Choosing the right attire for a headshot portrait is essential to conveying the desired image and making a positive impression. First and foremost, opt for clothing that aligns with the context and purpose of the portrait. If it's a corporate headshot, select professional attire that reflects your industry's standards. For a creative or casual setting, consider outfits that showcase your personality while maintaining a polished appearance.
Solid colors are a safe bet for headshot portraits, as they draw attention to your face and prevent distracting patterns from overwhelming the image. Earth tones, blues, and darker shades often work well, but don't hesitate to include a pop of color to add vibrancy. Keep in mind that your clothing should complement your skin tone and enhance your features, rather than detracting from them.
The best way to figure out your colors is by considering 3 areas; eyes, hair, and skin. If you have green or blue eyes, cooler colors will help pop the beautiful color in your eyes. If you have a warmer or more red complexion in your skin, avoid bright, bold warm tones (orange, red). Black is always complementary with other colors and works well on every client. White shirts has been proven to make men look more attractive. You can even look for quizzes online to find your seasonal colors.
Additionally, try to stay away from anything too crazy or complex when it comes to patterns. A bright, blue/green/yellow leopard print blouse may be great to wear out, but is a little too loud for a professional headshot. A crazy color choice may sound like a lot of fun in the moment, but this photo could stay around for a lot longer than you think.
Layers help give a pop of color, sense of ease, or can even involve a touch of a fun pattern. They can range from a sweater over a button up shirt, a blazer over a blouse, even scarves or suspenders.
The abundance or lack of layers with clothing can give off specific vibes and personality. A gingham button up with a bowtie gives a quirky, fun energy while a white shirt with a dark blazer exudes a relaxed, professional flair.
The other great thing about layers is they can be added or removed during a shoot. Most photographers that charge by the look will be more flexible if you have a jacket or a scarf you wanna throw on or take off and not count that as one of your looks.
Capturing your style may seem like an impossible task whether it feels like it isn’t there or you fear it will be too overwhelming for a headshot shoot. I totally get it! So lets just back up and look at what you are getting the headshot for.
Unless you are given a specific look to go for from an employer (doctors jacket, corporate polo, etc), I always say to go for the ‘business casual’ look. To me, business casual means you’re putting your best foot forward without taking yourself too seriously.
Necklines also play a significant role in framing your face. V-neck or scoop-neck tops can elongate the neck and provide a flattering silhouette. Avoid very low or very high necklines, as they can either appear too casual or distract from your face. Pay attention to the fit of your clothing. Choose items that are well-fitted and comfortable, avoiding overly loose or tight garments that could affect your posture or confidence during the photoshoot.
However, if you’re part of a brand that is more casual, then bring more of that into the shot. You want to exude what you or your company is trying to sell so that style should come through.
Lastly, chat with your photographer before your session about which background your portrait will be taken. If it's a studio setup, a contrasting color between your clothing and the background can make you stand out. On the other hand, if the portrait will be taken in a natural setting, choose colors that harmonize with the surroundings. Ultimately, your clothing should reflect your personality, resonate with your audience, and contribute to a headshot that exudes confidence, approachability, and professionalism.
A clean palate, pop of personality, and something that makes you feel good is a perfect combination. Find something in your closet that you love wearing - try not to go out and buy a completely new outfit. New clothes can sometimes feel foreign if you haven’t worn them enough. You want to wear the clothes not have the clothes wear you.
This is easier said than done, but trust me: don’t overthink it! As weird and awkward as a photo shoot can feel, always remember when it comes to headshots that we, the photographer, want to make you look good.