What to Wear for a Professional Headshot

 

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An executive headshot is one of the most valuable assets to your personal brand. That’s why it’s important that your clothing reflects your personality, credibility, and who you are as a professional in your industry.

Dress for the part

Select your outfit(s) so that they are appropriate for the market/audience you’re targeting. Dressing down, or going too casual will appear unprofessional. Let your clothing say you are confident, approachable, and professional.

Get the right size

Stick with clothes that fit you. A correctly sized outfit is the most slimming. Squeezing into a dress or suit that fit you a few sizes ago is not only uncomfortable for you, it’ll make your images look awkward. The same can be said for clothes that are too big. Lost a significant amount of weight recently? Take the time to have your favorite jacket or pants tailored. It’s money well spent when you look and feel great.

Solids work better than patterns

Keep it simple when it comes to the design and style of your clothing. Patterns and heavily textured items tend to distract from the main focus of the headshot, which is you, and that defeats the purpose.
For example, tight grid-like patterns can have a weird effect on the camera, but if you would like to incorporate a pattern, thin stripes usually work well. However, under no circumstances should your clothing have writing or a logo displayed on it.

Choosing the right colors

Generally speaking, deep rich colors (black, burgundy, crimson red,) as well as soft pastel colors, (sage green, cream, light blue/gray,) tend to photograph better. Try to avoid bright white, unless you’re layering it under a jacket, cardigan, or sweater. Factor in your skin tone as well. If you have a lighter skin tone, avoid lighter colors that could make you appear washed out. If you have medium or darker skin tones, stay away from earthy tones that may be similar to your skin color.

Keep it pressed and on a hanger

Whether you’re wearing a full suit, formal dress, casual shirt/jeans, or even a simple T-shirt, make sure they are pressed and wrinkle-free. Keep your clothes on a hanger until you’re ready to wear them. Lint, stains, wrinkles become very visible under the lights of the studio.

Clothing tips for men:

  • Avoid shiny, reflective materials, like silk ties
  • Stay classy with a dark suit in navy or gray
  • Don’t be afraid to show a splash of color with your tie.
  • Depending on your session type, you can bring several outfits, at least one business casual outfit, (including jeans)

Clothing tips for women:

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  • Jewelry should fine and understated. Nothing that will dominate your face or distract
  • Avoid short sleeves or narrow/spaghetti straps – bare arms usually take away from an executive headshot
  • Depending on your session type, you can bring several outfits, dress shirts, suits, and professional blouses
  • For hair and makeup, just do whatever you’re comfortable/confident with. A makeup artist can also be brought in if requested (additional charges apply)
  • Your hands will appear in some of the poses, so nail polish needs to be neat or clear
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