What should I wear for my professional headshot?
A common question from clients is "What do I wear to my professional business headshot?" While there are different expectations for different Industries, it usually boils down to business formal and business casual. The difference between formal and casual is a tie and/or a jacket. To cover all scenarios, many marketing professionals will suggest 2 looks, one formal and one casual.
No matter what look you are going for, here are six tips on what to wear for your professional business headshot.
1. Solid Colors are best for business headshots.
Bold patterns can be a distraction. Your face should be the focus. Your wardrobe and background should be secondary.An effective headshot should give off an instantaneous feeling or message about you. Most people are looking for a confident, warm and approachable feeling, which is largely achieved through your expression. However, if your potential client is distracted by your wardrobe, they may miss that message.
2. Darker Colors are recommended:Dark colors contract / Light colors expand, therefore darker colors tend to slenderize. Everyone I ever meet, wished to appear a little or a lot thinner. Dark, solid colors will help. Also, darker colors tend to show off less wardrobe wrinkles.
3. You do not need to wear a white shirt/blouse in your business headshot.
Many executives are convinced that a white button shirt is the foundation of the classic executive headshot. I believe that to be true, but I also believe that the modern executive has evolved and that color has replaced the traditional white. As a professional photographer, I am not a fan of the color white in a professional portrait. It is my opinion, that although white is a solid color, it can be a distraction. When looking at any photograph or piece of art, we are first attracted to the lightest area in the center of the image. Ideally, the lightest area in the center of your headshot should be your face, eyes and smile, not your white shirt. If you do wear a white shirt, tone it down with a jacket and tie.
4. Adding a Pop of Color:I am a fan of color. A bold colored tie, pocket square, or scarf is a great opportunity to add a layer of your personality and style. Make sure to avoid overly extravagant patterns or designs, as they can become a distraction. Simple patterns and designs are best. Your blouse or shirt is another opportunity to add color to your headshot. If you are wearing a solid color jacket over your blouse or shirt you may get a little bolder in your choices. If you are not wearing a jacket, lean more towards darker, solid colors, so not to distract from your face. During my many years of photographing local TV personalities, the term “Skittles Colors” (red, pink, green, teal, and blue)was used by the directors to describe the desired wardrobe colors for the on air talent.
5. Less Skin is More:I highly recommend wearing long sleeves for both men and women. Arms are not pretty, they usually appear wider in photos and they are an unnecessary distraction in executive portraiture. I recommend crew neck or a conservative V neck for the ladies. Avoid plunging necklines in a business headshot.
6. Accessories:Simple and subtle. Accessories are another way to add a subtle layer of your personality and style.