What To Wear For Headshots

What To Wear For Headshots

Have you decided to get a professional headshot to help advance your career, but don’t know what to wear? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We have an entire lookbook to help you out during stressful times.

Knowing what to wear for professional headshots can be a challenging task, especially if you’ve never had one done before. 

This can mean taking several trips to the nearby mall before finally choosing an outfit that’s photographer-approved. This can also get tricky if your photographer is super busy and cannot answer your FaceTime call every time you visit the store.

In order to make your outfit hunt easier, we’ve put together a selection of tips, techniques, and outfit inspirations for nailing that perfect headshot look. So if you’re wondering what to wear for modeling headshots, or what to wear for business headshots, stay tuned.

After reading our style guide, you’ll have an abundance of style ideas for headshots. Plus, you’ll understand the following and so much more:

  • What to wear for headshots in general
  • What to wear for professional headshots female styles
  • What to wear for professional headshots male outfits
  • What to wear for headshots actress looks
  • What to wear for headshots actors tips

What Is A Headshot?

What To Wear For Headshots

According to Dan St Louis, a head photographer at a studio based in San Francisco, known as HeadShots Incorporation, “a headshot is a closely cropped professional photo used in a wide variety of business and creative promotional materials.”

Headshots can be used for business or acting careers, as well as, or for modeling assignments.

Louis further explains that the goal of a headshot is to ensure that the viewer sees you in a professional and charismatic manner to help you get hired for your next job or assignment. 

It allows the audience—the employer, customers, or clients—to create a connection with your outlook. This will help them make a solid decision as to whether they want to meet you in person.

So of course, you’ll want to look your best in these photos so that you can showcase an air of charisma and professionalism. But, before you can think of what to wear for headshots, you need to determine the specific purpose behind getting one.

What Should You Get Headshots For? 

What To Wear For Headshots

There are many reasons why people choose to get professional headshots. Here are some of the top reasons why you might find yourself dialing your favorite local photographer’s number:

  1. Acting headshots
  2. Modeling headshots
  3. Business/corporate headshots
  4. Commercial headshots 
  5. Professional/career headshots

What To Wear For Headshots

What To Wear For Headshots

What to wear for headshots largely depends on what type of headshot it is.

For instance, if you’re going for an acting or modeling headshot, you’ll want to highlight your facial features and your poise. So, wear colors, styles, and necklines that accentuate your skin tone and features

If you’re going for a professional or commercial headshot, you’ll want to make sure that you seem approachable and professional. So, steer away from outfits that are too dull or bold. Instead, find an outfit with a style that gives off a serious but friendly vibe.

On the other hand, if you’re getting a headshot to advertise a particular brand or business of yours, then you’ll want to wear styles that reflect the message you’re trying to sell through that brand. 

In this case, you’ll need to think of your headshot as the ‘face’ of your brand. Also, consider that this image will reflect your brand’s core values and this will help you decide what to wear for headshots.

3 Outfit Ideas For A Headshot

What To Wear For Headshots

The image above is from a studio in Connecticut, US known as N. Lalor Photography where the professional head photographer, Nataliya Lalor, provides some tips and techniques to consider when you’re deciding what to wear for headshots.

She suggests choosing classic colors and styles for projecting a professional and friendly outlook

The model above is wearing a dark gray, fitted dress that offers a modest, bateau neckline to complete the business casual look.

She’s also wearing a beautifully delicate ring necklace to highlight her simple neckline and her gorgeous smile without overpowering her outfit. 

Remember, the key is to showcase your personality and facial features in the headshot. As a result, the outfit and jewelry should be the secondary, supporting characters in your ensemble. 

What To Wear For Headshots

This image is from Bidun Studio Photography in California, US where Sergey Bidun (head photographer) provides advice on how to nail the perfect modeling headshot.

He explains the importance of highlighting both your facial features and your body language in a modeling headshot.

The model above is wearing a black, figure-hugging sleeveless top that accentuates the length of her arms. Although it’s modest, her top exudes sensuality and confidence in her ability to carry herself well. 

Plus, the sleek black outfit complements her fierce, dark brown eyes and untamed, beachy waves. This is a great option for the times you’re trying to figure out what to wear for headshots for modeling. 

As you can see, the black outfit blends into the dark background to a large extent, allowing the headshot to focus on her more than her outfit.

As a result, the model herself takes center stage and showcases her facial expressions and body language to convey a particular message. And this is exactly what models must do when they land an actual modeling gig.

What To Wear For Headshots

This image is from HeadShots Incorporation, the San Francisco studio we mentioned earlier.

This studio suggests that corporate headshots don’t need to be too stressful as long as you follow a few key ideas when choosing what to wear for headshots for a corporate look.

Of course, if you want people to see that you’re a professional in your field, then dressing in business professional attire is key for a corporate headshot.

Like the model above, you can wear a crisp white cotton shirt with a navy suit jacket to brighten up your corporate look with just a hint of color (rather than always going for black and white).

You can choose to wear frames or sight correcting lenses as per your preference, but just make sure that the color of either one of these still works with your overall business attire (so no funky hot pinks or neon yellows for your work glasses).

What Type Of Headshot Outfits Can You Get?

What To Wear For Headshots

The type of headshot outfits that you can get essentially depends on what type of headshot you’re getting. Since every headshot type is slightly different, knowing this will allow you to decide what to wear for headshots.

So, before you begin ardently searching for ‘what to wear for headshots female’ or ‘what to wear for headshots male’ on the internet, you’ll need to have a clear idea of the type of headshot that you’re getting and the purpose behind getting one.

For instance, if you’re going for a business or corporate headshot, then choose apparel that’s more workplace-centered and doesn’t overpower your facial features and overall look.

Choose styles and colors that are classic, modest, and fill you with confidence. So, the moment you stand in front of the camera, you know you’ll showcase your best professional self.

On the other hand, if you’re choosing an outfit for a modeling or acting headshot, then pick styles and colors that make you feel sexy and attractive because you’re aiming to present yourself in a professional and desirable manner. 

Remember, you want the modeling or acting agency to be confident in choosing you as the lead for their next role or campaign. To do that, you need to advertise yourself as the perfect fit for that role by showcasing your body language and facial expressions in each of your headshots.

How To Choose The Best Headshot Outfit

What To Wear For Headshots

When choosing your perfect headshot outfit, it’s a good idea to keep some key factors in mind to make the best purchase. Here are the top factors you should consider when going shopping for that exceptional headshot outfit:

  • Price

When investing in an outfit for your perfect headshot, the first thing you need to keep in mind is your budget. Professional headshots can cost anywhere between $100 to $500 depending on the type, package, and delivery times that you choose. So you’ll want to leave enough room in your budget for getting the best headshot.

Look for pieces that you can mix and match with items already in your wardrobe to create that perfect headshot outfit. Also, try to incorporate the tips and techniques provided by your chosen photographer when shopping.

Plus, you can refer to this guide when outfit hunting to avoid buying the wrong attire.

  • Quality

Always choose quality over quantity when trying to determine what to wear for headshots. Even if there are outfit changes provided in your shoot session with your photographer, you don’t want to buy several items in bulk just to be able to have multiple outfits to change into.

Instead, choose a couple of classic pieces that you can style in different ways (i.e. with/without a blazer, or with/without a small necklace) to be able to rock different outfits for your headshot easily and effortlessly—without wasting both your photographer’s and your time trying to decide which one to change into next.

  • Material

While most photographers aren’t very picky when it comes to the material of your clothes, try to find items that will catch the light nicely making you look your absolute best.

In other words, if you’re styling a shirt for a corporate look, try to pick materials like cotton and linen that will look neat and bright in a picture.

It’s best to avoid materials like silk or nylon that tend to reflect and bounce light in different ways—sometimes even casting a shadow on your face.

You do, however, want to make sure you wear softer materials so that you don’t experience any skin irritation during your photo session.

Just know that if you’re already not big on taking pictures, then feeling bothered in any way will just add to that feeling of discomfort in front of the camera. So, when putting together your outfit, a good rule of thumb is to always keep comfort in mind.

How To Style Your Headshot Outfit

What To Wear For Headshots

When thinking about how to style your headshot outfit, you must consider why you’re getting the headshot. For instance, what position is it for? 

Is it for a creative field? If so, style your headshot outfit in a way that showcases your fun, outgoing, and friendly personality when it comes to your work. 

If you have a creative career, you want people to know that you’re serious about what you do, but you don’t want to come off as being too serious. Flattering necklines and solid colors other than black, white, and gray can help you with this styling predicament.

Is it for a corporate field? If so, then style the headshot outfit in a way that makes you seem approachable, friendly, and responsible. For this setting, you want people to know that they can come to you for solutions to their problems, and be able to entrust you with the responsibility of handling anything that comes your way.

For a corporate headshot, try to wear specific solid colors like black, white, navy, and gray. This definitely does not mean that you cannot wear another color in addition as some headshots have business professionals wearing light blue and pink shirts as well.

But, it does mean that you have less room for experimenting with corporate headshots as opposed to creative ones.

Fashion Tips To Avoid With Your Headshot Outfit

What To Wear For Headshots

We know how confusing fashion advice can be, especially when there are so many resources on the web saying so many different things.

So, with all the fashion ‘dos’ you’ve found everywhere for you to follow in order to take the perfect headshot, it’s time to take a look at some fashion don’ts. So here’s a list of fashion faux pas for you to avoid:

  1. Don’t wear any big statement jewelry pieces. Remember, the goal is for the camera to capture you in a professional light and have your personality shine through. And you don’t want your jewelry to overtake your entire outlook.
  2. Don’t wear flashy (in your face type) of colors. These will probably throw off the light from your face, and will give off a boldly over-the-top vibe, which is definitely the opposite of how you want to come across in your headshots.
  3. Don’t wear loose-fitting clothes. These will make you look bigger in your pictures, and will seem casual rather than professional. Instead, wear figure-hugging clothes that will make you seem fit and put together in your headshots.
  4. Don’t wear an inappropriate top. Even if you’re getting headshots for acting or modeling purposes, wearing professional and modest necklines are always better since they showcase your sensuality without being overtly inappropriate for a professional setting. 
  5. Don’t wear accessories like hats or sunglasses. These items can be distracting and look unprofessional—unless you’re getting a headshot for a specific acting assignment and props must be included. After all, these headshots will be presented to leaders in your field, so of course you want to seem as professional as possible.

Best Places To Buy A Headshot Outfit

What To Wear For Headshots

Look for retailers that offer both business professional and business casual looks to help you shop for different styles all in one place.

Depending on the purpose behind getting a headshot, you can find stores that best suit your needs when determining what to wear for headshots.

Some retailers that offer professional attire with headshot appropriate necklines are Banana Republic, Moores, Tip Top Tailors, and Urban Planet.

Retailers that are more appropriate for when you’re thinking of what to wear for acting headshots or modeling headshots would be Zara, Aritzia, Forever 21, and Dynamite.

Final Thoughts

What To Wear For Headshots

People get headshots for a variety of different reasons such as for acting, modeling, corporate, biographies, commercials, and more. Although a number of fields will require getting a headshot, the rules for what to wear for headshots aren’t that different between the fields.

Most often, your photographer will give you some tips to keep in mind when choosing an outfit for your headshot session.

These can be either very detailed or very brief, depending on how much time they have to conduct outfit consultations prior to your booking. So, figuring out what to wear for your headshots can be challenging with just their advice.

To help with that, keep in mind the purpose behind getting a headshot and use our style guide to help you make the right outfit decisions.

You obviously don’t want to end up wearing something that’s more appropriate for a modeling headshot when what you really wanted was a business professional one. 

By keeping a few style tips, tricks, and techniques in mind, you can showcase your best self on camera and this will show through in your final headshot results.

Basically, the goal is to make sure that you look confident, approachable, and able to carry yourself in a professional manner—no matter what field you’re getting the headshot for.

At the end of the day, the headshot is most likely going to be your signature for landing a job or a client. So, make sure it showcases your best self and is one that you’re most proud of.

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