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What To Wear for Your Headshots

Headshots. It's been a while, but it's probably time. You book your session and then it hits you...What should you wear? If this is you, never fear! This post is for you. Keep reading for my tips and tricks to make the most of your professional headshot session.


First Thing's First

The first thing to consider when preparing for your headshot is how you intend to use your images. Will they be used for your LinkedIn profile picture? Will they be used in your workplace? Or do you just want a nice photo for your non-professional social media profile pictures? Whatever the reason, think about the way you want to portray yourself in that situation. If your headshots are for a work related use, consider what your work dress code is like both at your place of work and your industry in general. If your headshots are for personal use, think about how you would like to present yourself if you were meeting a friend you haven't seen in a long time. Thinking about the use of your photo will help you determine how dressy or casual you should look. In the first photo below, Zack is dressed more casually in just a button down. In the second photo, Ben is dressed more formally in a suit. Both look very nice, but serve different purposes.

Similarly, in the first photo below, Jordan is wearing a simple black top. In the next one, I'm wearing a blazer over a black top. Both look nice, but each could be better than the other depending on the use.


What to Wear

Once you've determined how dressy or casual you want to be, you can start thinking about your own wardrobe and what you have that fits your designated dress code. You want to look good, and you want your personality to be reflected in how you dress. To do this, I've pooled some helpful tips for you below.

Avoid Loud Prints or Colors

While prints and colors can be a fun and a great way to let your personality shine through, you should consider that a loud pattern or color can start to take away from the subject of the headshot - YOU! In the first headshot above, Phoebe has on a very cute pattern that shows off a bit of her fun personality without distracting from her lovely face. In the second photo above, Alyssa did a very good job of selecting a color that suits her personality and doesn't draw attention away from her. Don't let your clothing distract from you. Be intentional and choose clothing that enhances you!

Avoid Clothing that Matches Your Skin Tone

In photography, contrast is your friend. You should avoid wearing clothing that is too close to your skin tone as this can tend to wash you out or take focus away from your face. In the photos above, both Alyssa and Phoebe chose shirts with enough contrast to compliment their skin tones.

Consider Your Background

If you know where the headshots will be, you may be able to get an idea of what is likely to be in the background. If it's outside in the spring or summer, consider that green is likely to be in your background. If you're inside it may be a more neutral lighter color such as grey, cream, or beige. You should choose a color that will not be the same as or too close to your background. You want to stand out in the headshot, not be swallowed by the background. In the photos above, both Phoebe and Alyssa stand out from the background with their clothing. Phoebe did not wear brown, and Alyssa did not wear brown or green. Once again, contrast is helping them stand out as the focus of the photo.

Wear What You Love

Think about what you love to wear. What colors make you feel good? What tops do you love? What do you find you get compliments when you wear? It's very import to wear not just something that looks good, but something that makes you feel good. If you don't feel confident in what you're wearing, it will show in your pictures.


Finishing Touches

You've decided how dressy or casual you're going to go. You've selected a color or pattern that compliments you. You feel good in what you're wearing. There's still a few more things to do before your pictures are taken.

Make sure you try the clothing on before the day of your session. If something doesn't fit, you need time to plan a different outfit.

Make sure your clothing is not ripped, faded, pilled, or wrinkled. Be sure to press or steam anything that looks like it's been in your closet for too long.

Assess your hair. Is it about time for a haircut? If it is, try to get the haircut 3-4 days before your scheduled session. That way it has time to settle in and will look more like you.

Do you wear glasses? Do you have multiple frames? See if you can coordinate your frames with your outfit. If you typically wear glasses, wear them. If you normally wear contacts, wear the contacts. You want people to see your headshot and know what you normally look like. If you do wear glasses, be sure you clean them before your session. If you have transition glasses, consider wearing a different pair or going without. Your eyes should be the focal point of your headshot and you don't want them to be covered with dark lenses!


Masculine Considerations

If you are planning to wear an open collared shirt, avoid having a white crew neck visible underneath it. We want to avoid seeing an undershirt the headshot and that pop of white can really draw the eye away from your face.

If you have facial hair, ensure it is well groomed for your headshot. If you don't typically have facial hair, be sure you're clean shaven before your portrait session.

Although you're getting a headshot, sometimes your hands can be visible depending on the pose. Consider whether wearing a watch or bracelet is appropriate for your outfit.

Feminine Considerations

When selecting your clothing, avoid tops that are unnecessarily low cut. You should also avoid strapless shirts or shirts with small straps that may be easily covered by your hair. You want the eyes to be drawn to your face.

Wear makeup you are comfortable with. If you don't normally wear much makeup, now is not the time to experiment and go overboard. You want your headshot to be a good representation of you with your best foot forward. If you happen to have a blemish or two, don't worry about it. I will remove it in my post processing. I also usually do a light skin smoothing. Wear makeup that feels good and represents how you normally look.

As discussed earlier, you want your clothing to enhance you. This goes for jewelry, too. It can be a fun way to show some personality. As before, you want to avoid jewelry that will take attention off you. Avoid things that are too large or that you wouldn't normally wear. I generally dislike cropping photos where the ends of you hair get cut off. For this reason, if you want a long necklace and have long hair, you should keep the necklace above your hairline.



In any photography session, there is usually a warming up period of getting comfortable in front of the camera. However, if you're participating in one of my headshot mini events, you have less time in front of the camera and therefore less time to warm up. The best way to combat this is to try to be in the best mood possible when you arrive. This goes for any photography session, but it is especially important for quick headshots. If you can, practice a little self care before the session. Get your nails done, listen to your favorite music, grab a coffee, get lunch with a friend, or do whatever tends to make you happy. The happier and more relaxed you are coming into the session, the more likely you are to love your photos!


If you haven't yet booked a headshot session, but you know it's about time, I'd love to talk to you about my mini headshot events or a full headshot and portrait session!


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