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  • Writer's pictureVal Tannuzzi

What to Wear for Business Headshots

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

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. White shirt and any solid-color tie will always look great together, especially when worn with a dark jacket. If you prefer a color shirt, go with a lighter color shirt underneath a dark jacket, and a darker color shirt under a light 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, giving them more possibilities. 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. If you are wearing a pendant necklace, make sure that the pendant will appear above the crop. Stick to simple metal or gemstone stud earrings since dangly earrings frequently disappear in hair.

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 days before your photoshoot to make sure you like the way you look, 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, if only to make you feel good and 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 due to the way studio lighting works.

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. Also, avoid foundations containing sunscreen. Sunscreen foundations can slightly change the color of your face under harsh camera lights and make you look sweaty/shiny.


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.

Remember to check your teeth. Some lipsticks can get on your teeth, and the photographer may not notice it while shooting. Check yourself in the mirror several times during the shoot to ensure your teeth are clean.

If you do not wear lipstick regularly -and for men- stick to natural lip balm. If you get chapped lips, start applying lip balm at least 3-4 days before the shoot so your lips look good by the shoot day.


If applying mascara, always use black. Brown generally doesn't read well on camera. Avoid false eyelashes, especially long ones.

Neutral, nude colors work best for eyeshadow, but if you really want to do a color, 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. Stick to matte colors.


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 because they'll 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. Hairspray might also be needed to combat wind if your shoot is being done outdoors. Bring hair pins and hair ties in case you need them during the shoot.

​Final Tips!

If you're going to be in the sun before the shoot, wear sunscreen. Pay extra attention to your sunscreen application!

Drink extra water in the 3-4 days leading up to the shoot. As mentioned previously in this guide, skin looks way better when you drink extra water.

Do not try new skin products during the 3-4 days 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 and compare your outfits to your makeup. When you're picking out what to wear, consider applying your makeup as a test so you can ensure your clothing matches your makeup too.

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