What To Wear For Headshots

You’ve been asked to provide a professional headshot and you have no idea what to wear.

What is a headshot?

A headshot is a photo of yourself that shows your face, with little or no background. It usually has a resolution large enough to show up when printed at 8×10.

Headshots are often used by actors, models, and other professionals:

  • A business headshot allows others to easily identify you, such as on your company’s website or for professional networking online.
  • An acting headshot helps casting directors and agents decide if you’re appropriate for their projects. Actors can be cast based solely on their photos – which means that what you wear in your headshots is extremely important!
  • A modeling headshot needs to demonstrate how well you fit a particular “look” required for the client’s project. For example, one client might be looking for models who look like they could be in an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog, so the model would need to look hip and youthful and conform with the company’s brand of clothing. In contrast, another client might be looking for someone who looks like they could star in “True Blood” or any other gritty HBO drama; this role would require someone with more tattoos or perhaps someone who looks older than they actually are (a “character actor”).


A headshot is a photo of you designed to showcase your appearance for acting or modeling. It typically consists of close-up shot of the face, with a neutral expression. It is important to have an updated headshot at all times as it is your calling card. A good headshot will help get you in the door for castings and auditions.

A headshot should reflect what you look like in real life, so let’s talk about what to wear for your headshots.

Basic Wardrobe Tips

  • Keep it simple. If your clothes are too busy, they’ll distract from your beautiful face and ultimately detract from the picture as a whole.
  • Let your headshot be timeless—avoid trendy pieces for the most part (though a few key accessories can help communicate who you are). Pick a classic look that showcases “you” at your best and makes you feel confident.
  • Coordinate, but don’t match! You don’t want to blend into the background of the photo or be mistaken for an extra in a 1980s music video (unless you’re specifically going for that look). There should be contrast between what you wear and what’s behind you so that your outfit doesn’t get lost in all of the colors, patterns, and textures of a complex background (or vice versa).
  • Bring variety in color and styles to help show off different looks that might suit different roles or characters that you might play. Don’t just bring all black outfits (although 1-2 black outfits can be useful), but mix it up with some earth tones as well as solids, plaids, and some stripes/patterns. But stick with basic prints—no florals or animal prints please!
  • Keep jewelry simple as well—don’t overdo it! Avoid heavy makeup as well so that your face isn’t obscured by any cosmetic products like shimmery highlighters or bright lipsticks/glosses.

1. Keep it Simple

  • Keep it simple.
  • Keep it professional.
  • Keep it timeless.

2. Pick a Classic Look

  • Do not wear trendy clothes. Your headshot is going to need to be updated every few years and you will want it to look as timeless as possible. Choose something that looks classic and sticks with the same styles that you see in magazines today.
  • Wear a suit or a classic outfit. If your headshot is for business purposes, wear something that looks nice but is still simple enough to blend into the background, such as a black dress or pantsuit with a white blouse underneath.

3. Don’t Match Colors of the Background

While choosing a background color is important, be sure not to match your outfit. This will make you blend in with the background and disappear in the photo. The same goes for clashing colors. Be sure the color of your outfit does not clash with the background or else it will stand out too much and be distracting to viewers.

4. Bring Variety in Color and Styles

Bring at least a few options for each piece. You’ll want to bring different colors and styles so you can get a variety of looks out of your outfits. For example, if you’re thinking of wearing a button-down shirt, bring more than one. This way, you have the option to mix and match tops with bottoms, which will give you more looks without requiring more time or money spent on clothing. If you’re not sure how well different pieces go together, try them on beforehand and snap some photos with your phone’s camera so that when you show up for your shoot, you’ve already got an idea of what kind of outfits look good together (and which ones don’t).

5. Avoid Heavy Makeup and Jewelry

Now that you’ve got the outfit and the pose, let’s make sure the face is on point. Your headshot will usually be taken from just above your shoulders up so it’s important to keep your makeup clean and simple. The same goes for your jewelry—keep it subtle. You don’t want to distract from who you are as a person. Layering necklaces or wearing big earrings can compete with your face and distract from your headshot.

What to Wear for Business Headshots?

As a professional photographer in [city], I often get asked by my clients what to wear when having their business portraits taken. My answer is always the same: it depends. While that might sound like an unhelpful answer, let me explain.

What to Wear for Acting Headshots?

For headshots that are going to be used for acting purposes, it will be essential to choose outfits that are appropriate for the character type you are trying to portray. It may be helpful to do some research on what characters of your age and stature might wear in the industry today.

  • Wear clothes that fit well and are flattering on you. If you are unsure about how an item of clothing looks, ask a friend or loved one for their opinion before taking the photos. Also, consider making sure there is a tailor in town who can help you with any necessary adjustments if needed.
  • Make sure your outfit is comfortable and makes you feel confident in yourself, as this will come across naturally in your headshot. If possible try to avoid wearing items like hats or scarves that cover up part of your face—photographers can often work around these things but they can become distracting when editing later on down the line!

Choosing what to wear for your headshot can be tricky, but these tips should help make the decision much easier!

Choosing what to wear for your headshot can be tricky, but these tips should help make the decision much easier!

  • Show off your personality
  • Be comfortable
  • Choose clothes that fit your body type
  • Avoid busy patterns
  • Look for flattering necklines
  • Choose the right color
  • Choose the right shoes
  • Bring a variety of options with you to choose from on site


Wearing clothes that don’t suit you and make you feel uncomfortable can be draining, so it’s best to avoid them for headshots. You want to look like the best version of yourself, after all!

It’s important to consider what your outfit says about you. An outfit that conveys your personality helps others form an accurate impression of who you are. The right outfit will help convey your professionalism in a way that allows others to form a positive impression of you even before they meet you.

There are many factors at play when choosing what to wear for headshots. You should always feel comfortable and confident, but there are other things to consider as well.

You may choose different outfits based on the purpose of the photos or the time frame in which they’ll be used. For example, if you’re taking new headshots every year because they’re part of your job application process, then something classic and flattering might be ideal. However, if these photos are going on your website or social media accounts where people can see them indefinitely, then perhaps something more fashionable would suffice (but it still needs proper fit and flattering color).

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