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No matter what your occupation or industry, getting a professional headshot is an essential part of presenting yourself to the world. Whether you’re applying for a job, starting your own business, or just looking to make new connections, a polished headshot can help shape the way people see you and communicate your professionalism. This may seem like extra work that someone without photography experience wouldn’t want to deal with—but it’s actually much easier than it sounds. The more you know about how to wear for professional headshots ahead of time, the more confident and put together you’ll look in them.
In this article, we’ll go over some key tips to keep in mind when choosing what clothes to wear for professional headshots.
Wear a color you love
Select a color you love and feel confident in. You don’t have to be a fashion expert or have a designer wardrobe to achieve this. A good rule of thumb is to wear something you would wear for an evening out, except it doesn’t need to be quite as dressy. If it has been so long since you wore one of your favorite colors that you aren’t sure if it still looks good on you, then pick something else! Choosing something that makes you feel amazing will translate into beautiful photographs.
You can also choose a color based on the tone/temperature of your skin and hair, but note: these rules are only suggestions. A color that falls within the suggested tones may flatter your skin and hair color best, but the most important thing is that YOU feel confident and beautiful in what you’re wearing—this will make your headshots even more flattering!
Mind the fabric
- Wrinkle-resistant fabrics are a good choice, but keep in mind that many fabrics that don’t wrinkle easily also don’t drape well.
- You may want to avoid shiny materials altogether—they might look cool in photos, but you run the risk of looking like an ’80s prom queen.
- Fabrics that drape well are always a smart choice: they’re less likely to show wrinkles and tend to be more flattering on camera.
Avoid busy patterns
When in doubt, disregard any article of clothing that has stripes, polka dots, floral prints, plaid or paisley. Anything with a busy pattern is going to distract the viewer from your face. This goes for ties as well.
Stay away from blue
The first step to figuring out what color you should wear is to determine which colors you shouldn’t wear. To that end, blue tops are a definite no-no. While blue is the most common shirt color in the world, it’s a poor choice for professional headshots because of its tendency to wash out skin tones and interfere with your facial features.
I had a client who was wearing a blue shirt when I took his headshot, and while it didn’t photograph badly, he decided (and I agreed) that the shot would look even better if we changed his clothing. We switched him into an olive green button-down shirt, and the difference was incredible. Although his previous outfit had been perfectly fine in real life, the green helped emphasize his eyes and made them pop in the picture.
Sometimes people think that avoiding white or black shirts will help their picture stand out from others on their website or business cards—but as long as you aren’t wearing anything with distracting patterns or logos on it, choosing to have your clothing—not your background—make a statement will always be a good choice for your professional headshots.
Consider your hair color
Hair color is another important consideration. You don’t want to wear a color that will blend into your hair, and depending on what tones you have in your hair, opt for the opposite. For example, if you have red hair with warm undertones, go for a shirt that’s black or charcoal grey, because it will draw attention to your face and make you look professional. If your hair is dark brown or black, wear a bright blue or purple shirt – this will make your eyes stand out against the contrast and help you look sharp in photos.
You’ll look your best if you wear something that makes you feel confident.
When you consider what to wear for professional headshots, the best advice I can offer is this: dress in an outfit that makes you feel confident. Some people love bright colors, others feel more secure in dark tones. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your accessories or patterns—as long as it’s something you like, go for it! You’ll look your best if you wear something that makes you feel confident. It will show in the photos and make you look naturally relaxed and beautiful—and remember, feeling comfortable during your photo session will translate into gorgeous images!
The most important thing to remember when it comes to what you wear for your headshot is that when you feel confident, you will look confident. In the end, the best way to feel confident is simple: wear something that makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Whether that’s a suit and tie or a trendy dress, make sure it reflects who you are and what your brand stands for. And don’t forget—the most important part is always going to be feeling comfortable in what you have on!