There are lots of options when choosing what to wear for your headshot session. Below you will find some guidelines that I like to use, to help insure your image speaks to who you are rather than who your clothing designer is. This is your time to shine and we do that by keeping the focus on you.
Maybe your job doesn’t require you to wear a suit and tie. There is no need to wear one then for your headshot session. Whether you bring a collared shirt or a t-shirt, make sure it fits you well. Avoid dingy whites and shirts with tired collars that don’t stand at attention. A casual headshot should still look polished and professional. What you wear matters! Solid shirts work best. If you only wear patterns, bring some that are subdued to keep you as the focus not your shirt. Even little things, such as a colored stripe down the button seam is a distraction. Layering is a fun option also. A simple sweater or casual every day jacket are good options.
The business casual requires a well fitting button down under a form fitting jacket. For this look, solid is always the best option, but a subtle pattern is ok too as a lot of it is covered up by the jacket. If your jacket has a pattern, keep your shirt a solid. It’s ultra important that your garments fit your frame. The collar should be against the back of your neck and not bulging at the sides and creating gaps between your neck and the shirt. The jacket should rest nicely on your shoulders rather than the seams dropping low over them. For me, the fit is more important than the color here. When choosing your jacket and shirt, ask yourself “what do I want my image to say about me and how do these garments reflect that message?
If your job requires a tie and jacket, bring a handful of both so we have some styling options at your headshot session. Ties should be current. If you’ve had that tie for over 5 years, you may need an update. Not only should your tie be on point, you need to tie your tie correctly. Can’t quite get that dimple in your tie? I’ve got you covered in the video. (Click on the bottom right corner for full screen.) Shirt should fit correctly with collar touching your neck all around. Come with your shirts and jackets pressed and photo ready. If you choose a busy tie, choose a solid shirt and jacket. Patterned shirt equals a solid tie and jacket.
Planning ahead for your headshot session is ideal. Even if your headshot is on location, at your place of business, you can still have an amazing outcome if you dress for the photo. For the casual business style, choose a simple top with a scoop or crew neckline. A turtleneck is also a great choice, especially if you your jawline isn’t as defined as you would like it to be. Sleeveless tops are also fine, if you are comfortable wearing them. I will work your arms so they look their thinnest in your image. Off the shoulder should be avoided unless you want that au naturale appearance. Go for solid colors and simple designs. Even a solid top that has lace cutouts can be a distraction.
The business casual style is better suited with a collared shirt for a headshot. It’s a bit more polished and professional looking than tops with out a collar. Opt for blouses that are solid and form fitting. Loose baggy tops, while comfortable and fun to wear, will add girth to your frame. If you have amazing colored eyes, pop them with a similar color or a complimentary color. Sweaters over blouses don’t usually work unless the neckline is the same as the blouse. Sheer blouses should be avoided to lessen the likelihood that bra and tank top straps are showing. Boston Photographer, Charlie suggests “unless you work in the jewelry industry, refrain from wearing earrings and necklaces for your headshot. What you think rocks might just turn someone else off.”
If you have scheduled a studio session, you have an opportunity to bring a handful of wardrobe choices. If you choose to wear a jacket, it should fit your form to not add extra weight to your frame. Solids mix well with patterns as long as the patterns are subtle rather than extravagant. Collars should be crisp and not limp. They can be worn inside the jacket or outside and having them upright rather than flimsy makes a more polished impression. Dresses should be tailored and simple. Keep in mind the neckline and how a headshot is cropped when making your selections. Choose colors that flatter your eye color and underlying skin tones for best results.
The first step in your headshot session should start with good skin care. Let’s talk about what suggestions I have for you before you head in for your session.
FACE: Finding the right photographer is the hardest part. The rest is icing on the cake. Speaking of icing, I don't recommend makeup for men for a headshot session, but if desired keep it simple and light. If you have oily skin, pick up a tube of Peter Thomas Roth Max Anti shine Matifying Gel, which is a miracle worker on oily skin. I have it here in studio for your use as well. Make sure you have moisturized skin and your lips are free from chapping. Bring lip balm with you the day of your shoot. For both men and women, avoid using moisturizer with SPF as it can cause flash back with the studio lights. Women, your makeup should be clean and fresh. No need to overdue it for your headshot session. Avoid strong, hard eyeliner lines, and brows that are heavily penciled in or squared off with liner or even stamps. Simply filling in bare areas is sufficient as well as cleaning up any stray hairs. Women, bring lip gloss, balm or color. When wearing color, it should compliment your skin tone, not take all the focus away from your other features. Make sure the color stays within the outline of your lips. Your foundation on your face needs to match your neck. Bring everything with you for touch ups as we go along.
Men, to help eliminate razor burn and irritation, use a new blade for shaving and moisten your face with hot water to prep the skin before using a quality shave cream. Don't forget to rinse with cool water and pat dry and apply a good moisturizer. Do you want photos with facial hair and without? Schedule enough time and you can shave at the studio in between looks.
HAIR OF ALL SORTS: Hair should be clean and not recently cut. Hair needs a week or so to settle in to a haircut. I've had many cancellations due to haircuts that didn't go as planned or ended up shorter than intended. Please bring your brush, hairspray, bobby pins and even a ponytail holder. If you straighten or curl your hair, consider bringing those tools with you as well in case you need to make adjustments.
Don’t forget about your eyebrows! Pluck stray hairs and keep them brushed. Avoid stamped on eyebrows and sharp edges that don’t look natural. Be sure to watch for rogue nose hairs as well and get those taken care of before your session.
ACCESSORIES: If you wear glasses and have more than one pair, bring them all with you. Different glasses will sit on your face differently and lenses react to the light differently as well. Lenses with the anti glare coating is preferred, or bring frames without the lenses if you don’t have the coating applied.
Jewelry should be kept to a minimum, if at all. Studs are fine as long as they don’t go beyond the earlobe. Hoops can work as well, especially if you have a short, fun haircut. If you have gauges, consider bringing flesh toned plugs along. Necklaces are a no go, unless they are short and won’t be cropped off in your headshot leaving the viewer wondering what is at the bottom of that chain. If you opt for a short necklace, say you wear it every day and can’t take it off, keep it small and simple.