How to: Choose what to wear for your professional headshot

V-necklines help elongate the neck.
V-necklines help elongate the neck.

When you get ready for your workday, you probably don’t have to put a lot of thought into what you will wear. After all, you are familiar with your company’s culture and know your schedule for the day so deciding which suit or outfit to don for the day is familiar territory.

But what about when your professional image is being captured in a photograph? There’s something about having one’s picture taken that understandably makes clients ask “what do I wear for my professional headshot photo session?”

My first piece of advice is to be comfortable. Wear clothes you like that also fit your professional branding.

Does that fit about half your closet? Let’s narrow down your options a bit more.

Color choices

Contrasting colors photograph well.
Contrasting colors photograph well.

When choosing what colors to use in your professional headshot, remember that contrasting colors photograph well.

Also consider your skin tone. While some editing is done, I usually advise against wearing colors that don’t complement your skin tone. If you have more of a yellow skin tone, avoid greens and yellows. If you have a rosy undertone, avoid reds for your photo shoot.

Choosing colors also depends on your profession and what image you want to convey. Usually solid color shirts work best but there are always exceptions to that rule.

Textures and style

Contrasting fabrics and textures also photograph well. Solid jackets over a colorful shirt for ladies, for example.

Contrasting colors and textures are a good choice for men too. Simple designs also keep the focus on the person, no their clothes.
Contrasting colors and textures are a good choice for men too. Simple designs also keep the focus on the person, no their clothes.

Also keep in mind that headshots are often cropped in close so be aware of your neckline, ladies. V-necks tend to elongate the neck but a deeper V may not look right in a professional shot if it barely shows up in the end photograph.

Keep in mind that some trendy fabrics and designs might date your photographs and make it necessary to update them sooner than you planned. That doesn’t necessarily mean to completely avoid patterns or trendy clothes, just keep in mind if the style will make you look dated in a year.

Clothes that fit

Contrasting textures and fabrics photograph well.
Contrasting textures and fabrics photograph well.

This may seem obvious, but wearing clothes that fit well is important. If your shirt is too tight or short and you will be tugging on it constantly to feel comfortable, then choose something else to wear. Not only will a tight shirt not look right, your discomfort and potential insecurity will show up in your photograph.

At the same time, however, don’t be afraid to wear fitted clothes. Fitted clothes look a lot better than baggy clothes.

 

So, what do you want your headshot to say about you? It may be time to update your image