John DeMato - NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

NYC Branded Lifestyle Photographer - Blog

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photography Blog | Hi, I'm John DeMato, and I collaborate with thought leaders to create powerful, purposeful and authentic images. This is my blog where I talk all about the magic behind the portraits we create.

The outfits dilemma


Oh jeeeeez, what outfits am I gonna wear????


::sigh:: let's talk a lil' bit about picking outfits, shall we?


When you think of investing in a branded lifestyle portrait session, do you get hung up on the idea that you need to buy new outfits before you even think about setting foot in front of the camera?

Do you break out in hives thinking about additional accessories to purchase?

Is this you? Yeah, YOU!

Don’t be afraid to admit it, it’s cool. You wouldn’t be the first person to raise this issue during our initial, get-to-know-each-other conversation. 

Or, the 20th person, for that matter, :)

For many of my thought leader clients, their first instinct is to buy new outfits from head-to-toe because they want to look sharp, fresh and new.

This is totally understandable, and, far be it from me to stand in their way of building confidence by purchasing outfits that inspires them to feel awesome.

But, when this activity creates a roadblock to investing in image content that will help provide you the visibility that you need in order to create massive impact, that’s when we have to have a tough love intervention.

Before you steal money from your grandmother’s cookie jar in the back of the cupboard to buy that new blouse you’ve been eyeballing for a month…

...take a breath…

...and, take stock in what you already own.

But, before you do that, may I remind you...

The goal of your branded lifestyle portrait session is to capture photos that present you powerfully, purposefully and authentically in front of the camera in order to create image assets that visually punctuate the stories you want to share about your business, brand and life.

Keeping that in mind, here are some questions to answer as you rifle through your wardrobe closets at home:

  • Do you have a specific style to your outfits that you wear while facing clients?
  • Do you have a specific style to your outfits that you wear when speaking from the stage?
  • Do you have a specific style to your outfits that you wear when working in your office/home?
  • Do you have a specific style to your outfits that you wear when relaxing at home?

Once a couple outfits step out in the forefront of your mind, answer this:

  • Which, if any, of these outfits do you feel comfortable and confident in while standing up and sitting down??

As you take a mental note of these specific looks, grab them out of the closet and take a picture of each.  Before you put them back in the closet, may I suggest that you consider adding some type of layer - scarf, vest, tie, etc - to each as a way to create an even more textured outfit?

Let’s continue with accessories:

  • Which accessories - necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc - do you wear often?
  • Which accessories have the most emotional resonance for you? (Handed down to you? Gift from someone special? Signifies a huge accomplishment/turning point in your life?)

Once you identify a couple specific pieces, mix and match them with the outfits that you have already created and see which work best together.

Here’s some more questions to help focus your effort:

  • Are there any quirky elements to your wardrobe style? Wear fun socks a la Ted Rubin? Interesting hats, scarves or bandanas?
  • Any awesome heels, flat or other types of shoes that you want to show off?
  • Do you own any outfits that represents your families’ cultural traditions, like my client, Chinwe Esimai?

If you have somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-8 outfits that not only encapsulates your personality and brand, but also leaves you feeling like a kickass rockstar, then don’t sweat buying anything else, because you have enough to create a visually diverse, high-volume, image library.

If you don’t have that many, then okay, perhaps a brief shopping outing might be a great option for you - whether you want to hire a stylist to help or go out on your own, that’s entirely up to you.

Either way, before you put a dent in your credit card, dig deep inside your closets and really analyze what you already have.  

You might surprise yourself at what you find, :)

Now, in case if you were wondering, nope, I’m not side hustling as a fashionista, but, I do work with clients in order to prepare them for all aspects of their branded lifestyle portrait session.

In addition to wardrobe, I ask a ton of questions during their pre-session strategy call, also known as the Brand Image Elevation Plan, that are meant to unearth who they are, who they serve, what are their motivations, what work looks like to them, what services they are promoting, and many, many other questions that usually takes about 2 hours to answer.

From there, I map out a shot sheet of branded lifestyle portraits that will visually illustrate their answers and complement the stories they share with their tribes on social.

Sounds like something that would benefit you?


Set up a time to chat with me and let’s make sure we’re a good fit to work together, :)


PS - For those of you who aren’t in the know, I mail out these blogs 3x a week, and lemme tell you, they’re a real party, so, if you’d like to get in on this, sign up for it here and I’ll throw in a free gift for you...because I care, :)