What to Wear for Business Headshots
Updated: Sep 26
A professional headshot gives you the chance to grab attention and stand out from the crowd. It makes an impression on people before they even meet you. Your personality and professionalism should come through in business portraits. The subject of what to wear for a professional headshot is one that is frequently asked, so you should consider it in the days leading up to your shoot.
How to Choose the Right Wardrobe:
You must consider the goal and audience when deciding what to wear for a professional headshot. Also, make sure your attire is coordinated. The way you dress gives you a chance to express your uniqueness and personality, but you must be careful that it doesn't divert the audience's focus from YOU.
Men Wardrobe Tips
A jacket with or without a tie is always a good option, with the tie largely dependent on your audience.
Different colors convey various messages. Dark colors make you appear more formal and authoritative, whereas lighter colors make you appear more approachable and friendly.
It is recommended to use solid colors. A light colored shirt and any solid-color tie will always look great together, especially when worn with a dark jacket.
Women Wardrobe Tips
A business jacket or blazer, a shirt or blouse alone, or a dress are all good options for women's wardrobe. It always looks great to use solid, medium to dark tones with colorful accents. Your neckline should ideally stop before the photo crop, so select an outfit with a higher neckline to achieve this.
Classic jewelry is best. Stick to simple metal or gemstone stud earrings.
What You Should Not Wear for a Professional Headshot
Busy patterns (floral, asymmetrical lines, etc.), silky or metallic (shiny) fabrics, avoid velvet, ruffles and busy necklines, deep necklines, off shoulder blouses, bulky clothes (heavy sweaters and ill-fitting tops), and my least favorite...wrinkly clothes!
The best thing you can do to avoid regrets at the photoshoot is to try on your clothes a few days before your photoshoot to make sure you are happy with your choice, and that your wardrobe fits well and is wrinkle-free.
Even in industries with a more relaxed dress policy, you should be dressing up for professional headshots. Doing so will also help you boost your confidence for the photoshoot.
Business Headshot Makeup
In general, you should try to keep your headshot makeup as natural as possible. Plan to look like the way you present in real life – if you wear heavy makeup day to day, you can plan on doing so in your headshot. If you wear very little makeup in real life, you should aim to look the same way in your photoshoot.
Makeup should always be applied to clean, even, and well-moisturized skin. So, plan ahead of time and begin using more moisturizer than usual at least 3-5 days before your photoshoot. Drink plenty of water as well; hydrated skin always looks best!
Choose a foundation shade that complements the skin tone of your neck and chest. While choosing a color that is a little bit darker than your natural skin tone may be acceptable for social situations, it can frequently be distracting in headshots because the darker color of your face will be very noticeable in comparison to your neck and chest.
Avoid using foundation or highlighter that is "sheer," "glowy," or "dewy." In real life, these products can help you look more radiant, but under strong studio lights, they might make you appear sweaty. A matte foundation works best.
Avoid using bold lip colors and lip liners if possible. Strong lip colors might bleed into the fine lines around the lips. If you don't frequently use much lipstick, a lightly tinted lip gloss can be a good option, and keep in mind that anything shiny might not read well on camera.
If you do not wear lipstick regularly -and for men- stick to natural lip balm. Start applying lip balm at least 3-4 days before the shoot so your lips look smooth by the shoot day.
Avoid false eyelashes, especially long ones.
Matte, nude colors work best for eyeshadow. If you want to do a bolder look, be sure to do it later on in your session (if you're shooting multiple looks) since it's easier to add color than it is to take it away.
In general, the best hairstyle is the one you can recreate yourself. Avoid styling your hair in a way that you're not accustomed to or at ease with, since you would want to appear the same in your headshot, as you do when you meet people in person.
Use hairspray or gel to hold your hair in place and products that enhance shine (without making your hair look wet). Shine is fantastic for hair, so avoid mattifying products that could make your hair look dull and lifeless.
For longer hair, a gentle blowout can give your hair better volume for a shoot.
Don't forget to bring a brush or comb, and/or hairspray for retouches. Bring hair pins and hair ties in case you need them during the shoot.
If you're going to be in the sun before the shoot, wear sunscreen. Pay extra attention to your sunscreen application!
Drink plenty of water in the 3-4 days leading up to the shoot. As mentioned previously in this guide, your skin will look best when it's hydrated.
Do not try new skin products before your shoot. Whenever trying a new product, there is a chance of a skin breakout, so it's best to keep it simple and stick to what you know works.
Avoid getting a new/experimental haircut right before your headshot session.
Try your outfits a few days before the photoshoot. When you're picking out what to wear, consider applying your makeup as a test so you can ensure your clothing matches your makeup as well.