6 Tips on What to Wear for a Professional Headshot

6 Tips on What to Wear for a Professional Headshot

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What to Wear for a Professional Headshot

Getting a professional headshot taken is not only important for any aspiring actor but also for all professionals in the business world. When taking a professional headshot there are all kinds of tips and advice to consider. Professional headshots should be done as part of anyone’s plan to stand out in their chosen marketplace or field. In order to ensure that you are making the best impression, it's important to put some thought into what you wear for your headshot session! 

Below are our top 6 tips on what to wear to make sure you get the most out of your professional headshot. 

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Learn how to choose the best outfit for professional headshots 

Below are our top 6 tips on what to wear to make sure you get the most out of your professional headshot. 

1. Choose the right color palette

Choosing your color palette begins with your skin tone and eye color. Everyone has a different skin tone and knowing which colors look best on you is important. The goal is to choose a color palette that contrasts your skin with the outfit and the background. 

  • Opt for neutral colors-  black, grey, or navy blue are all safe and go well with most skin tones.
  • White is ok if it is an accent color like a shirt/top or tie. Consider the background your photos will be taken on. It is important to stand out from the background.
  • Choose colors that won't blend into the background.
  • Blues and greens are other options. 
  • Avoid too light of colors that will look nude if they are too similar to your skin tone.

Pro tip: Choose outfits for your headshots that are significantly lighter or darker than your skin tone.

Headshot examples of what to wear 

Best outfit for professional headshot
What to wear for professional headshots

2. Wear subtle solid colors

When selecting what to wear for your professional headshot, it's a good idea to choose subtle solid colors rather than loud busy patterns or plaids. 

What is the best color to wear for a professional headshot?

Stick with neutrals and error on the side of simplicity. Subtle colors will keep the viewer's eye on you rather than the clothing you are wearing. 

  • Neutral colors like navy blue, black, grey, and brown can give a classic look that will appeal to employers. 
  • Choose outfits for professional headshots that are not overly bright. The best practice is to avoid bright colors such as red and yellow. 
  • Wearing white can also wash you out in photos, so instead opt for darker colors like blues and greens that will stand out against the background.
  • If you do wear a white shirt or top be sure the background is contrasting by choosing a darker color. 

3. Wear stylish business attire

How do you stand out in headshots? The best way to stand out in your photo is by wearing stylish business attire.  Think like a boss. What would your boss wear or leader do? Dress for the position or job you want not the job you currently have.  Dress appropriately for industry standards. If this means wearing a tie or suit be sure to wear that in your photo.

  • Put effort into looking polished and sophisticated. This will help to set you apart from others in competitive industries.
  • The best outfits for professional headshots will show some personality and make you look confident.
  • Steer clear of t-shirts and jeans. It’s best practice to avoid overly casual looks during any kind of headshot session –  as they tend not to have a professional appeal for creating corporate looks. 
  • Instead dress up (we don't mean ball gowns or tuxedos either!) in something traditional that looks office appropriate like blazers over dress shirts (or tops), skirts paired with sweaters/ knitwear etc.. 

What color should you avoid for a headshot?

Avoid loud colors such as hot pinks, purples, red, or yellow. In addition, avoid colors that you know will blend into the background preventing you from standing out. 

Branding headshot examples for business.
Business headshot examples female.

4. Opt for clothing that fits nicely and isn't baggy or oversized

When choosing an outfit for professional headshot photos be sure to wear clothing that fits properly. This means not too tight or too loose. If you recently lost weight or gained weight plan accordingly. Look more appealing and feel more confident in a a new outfit.

Some do’s and dont’s for headshots:

Do's

    1. Do wear freshly pressed clothing
    2. Do wear well-fitted clothing 
    3.  Do choose outfits that are standard for your industry
    4. Do wear crisp, tailored, dry clean clothes

Dont's 

    1. Don't wear baggy or oversized clothing
    2. Don't wear old outfits that might be faded
    3. Don't wear an undershirt beneath your dress-shirt
    4. Don't wear loud flashy jewlery
    5. Don't wear tops with a low neck line

5. Accessorize appropriately

Add subtle accessories

Adding subtle accessories can take your look up one notch when done judiciously. It is wise to stick with subtle items that won't distract from the face like minimal jewelry, color-coordinated scarves, and ties for men. Make sure these elements don't overpower what you're wearing or draw too much attention away from your face.

  • Jewelry should be tasteful without getting overly fancy!
  • One major distraction and easily avoidable is making sure your headshot attire is wrinkle-free and pressed properly. 

Avoid these distractions

    • Loud busy patterns and plaids
    • Bright colors like red, yellow, pink, and orange
    • Flashy jewelry
    • Wrinkled clothing
    • Overly casual clothing 
Professional headshot example fremale outdoors.

6. Wear a higher neckline and long sleeves

Be mindful of the neckline and length of sleeves. This is important because too much skin showing in a cropped headshot can be distracting. Most professional headshots will be cropped to fit into profile photos for social media platforms like Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram. Email signatures also use cropped photos. 

  • This tip is especially helpful for women. Be sure your neckline is high enough that if your headshot is cropped your top or blouse doesn't end up looking lower or more provocative than it is.
  • A typical corporate headshot photo will be cropped from beneath your shoulders and up. 
  • Men's headshot outfits should also make sure the shirts can button up to the top so less skin is visible. 
  • Long sleeve shirts are also recommended when planning your headshot outfits. The same rule applies less skin that is visible is less distracting keeping the focus on your face. 

Pro tip:

Men: wear a coat or blazer, and choose a tie that is not distracting. Subtle patterns provide a nice contrast. Ditch the undershirt. 

Women: wear a long sleeve blouse or blazer. Be sure all undergarments are not visible. 

best color to wear for a professional headshot
Professional example of male headshot

Bottom Line

Your headshot photo should show you looking professional, confident, friendly, and approachable. This all starts with choosing the right outfit. This includes picking the perfect color, style, and size for your headshot attire. When you look and feel good you will smile more comfortably and confidently. This will show up in your photos. 

What should you not wear for a professional headshot?

  • The number one rule ditch the casual look.
  • No jeans, t-shirts, or even polo shirts. 
  • Tuxedos or formal gowns
  • Flashy jewelry

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Meet Your Headshot Photographer

Call Me Chris

I won't bore you with too many details, but I will say that I consider myself to be the luckiest guy in the world and I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to merge my passion and career.

A couple of quick things about me personally. I was born and raised in Orange County. I currently live with my family near Huntington Beach where I love to surf or be in the ocean with my boys.

My passions include art, traveling, and of course photography.

Male photographer holding camera.

Meet Your Headshot Photographer

Male photographer holding camera.

Call Me Chris

I won't bore you with too many details, but I will say that I consider myself to be the luckiest guy in the world and I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to merge my passion and career.

A couple of quick things about me personally. I was born and raised in Orange County. I currently live with my family near Huntington Beach where I love to surf or be in the ocean with my boys.

My passions include art, traveling, and of course photography.

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