What to Wear for Professional Headshots

Professional Headshots - What to Wear

You want your headshots to standout, but not in bad way! Choosing the right outfit, accessories, and hair/makeup look will make all the difference. I’ve compiled my best tips and tricks to help you look and feel your best in your headshots below.

You should wear what makes you feel like your best professional self. Something you would wear on an interview for your dream job. This is not the time to go crazy and wear something completely outside of your norm or that you would never typically be seen in. Choose an outfit that makes you feel like you’re ready to take on your career!


General Tips -

The general rule of thumb is to avoid getting your hair cut or colored less than 2 weeks before your headshots. Many times, hair changes need a few days to “settle in”. This will also leave you plenty of time to make any adjustments should you be unsatisfied with the results of your change!

Don’t forget about your skin, lips, and nails! These may seem like minor details, but they can make big difference. Be sure to drink plenty of water the days leading up to your photoshoot. Don’t schedule any dramatic skin treatments like a facial or peel before the shoot, and don’t do any excessive exfoliating the day or two before. Keep your skin and lips moisturized, and get plenty of rest the nights leading up to your shoot! Don’t forget your nails - I highly recommend manicures for both men and women.
Following these tips will ensure that your skin is bright, glowing, and photo ready!

My number one rule is that YOU feel GOOD in your clothes! The tips I outline below are general guidelines. Our ultimate goal is that you feel great in what you’re wearing, because confidence is the #1 thing to bring to a shoot.
We want your personality and style to show, but the main focus of a professional headshot is your eyes and smile. Choose something that feels like you, but avoid anything too loud, trendy, or off-base for your profession.

What to avoid
-Avoid flesh-colored tones! These will wash you out and distract from your face.
-Don’t be afraid of a little color! You may think all black is slimming, but your shape can be completely lost in a photograph when wearing all black. Be sure to follow your company’s guidelines, but some color can add personality.
-I also recommend staying away from very busy patterns. A professional headshot should highlight your eyes and smiles, and busy patterns tend to take away from that.
-Avoid any kind of clothing that adds a lot of volume such as a scarf or ruffles.

Men -

Facial Hair
It’s up to you (and your company guidelines) if you want to be clean shaven or not. If you choose to go clean-shaven, be sure to shave the morning of. Depending on the speed of your hair growth and the time of day you are being photographed, you may want to consider bringing your shaving kit with you to avoid any late-day stubble.
If you choose to show off your facial hair, it is imperative that it is well groomed. Your edges should be freshly shaved the morning of, and all hairs tamed and in-place. If you don’t already, consider using a beard balm or oil for the week leading up to the shoot to soften and tame your facial hair.

Tie or no tie?
This plays in to your overall personal brand. I have photographed men of all professional levels with a tie and without a tie. There are really only two major guidelines when it comes to ties:
-Avoid tiny stripes. This creates a strange visual when captured on camera.
-Rule of thumb - a tie can be worn with a sport coat or suit coat, but you should not wear a suit coat without a tie.
Be sure to follow your company guidelines.

Tailored Clothing
A tailored suit will ALWAYS photograph better than an ill-fitted suit. You should choose a coat that fits you correctly; not too big and not too small. There is more wiggle room when it comes to shirts, but again, choose a shirt that truly fits you well on the day of your shoot.

Women -

Coat or no coat?
It’s up to you (and your company guidelines) if you want to wear a coat or not! I will say that coats are a great way to flatter anyone who may be self-conscious about their mid-section, but it is not the only option. Goes with what makes you feel best and what is typically part of your wardrobe.

While we certainly want to avoid necklines that are too revealing, necklines that show just a bit of collarbone or skin are most flattering on camera. Always choose something you’re comfortable in, but a modest v-neck or crew neck opens up the face and neck creating a slimming effect.

This is not a statement piece moment! I definitely want you to show off your personality and style, but professional headshots should focus on your eyes and your smile. I usually recommend choosing earrings or a necklace, but not both. Again, this is just a guideline and there are plenty of exceptions, but use your discretion to choose something that will keep the focus on your face. Also avoid excessive wrist and finger jewelry. Simple bracelets, rings, or watches are fine.