What to wear for a professional headshot
Choosing clothing for headshots: MEN
When choosing clothing for your professional headshot: think classic. Pick your favourite suit that fits you well and is preferably a classic dark colour like navy blue or grey. Choose a suit that doesn’t bunch up when you button it or if you sit down, and a shirt and tie that match each other and the suit. Please don’t wear a suit jacket that is much too tight, at the same time a jacket that is too baggy and the sleeves are too long will not be flattering either.
Try to stay away from anything with bold, distracting patterns or colours. Clothing with really tight grids or a small herringbone pattern can have a moiré pattern effect on camera, so stay away from tight grid-like patterns. Thin stripes that are a little further apart are okay. Ties look best when their tone lands between the suit and the shirt– so a light shirt, a dark suit, and a tie in a shade somewhere between them. Some ties are too shiny– try to stay away from really reflective, shiny, silk ties.
If you don’t wear a tie, choose a non-white shirt if possible: white shirts without a jacket and tie to break them up can lose detail in the colour and folds. And if you wear a button-down shirt, it’s best to wear a jacket or sweater of some kind to layer the look. If not, choose a darker colour shirt or something with pockets or details to avoid it looking like a head floating on a blank, boxy shirt, and unbutton a button or two. And make sure we can’t see your undershirt beneath the button-down shirt: wear a v-neck or no undershirt at all.
Choosing clothing for headshots: WOMEN
Choose a professional suit or business-oriented outfit that has a classic look: you shouldn’t be able to tell what decade it is in the photo. Don’t choose anything with bold, distracting patterns or colours, unless you can layer a plain blazer or sweater over it so not much of the pattern is showing and you get just a pop of colour.
Clothing with tight grids or a small herringbone pattern can have a moiré pattern effect on camera, so stay away from grid-like patterns. Thin stripes are okay.
Try not to wear stark white unless it’s under something, such as a suit jacket, cardigan, or sweater. V-necks accentuate the neckline and generally look best on women. Just don’t choose something with too low of a neckline: no cleavage. And no turtlenecks: they tend to make people look like they have no neck at all in photos.
Try to stay away from short sleeves or tank tops: executive headshots tend to look better without bare arms, but if you’d like to try showing arms in a sleeveless blouse or shift dress, we could make it work. Just bring a blazer or sweater to put over it as an additional option.
(just like for the men:) It is most flattering to wear clothing that fits well. Don’t wear a suit jacket that is much too tight, at the same time a jacket that is too baggy and the sleeves are too long will not be flattering either. Shirts that slightly fall away from the body are more flattering to your shape as well. Please make sure clothing is freshly ironed.
For jewelry, go for something small, classic, and not very reflective or flashy. Earrings shouldn’t dangle more than an inch from your earlobe. Simpler is always better, so if we notice your jewelry before we notice your face, we may ask you to remove any excess jewelry.
What to wear for a group photo
I always suggest that groups plan on wearing different neutrals. So one person may be in black, someone in light grey, dark grey, someone in blue, someone in white- I also like a pop of colour. Just make sure that there aren’t clashing colours or patterns between the people in the photo. Here are some samples, you don’t have to match eachother but the outfits have to go together.
If you do your makeup yourself, do your makeup how you usually wear it for an average day, or possibly a nice dinner. Do not wear heavy makeup; a close headshot will show clumps of mascara or dark lipstick. Choose light to medium eyeliners, eye shadows, and lipsticks that are only a shade or two darker than your skin tones. This brings your features out in a subtle manner without making it look like you’re wearing lots of makeup. Avoid caking on heavy foundation, or wearing shiny eye shadows or lip gloss: too much shine is distracting on camera and looks wet.
Skin blemishes, pimples, and even wrinkles can be retouched It’s not cheating. I promise.
I always recommend that you bring a brush or comb, hair product, face powder and lip gloss for touch ups (if you are wearing them for your headshot.)
If you wear glasses most of the time, I recommend wearing them for your portrait.
Because of reflections, please be prepared to take out the lenses or to bring an extra frame without lenses.
How to prepare for your headshot
Prepare for your headshot by taking care of yourself in the days leading up to your headshot session. Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking, and drink plenty of water for a few days and on the day of your headshot. This will make your skin very hydrated to fill in lines and wrinkles, undereye circles, and give you a healthy glow. Get plenty of sleep the night before your photo so you’re rested and ready to go.
Hair: Don’t cut or dye your hair right before the shoot, especially men since stylists tend to cut hair a little shorter so it looks like it’s at its proper length about 2 weeks later. Some shades of freshly coloured hair can look too vibrant and unnatural on camera, especially a hair colour with any red tones– drawing more attention to your hair than your face. A new haircut also looks its best after at least a week, and coloured hair looks more natural after 1-2 weeks’ worth of shampooing.
Teeth: If you want to whiten your teeth before your session, start as early as possible and use a natural whitening method, or have your teeth whitened with your dentist. A quick emergency whitening method that works for many people is to mix some toothpaste with about 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of food-grade hydrogen peroxide, and about 1/2 teaspoon of water. Polish your teeth with this mixture and it should quickly whiten your teeth a shade or two. But don’t use this method more often than once a month- baking soda is abrasive and can wear away at your enamel if used too frequently. (And retouching is also a much safer option!)
Beards: If you have a beard, trim it evenly so it’s nicely groomed. If you’re going clean-shaven, get a good shave the day of your headshot. Darker colored beards tend to be accentuated in photos- trim it well so it’s not too thick.
And remember to have fun and not take it too seriously! We know that’s a little difficult after all these do’s and don’ts, but we promise to make the experience as relaxing as possible. You got this. 🙂