Professional headshots are all about communicating with your audience. It is essential that your look matches what you want your image to convey.
I suggest looking professional yet approachable, as well as trustworthy and intelligent. That may seem like a lot to fit into one photo, but a big part of your headshot is the wardrobe. Take a few minutes to think about all of the things that make up your personal brand and what you want others to take away from a glance at your profile.
Keep your colors calm
That means no neon or blindingly bright colors and especially no busy patterns. These distract from your face, which is the main focus of the photo.
Instead, opt for solid, neutral colors and jewel tones, which flatter almost any complexion. Avoid flesh tones like beige or tan and keep away from dark black or bright white. If you’re looking for a neutral color, go with navy, burgundy, gray or forest green. A great way to choose your outfit color is to find a top that matches the color of your eyes and build the rest of your outfit from there.
Go for classic, instead of trendy
For the guys, I suggest you think classic. Pick your favorite suit that fits well and doesn’t bunch up when you button it or when you sit down. Stay away from jackets with tight grids or small herringbone patterns as they can have a moiré pattern effect on camera. Ties look best when their tone lands between the suit and the shirt, so a light shirt, a dark suit, and a tie in a shade somewhere between them. Some ties are too shiny—try to stay away from really reflective, shiny, silk ties.
If you don’t wear a tie, choose a non-white shirt if possible. White shirts without a jacket and tie to break them up can lose detail in the color and folds. And if you wear a button-down shirt, it’s best to wear a jacket or sweater of some kind to layer the look. If not, choose a darker color shirt or something with pockets or details to avoid it looking like a head floating on a blank, boxy shirt, and unbutton a button or two. And make sure we can’t see your undershirt beneath the button-down shirt: wear a v-neck or no undershirt at all.
For the ladies, I recommend much the same in keeping it classic. Choose a professional suit or business-oriented outfit that is timeless: you shouldn’t be able to tell what decade it is in the photo.
Keep it conservative
Try not to wear stark white unless it’s under something, such as a suit jacket, cardigan, or sweater. V-necks accentuate the neckline and generally look best on women. Just don’t choose something with too low of a neckline, as too much cleavage may also be distracting from the look you are going for. And no turtlenecks—they tend to make people look like they have no neck at all in photos.
Try to stay away from short sleeves or tank tops: executive headshots tend to look better without bare arms, but if you’d like to try showing arms in a sleeveless blouse or shift dress, we could make it work. Just bring a blazer or sweater to put over it as an additional option.
Avoid flashy jewelry
If you’re going to wear earrings or a necklace, keep it simple. Go for small hoops or studs, and avoid loud, colorful pieces that will distract from the rest of your outfit. Statement necklaces may seem fun, but they can easily draw all the focus in an image.
Make sure you’re comfortable
It’s essential that you feel at ease in whatever outfit you choose because if you’re uncomfortable, it will definitely show in your photos. If you buy a new outfit for your session, be sure to try it on and wear it around a bit beforehand to make sure you feel comfortable in it. Your clothing reflects who you are, so don’t wear something that feels completely unnatural and unlike your everyday work wardrobe.
Don’t wear your outfit to your session
You don’t want your chosen blouse or shirt getting wrinkled by your car seatbelt. Wear some comfortable clothes to your session and bring your outfit in a garment bag or on hangers to avoid any unexpected wrinkles or stains before the session.
Wear casual shoes
The best thing about headshots is that you don’t have to create a full outfit. In fact, your shoes don’t even have to match the rest of your look! Just choose shoes that you feel comfortable in since they won’t appear in your images.
Putting together an outfit for your headshots may seem a little overwhelming at first, but just think about how you want to present yourself to the world. You do this every day in your choice of clothes for work, so put the same thought into your outfit for your session!