Picking what to wear for your headshot session can make or break the photo. In this post, we’ll review some general advice for headshot attire, as well as some specific items to consider for your outfits, depending upon your occupation. Let’s dive into these tips.
What to Wear
- Neutral and solid colors are the best option for headshots because they provide a clean and professional look. Colors such as black, gray, navy, and beige are effective in creating a strong and polished image. These colors are versatile and easy to match with different outfits, making them ideal for many headshot genres.
- Avoid overly bright or bold colors as they can distract and draw attention away from the subject’s face. Bright colors can also cast a color cast on the skin, which can be unflattering in photographs.
- When choosing colors for your headshot outfit, consider the background and lighting. It’s best to avoid matching your outfit to the background, as it can cause you to blend in and become less distinct. Instead, choose colors that complement the background and create a contrast that makes you stand out. Sometimes, using the same color background and outfit could work if the background is in a lower tone than the subject’s outfit.
- If you are unsure of what color to wear, it is always a good idea to consult with your photographer, as they have the expertise to advise you on the best colors for your skin tone and the background.
- It is also a good idea to bring a few different color options, even if you think you know exactly what you want to wear. Sometimes, the color that you think will look best in photos may not be the case.
- Colors could date your photograph. With fashion, prints and colors are limited to a specific season or year. Wearing those in your photo tells everyone looking at it when you took that photo.
Accessories can enhance the look of your photo and make it stand out from the rest. Here are some tips:
- Keep jewelry simple and understated. A pair of small, stud earrings is usually a good choice. Avoid chunky or flashy jewelry, as it can be distracting.
- Be mindful of hairstyle. Make sure your hair is styled and tidy, as your hair can be an important part of your professional headshot.
- Consider your eyewear. If you wear glasses, make sure they are clean. Dirty glasses can show on your final photos.
- Avoid heavy makeup, as it can create a harsh or unnatural look. Stick to natural, neutral tones, and avoid shimmery or glittery products.
- Avoid over-accessorizing. Keep it simple, and don’t distract from your face with too many scarves, hats, or other accessories.
The headshots for actors have much more freedom about what they’re allowed to wear, since the goal of such shots is to depict who you really are. That’s why being yourself is more important than what you wear.
You need to look sharp and tidy. Dress accordingly to what your next casting will be about.
Headshots for creatives (writers, artists)
If you are in a creative profession, you want your personality to shine through. So you have a little more wiggle room than other professions for headshots. But you don’t want to push the envelope so far that no one takes you seriously.
The general tips above are expert advice to follow to pick colors and staying away from wild accessories. But the nice thing is you aren’t restricted to layers or suit jackets. If you want to wear single layers or sweaters, you can. You are not as constrained with colors either.
You don’t need to stick to the strict rules of mid-range colors. Just make sure you wear nothing that clashes with your skin, take the focus away from you in the picture, or will date the photo too much. You could also probably sneak in some timeless prints that won’t lock your shot down to a specific time period.
You can even have a little more fun with your accessories. Just like with colors, don’t go too far and take the focus off of your face. But you don’t need to stick with such simple earrings and necklaces.
Professionals (accountants, doctors, lawyers, etc.)
Those who fall into this group will need the most formal and serious-looking versions of headshots. As much as we want people in these professions to be humans, these are serious jobs, and we want to know that the person we have hired in this role is a very serious person.
Doctors have it the easiest in this group. Their headshot will include the doctor’s lab coat over anything they are wearing. Men should wear a tie, and women should have a mid-range colored button-up shirt.
Others that fall into this category should wear business suits. That is what we like to see out of people in these fields, so that is what you should have on during your headshot. Keep everything fairly plain for your shoot, as well. Suiting should be gray, navy blue, or black. Only incorporate stripes if they are thin stripes. Bold stripes will take away from you during the photo session.
The shirting underneath your suiting should be subtle pops of color, but absolutely nothing too bright or too bold. It just doesn’t fit these professions. Apply the same rules to your tie. It should serve as a compliment, not a distraction.
Anyone else needing a headshot
This category is almost like a catch-all for anyone else who wants to add a headshot to their social media profiles or websites. You may not fit into one grouping above, but you still need to make sure you are putting your best foot forward.
You want to make sure you present a pulled-together image, but you don’t want to look too formal. A great way to achieve that would be to wear a blazer with a t-shirt underneath. The blazer will give you a look of authority, but not a formality. You can push the limits on the t-shirt in terms of color, but not too much. You want just a slight pop of color.
Women can follow these rules also and add just a little more style with a necklace or earrings. Instead of a classic chain, a woman could have a longer necklace with beads and hoops or long earrings instead of simple studs. You still look pulled together, but not too formal, not too casual.
I hope this article was helpful to you. No two headshots will be the same. And every person taking part in one of these sessions will want to add some type of fun flair to it. These are easy and fast rules. These are just useful tips to follow that will help the session run smoother and fall in line with industry standards. Always ask your photographer for his/her suggestions and feedback. Bring multiple outfits to a shot just to be on the safe side and to give both of you an array of options.