, it’s fine where it is.
Remove your name badge. You’re the guest, we all know you!
Look up and around. Variety is key. Looking up and around allows us to get a different angle when you’re speaking. Plus, we only photograph when you’re looking out at the audience.
Here are some examples:
Palms up when speaking/pointing, no name tag. Background was white and red, so she stood out wearing black and red.
No bottles near speakers’ faces (they were all on the floor!). Also good example of wearing solid colors.
Standing out on a black backdrop, wearing solid colors that had very subtle patterns.
Hope these tips help you get the best pictures from your event!
Hi! I'm Ana! Thanks for stopping by! I'm a wedding, family, and corporate photographer in Washington, DC and San Antonio, TX. When I'm not shooting, I'm often outdoors enjoying the day or dining at a new restaurant in town!