What (and What) Not to Wear in Your Headshot

A professional headshot portrait is often a necessary step in the growth of your career. Headshots can be used on company websites, social media and business cards. These portraits offer a personalized touch to businesses, allowing customers to connect services and big companies with the individual behind the work. However, getting a good headshot isn’t necessarily as easy as snapping a quick photo.

The right clothes, look, and an experienced headshot photographer are all necessary in getting that perfect picture. A lot of my clients ask, “But what are the right clothes, the right look?”  I’ve compiled some of my favorite tips in the sections below. Follow these tips below for great looking headshots, and get that perfect picture every time.

Turtlenecks or boxy, plain shirts are unflattering, especially through a camera lens. I find that classic cut suits for both men and women are universally flattering and never go out of style. Choose suits that don’t wrinkle or bunch when sitting down. Choose the classic colors, like navy and gray. Shirts and ties (for men) should coordinate with the suit. A very classic look for men is a white shirt, unbuttoned and a dark blazer, very chic. Keep tie patterns simple with bright, bold colors because too many patterns can be distracting. V-neck shirts are typically very flattering for women, but make sure it’s not too low cut. We don’t want too many distractions.

Jewelry should be flattering rather than distracting. Sometimes it’s better to get a headshot taken with no jewelry. For women, makeup can be tricky when getting their headshot done. I suggest wearing the same amount of makeup one would wear each day and keeping eyeshadow and lipstick in neutral, soft hues. Too much makeup may divert from the subject of the portrait—you! Keep it simple and professional.

All of these tips are important in achieving a great headshot, but my most important piece of advice when looking for professional DC headshots is to find a great photographer. Photographers should be experienced, but they should also be able to make their subjects relax. A relaxed subject is a happy subject, and that is key in getting a great picture.