What to Wear for Professional Headshots

If you’re wondering what to wear for your upcoming professional headshots, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll go more into depth in the full article, but if you want the quick answer, here it is:

For professional headshots, women should wear solid colors, or simple patterns in a dark shade (navy, black, dark green). Keep jewelry & accessories to a minimum as it can distract from the overall headshot, you want something simple – nothing too flashy. Keep your makeup natural and keep your hair neat, you don’t want anything over the top. Lastly, make sure you’re comfortable and feel confident with what you wear, as that’s always the most important thing!

For men wondering what to wear, a well-fitted suit is the holy grail for headshots. Dark colors like navy, black and charcoal are your best bet. Choose a light or medium shade for your shirt, white or light blue, and keep patterns to a minimum as they can be a distraction. Ties can be good to add a formal touch, but no tie can work too for a more modern/casual vibe. Keep your hairstyle neat, and your facial hair tidy.

If you want a more detailed answer for what to wear for professional headshots – and why you should wear these things, check out the rest of the article below.

Color Theory for Headshots

Before we get into what you should be wearing for your professional headshot, let’s dive into what colors are most flattering for headshots.

Choosing the right colors for your headshot can significantly impact how you are perceived. We’ll explore how different colors can convey various traits and how to select the best ones for your skin tone.

What is the best color to wear for a professional headshot?

The best color to wear for a professional headshot depends on what industry you’re in, but dark blue, and black are universal favorite because they are associated with trust, reliability and competence. A dark gray outfit can compliment skin tone with warm undertones and goes with all hair styles

What colors to avoid for professional headshots?

Red is bold and attention-grabbing, and while it is the color of leadership and action that may work well for those in creative or high-energy fields. you can easily get carried away.  Red should be used as an accent color and not for the color of your entire outfit, unless extremely bold is what you’re going for.

What other colors mean for a professional headshot:

The Power of Navy Blue

Navy Blue is like a universal favorite. It’s associated with trust, reliability, and competence. Perfect for lawyers, consultants, or anyone in the corporate world. It’s like wearing a badge of trustworthiness.

The Calmness of Green

Green often signifies growth and calmness. It’s a great choice if you’re in education, healthcare, or environmental fields. It’s like a visual nod to balance and growth.

The Sophistication of Black

Black exudes sophistication and leadership. It’s a go-to for high-level executives and creative professionals. It’s like the little black dress of colors – classic and versatile. Darker colors typically look more professional

Patterns & Textures in your Headshots

Patterns and textures in headshots can be quite the game-changer. They add depth and interest, but need to be used wisely.

Subtlety is Key

  • Think of patterns as seasoning – a little can enhance, but too much can overwhelm. Opt for subtle patterns that won’t steal the spotlight from your face.

Avoid High Contrast

  • High contrast patterns can be distracting. Instead, go for patterns with low contrast, like light checks on a dark background.

Context Matters

  • In creative fields, a bit of pattern can show off your personality. In more conservative fields, it’s better to stick to solids.

What Clothing Should You Wear (Blazers, Suits, T-shirts)?

clothing for professional headshots

Each industry has its dress code, and aligning your clothes with your industry can enhance your headshot’s impact. From the formal corporate look to the relaxed creative attire, understand how to dress appropriately for your profession.

Corporate Sector Styles

In the corporate world, classic and conservative styles reign supreme. Choose suits, suit jackets, collard shirts, and ties that convey authority and professionalism.

Creative and Artistic Professions

For those in creative fields, your headshot is an opportunity to show your unique style. Think about how to incorporate personal flair without compromising professionalism.

Collared shirts, button downs, can give you freedom on color but still keep that overall professional look.

Freelancers and Entrepreneurs

As a freelancer or entrepreneur, your headshot should reflect your brand’s ethos. The golden rule is no lose or baggy clothing no matter the industry. Another option are collared shirts are again a go-to for freelancers, and you can even throw in a tie for good measure.

Blazers and Suits: The Professional Classic

Blazers are the go-to of professional attire – strong and impactful. They instantly elevate your look, adding a layer of sophistication and authority.

For a traditional field like law or finance, a suit jacket is a no-brainer. Straightforward, classic, and professional.

Just remember, avoid loose or baggy clothing as this doesn’t photograph well and typically doesn’t result in a ‘sharp’ look that everyone is looking for.

What to Avoid: Loose or Baggy Clothing

We’ve said it before but it needs mentioning again – don’t wear loose or baggy clothing. Time after time people wear suits that don’t fit or collared shirts that are all crumpled up. These look, honestly, horrible and can really take away from all the other work you’re putting in to get the perfect headshots.

What to Wear for Women’s Professional Headshots

women's clothing for professional headshot

Women have a wide array of options for headshot attire, each capable of conveying different aspects of their personality and professionalism.

Dresses and Blouses: Feminine Professionalism

Business Formal and Business Casual Options

Dresses and blouses are great for a professional yet feminine look. Classic and with a touch of flair. Avoid overly casual clothing as this could send the wrong signal in your headshot.

A tailored dress or a sophisticated blouse can be perfect for everyone from education to corporate.

Avoid overly bright colors, loud patterns, or clothing with large logos. They can be distracting.

Extremely casual clothing (like tank tops or revealing outfits) might not convey the right professional image, so it’s best to avoid these unless you’re sure. it works for your specific industry.

Ultimately, you should wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. If you feel good, it’ll shine through in your headshot!

How should I wear my hair for headshots?

man getting haircut at barbershop

Right before a headshot is not the time to experiment with a new hairstyle. Stick to a look you know and love. Think of your hair as the crown you never take off. For a headshot, you want it to look tidy and well-groomed. 

Hair should be well-groomed and styled. It’s like the frame for the masterpiece that is your face!

Facial Hair

If you sport facial hair, make sure it’s neatly trimmed. It’s all about looking polished and put-together.

A clean-shaven look is often preferred for more conservative industries.

A little pro tip – because eyes are the focal point in headshots, a little mascara can make your eyes pop. Don’t be afraid to try it out.

Do I need to wear makeup for a professional headshot?

Ah, the age-old question about makeup for professional headshots! Here’s the deal: it’s really up to you and what makes you feel most confident.

Keep It Subtle: Aim for a natural, polished look. It’s about enhancing, not masking.

Test It Out: Sometimes it’s a good idea to have a trial run before the day of the shoot. You dont want to change your skin tone too much.

If you’re not comfortable wearing makeup, it might show in your expression, so make sure you do what makes you feel comfortable first and foremost.

Tips to even out your skin tone:

Pro Tip – Hydration: This is the #1 tip , and its drink water! Keeping your skin hydrated makes a big difference in appearance and evening out skin tones.

Accessories That Work for Headshots

Choose simple, elegant pieces. A pair of stud earrings or a delicate necklace can add just the right amount of sophistication.

That said, you should understand when it’s appropriate to wear accessories and when it’s better to keep it simple.

Large, shiny, or noisy jewelry can be distracting. You want the focus on your face, not your accessories. 

If you normally wear glasses, wear them in your headshot. It’s part of your identity, so don’t shy away from wearing them on your headshots.

Are you still wondering ‘what to wear for professional headshots?’

Remember, your headshot is often your first impression in the professional world. So, wearing the right colors, selecting appropriate accessories, and presenting yourself in the best possible light is key. It’s about showcasing a blend of professionalism, confidence, and a hint of your unique personality.

Think of each element – your clothing, hairstyle, makeup, and accessories – as ingredients in your favorite recipe. Each one needs to be measured and added thoughtfully to create the perfect blend. When everything comes together harmoniously, you not only look great but also feel great, and this confidence shines through in your headshot.

So, take these tips, tailor them to your personal brand, and step in front of the camera with confidence!

Julian Sarokin

About the author

With years of experience building artificial intelligence startups, coupled with a passion for photography, Julian has made it his mission to streamline the process of getting the perfect headshot.

Julian Sarokin

Julian Sarokin

Entrepreneur, Photography Lover, AI Expert

9 thoughts on “What to Wear for Professional Headshots

  1. Great point about avoiding high-contrast patterns. I once had a headshot with a busy tie, and it totally distracted from my face. Lesson learned!

  2. I never considered avoiding high-contrast patterns before. Has anyone here made that mistake and regretted it in their professional photos?

  3. The section on accessories was an eye-opener. Never thought about how my earrings or necklace could impact the headshot. More reason to go for simplicity.

  4. Oh, definitely been there! I wore this zebra print dress for my LinkedIn photo once, thinking it was chic. But oh boy, it looked like a magic eye puzzle gone wrong. Learned my lesson the hard way. 😅 Solid colors for the win next time

  5. Just shared this with a friend who’s updating her LinkedIn profile. We both agreed that the tips on dress color and fitting were incredibly helpful. She’s leaning towards a classic dark gray dress now, and I’m all for it. It’s amazing how much impact the right outfit can have on a professional image.

  6. Haha, the advice on not trying a new hairstyle right before your headshot cracked me up. Totally something I would do, but I’ll heed the warning. Sticking to the classic look I know and love!

  7. The breakdown on color theory was super insightful! Who knew that navy blue could be such a badge of trustworthiness? Makes me think twice about the color palette for my next headshot. Might be time to go shopping!

  8. I’m planning my outfit for an upcoming headshot session, leaning towards a classic look with a modern twist. Based on these tips, I’m thinking of a dark blazer over a light, solid-colored blouse. Any suggestions for adding a personal touch without going overboard?

  9. Loved the emphasis on feeling comfortable and confident in whatever you choose to wear. It really makes a difference in the photos. Curious, what’s everyone’s go-to outfit that makes them feel unstoppable?

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