Choosing the Right Wardrobe for Your Headshot
One of the most common—and most important—questions I’m asked is “What should I wear for my headshot session?” Clothes may not “make the man” (or the woman), but they certainly have a dramatic impact on a professional headshot. But don’t panic: just remember three basic wardrobe principles and you’ll find that looking your best is as easy as—well, 1,2,3!
1. Color and Patterns
Continue reading for more specific tips and guidelines for using your wardrobe to get a great headshot. Also, take a few minutes to browse our Pinterest site and you will see some great examples of good wardrobe options.
1. Color and Patterns
It’s tempting to stick with black and white, but don’t do it. First, pulling details out of black or white is difficult; and second, they’re no where near as flattering as a well-chosen color. If you know “your colors,” bring items from that palette, or try hues that bring out your eye color and enhance your skin tone. Rich colors and jewel tones are great choices for almost all women. For guys, avoid a plain white shirt. If white shirts are your signature look, accentuate it with a colorful tie. For your jacket, choose a jacket or suit that has a subtle pattern, such as a pinstripe. The most important tip is to choose a color you feel good wearing. If you don’t feel good about what you’re wearing, your portrait will show it.
Check out the portrait to the right. It’s not up-to-date style-wise, and the colors and fabric are wintery. Also, while you do want to look stylish, it’s better to choose something classic yet fresh, but not too trendy.
Wardrobe options to avoid:
- short sleeves or sleeveless styles (unless you’ve got “buff” arms and want to show them off)
- busy patterns or plaids
- turtlenecks and shiny fabrics
- and seasonal styles and fabrics.
For women, crew, boat or scoop necks are flattering and will always lay nicely, as in Faye’s picture here. Standup collars don’t always “behave,” so I generally suggest women avoid them. If you typically wear a jacket to work, bring a couple of jackets to choose from to your session. For men, if you’re going business casual (specifically, no tie) a button down collar under a sport coat works great. Check out the video on our Pinterest page about button-down collars. Consider your field: executives dress differently than entertainers. The most important tip is still to choose pieces that you feel good wearing.
Choosing Your Neckline for Your Headshots
Business Professional vs. Business Casual for Your Headshot
Guys, if you’re not confident tying a great tie knot, tie it before you come to the studio and slip it over your head. I prefer a half windsor. A sloppy tie knot, looks like just that—sloppy.
Less is more. Keep jewelry to a minimum (unless it is your signature look). A few jewelry tips:
- Stud earrings are best—simple pearls, diamonds or other gemstones.
- Hoops and dangling earrings can interfere with your hair and get lost in your portrait.
- Unless you have a necklace that you feel you simply must wear, avoid necklaces. We want all of the attention on your face, especially your eyes and expression.
- Jewelry almost always draws attention away from you, and your portrait should be all about you.
- All being said, however, if your signature brand is jewelry, bring it along and we’ll choose the best options for your headshot.
Eyeglasses, though necessary for many, function as accessories in a portrait, and lens glare can be tricky. For more information about eyeglasses, take a look at our post with eyeglass tips. If you normally wear glasses, plan to wear them for your picture. It’s ideal if they have a non-glare coating, but if they don’t, consider borrowing a pair of glassless frames for your session; otherwise, we can remove the glass glare in post-production for an additional charge.
One final but IMPORTANT tip, make sure your clothes fit well. This is especially important for men’s collars, sports coats and suit jackets. Guys, take a look at your jacket and watch for gaps at the back of your neck. Conversely, watch that your shirt isn’t too tight, causing your neck to “bulge” over your collar−even a little bulge will look terrible in camera. For both men and women, make sure your clothes fit well in the shoulders—not too loose and not too tight. Think ahead, and invest in tailoring before your session if necessary. It will be money well spent for a professional headshot and a professional overall look. We have an awesome tailor who we are happy to refer.
Following these tips will help you find that perfect outfit: the one that not only makes you look good, but also shows that you feel good about yourself. That authenticity, that confidence, allows the real you to shine through in your portrait. Shakespeare wasn’t kidding around when he wrote, “To thine own self be true.” Your portrait is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your authentic brand, so make the most of it.
Some final tips:
- Don’t wear your portrait wardrobe in the car; seat belts = wrinkles. Instead, bring your clean, neatly pressed pieces to the session on hangers.
- For business headshots, bring at least two to three outfits; for talent headshots or for a full portfolio shoot, six to eight outfits is probably more reasonable.
Personal Wardrobe Consultations Available for Your Headshot Session
Lastly, we have a terrific wardrobe consultant, Jodi Mayers, owner of Corset Styling & Fashion Boutique and Independent Stylist for J. Hilburn. Jodi can provide a more detailed phone consultation prior to your session for a small additional charge. She can also take you shopping or meet with you personally to assess your current wardrobe choices. If you book one of our Executive Headshot Sessions, you’ll automatically receive a personalized wardrobe consulting with Jodi. Or if you want to work with Jodi prior to your Down-to-Business or One-and-Done session, we will book your wardrobe consultation with Jodi for you so that you receive the preferred KeliComm discounted rate.