What to Wear For Professional Headshots? A Guide To Looking Your Best In Headshot Photos

Just booked a professional photo shoot to get those executive headshots. Having a hard time deciding what to wear to look your best? Follow this complete guide on what to wear for professional headshots so that you can look your best.

If you’re getting ready for your headshot, you probably already have one of the same questions that everyone has at this point. How should I dress for a professional headshot? Apart from being comfortable in front of the camera or deciding what pose would be the best, choosing what to wear can be one difficult decision to make.

A point to keep in mind is that your professional headshot wardrobe plays a crucial role in creating a great first impression because most people will view it before they meet you. In addition to having the appropriate official pose and image style to create the first impression of your personality, what you wear in your headshots can support the development of your professional brand in your community.

The way we present ourselves both within and outside of the workplace communicates information about who we are, and it significantly affects what other people think of us. This perception building through headshots gives a quite precise understanding to others of our level of influence and power, our intelligence, and even our financial status, all of which have an impact on whether hiring managers, colleagues, and clients view us as trustworthy and reliable.

To cover everything as you get ready for your headshot session, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on what to wear for a professional headshot session. We did a lot of research to figure out what it takes to achieve the ideal headshot, and if you read this guide, you’ll be sure to not only pick the greatest outfits for your headshots, but you’ll feel more at ease throughout the entire process. So read along to solve all your worries regarding what to wear for professional headshots.

What are professional headshots?

Professional headshots are a subset of portrait photography that is frequently used for social media accounts, press releases, websites, and other publications. When a portrait photo is referred to as a “headshot” or “headshot,” it simply implies that the center of the body has been cropped out, emphasizing your upper body.

General professional headshots are frequently used by many non-business-related professions, such as academia, writing, non-profits, science, and medicine, as contrasted to corporate and business headshots. Professional headshots are designed to present you as a reliable, approachable, and capable person to others.

A talented photographer can help you visually portray those aspects of your personality in a variety of ways by utilizing the background, your expression, your position, and overall lighting. Being dressed to perfection also helps bring out an even better result.

What is the importance of professional headshots?

Have you ever met someone who you either liked or disliked right away? Maybe you knew why you felt that way about them, or maybe you didn’t, but most people are capable of forming “first impressions” of others in as little as one-tenth of a second.

These first impressions can have a significant impact on a person’s decision to hire, buy from, or otherwise listen to someone. Professional headshots can help you make a good first impression and gain the trust of your clients. When done correctly, they will increase your dedication to quality and other important values.

Nowadays all of us maintain an online presence to get in touch with potential employers and opportunity providers hence we need a professional headshot for our online profiles too. The photo on your website or social media profile is often a prospective client’s first introduction to you. Your online image is an important component of your brand, and professional photography is an excellent tool for establishing a solid online reputation.

Your professional headshots should demonstrate the quality that you deliver daily as a leader. The goal of your headshot is to demonstrate professionalism, personality, and, if applicable, your brand. A professional headshot demonstrates that you care. A prospective employer will interpret this as “better work ethic, better accountability.” If you work in a more creative field, this is your chance to stand out.

What are professional headshots used for?

All this emphasis on getting a professional headshot might make you curious as to when you would be using a professional headshot. Professional headshots come in handy for a variety of different things, be they your Linkedin, your profile, your resume, or your company profile. We have listed out all the different places you might be using your professional headshots on.

  • Personal branding
  • Cvs and resumes
  • Actor headshots
  • Author pages
  • Press releases
  • Magazine articles and newspapers
  • Brochures and business cards
  • Linkedin profiles
  • Social media profiles
  • Company website

Personal branding

Putting your time and money into a high-quality headshot that was expertly taken is an investment in your brand. It portrays you at your finest, as you would like potential customers to see you. A professional headshot for your brand is an essential step to getting the spotlight on you and marketing yourself and your prospective abilities.

Cvs and resumes

Your headshot can be found on your LinkedIn profile. You can introduce yourself to hiring managers by including a headshot photo on your CV. similar to how you would on your internet presence. A picture can help people remember you more than just your name and resume of accomplishments. And a professional headshot could add to the perception you give out to your potential hires.

Actor headshots

A headshot serves as an actor’s business card and is crucial for standing out in a cutthroat field. A casting director will look at a high-quality professional headshot with real facial expressions and an accurate likeness of the actor as soon as they start looking for talent. Headshots for an actor or a model are a mandatory aspect of their professional CV and they can’t do without one.

Author pages

Having a profile picture on your book cover makes it easier for readers to get to know you and interact with you. It creates an intimate bond with your readers as most books are only words and seeing the person who writes it can create a feeling of attachment towards the book. A good photo with a humble smile can do wonders in creating that relationship with your readers.

Press releases

A press release is an effective tool designed to make a noteworthy announcement in the most neutral manner possible. A press release’s main goal is to gain media attention and draw attention from its intended audience, a promotion, a new position, or an important company announcement. Press releases frequently call for profile pictures. A professional headshot photo is essential if you want to represent yourself and your brand favorably in the media.

Magazine articles and newspapers

In magazines and newspapers, a headshot is frequently printed alongside written articles. Using a professionally taken one that corresponds to your brand helps to maintain a consistent visual identity across all of your work. We see images of editors in magazines as well as column writers in newspapers. These professional headshots alongside articles help you create a stronger connection with your readers.

Brochures and business cards

Most of us leave a networking event for business with a tonne of business cards. Nine times out of ten, we are unable to recall which card belongs to whom and who is responsible for what. Most of these cards end up in the trash just because we don’t know who the person is and as we know humans recall faces more than names.

A good headshot on your business card makes it easier for new acquaintances to recall who you are and what you do. Potential clients and consumers will be able to recognize your face if you use the same photo on your business card and marketing materials as you do on your social media profiles.

Linkedin profiles

When potential clients view your LinkedIn page, adding a professional headshot photo makes a wonderful first impression and begins to establish trust between you and them. Since LinkedIn is a business network, your profile picture must convey this. A blurry selfie snapped in a dimly lit office simply won’t do, and it won’t show you in the best possible light. So it’s best to add a professional headshot to it.

Social media profiles

People you meet at networking or business events will remember you better if you use your headshot photo on your social media platforms. They are more likely to accept your friend request, follow request, or connection offer if they can put a face to the name that appears in their notifications. Adding your professional headshot to your social media profile can add a professional vibe to your social media accounts too.

Company website

Customers and clients can put a face to the name by viewing professional headshot photographs on the business website. Everyone on your team should have matching headshots to provide a unified visual brand. They bring your brand together and provide your business with a polished appearance.

A website without any photos will appear boring and lackluster. A website with subpar images of your team is terrible. Photos taken on a phone that are blurry, poorly lighted, and out of focus give the appearance that you don’t care about your affairs. Why would a potential client hire you to manage their business if you don’t seem to care about how others perceive you? Thus adding professionally taken headshots can give your company website that professional touch.

What to wear for professional headshots?

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of what a professional headshot is and why you need one, let’s talk about what to wear for professional headshots. The outfit ideas, tips, and tricks will help you nail down your look so you can pose confidently and get the perfect shots.

When it comes to what to wear for professional headshots, there are so many options that it can be truly overwhelming. Should you wear black or white, sleeveless or not, and what about glasses and how do they photograph? In this article, we are going to cover everything in detail so that it is easier for you to decide on your choice of dressing instead of just standing in front of your closet for hours.

Style according to the industry you work in

Deciding what to wear for professional headshot photos is not easy and especially since there isn’t a chance of it being a one-size fits all option. This is one of the reasons photographers can instruct you on what to wear and what not to wear. They would ask you to dress accordingly as they can’t instruct you to come on the shoot wearing a bright red dress for a bank job. A red dress might be suitable for a modeling portfolio but would be the worst decision when sending your portfolio for a bank job.

It’s the same for sending in your photos wearing a suit for a modeling gig. A suit can serve as a gold standard for other industries but not a modeling job. Therefore, you should always dress per the type of industry you work in and the guidelines surrounding the kinds of clothing that people in your industry typically wear. If you have a strong personality, you don’t always have to match that mold, but be aware of it.

Consider the attire you’ll adopt for a meeting with the person you want your headshot to see

Now that you’ve thought about the industry that you’re in and the types of clothing that people that work in your industry, you should start considering who you’re going to be sending these headshots. Ask yourself questions like

  • Are you getting these headshots taken to make a statement within your organization?
  • If they put you up for a promotion, who makes the decisions?
  • Are you getting these pictures taken for a casting manager?
  • If yes, what kinds of roles are you usually looking for?
  • Do you operate your own company and want your headshot to appeal to customers who suit a particular profile or a particular audience?

After considering these questions you should start narrowing the options on what you are going to wear while staying true to yourself. You should always consider the type of dressing you would adopt if you were out for a drink with the person your headshots are meant for. Or you can think of what type of outfit you would wear if you were having a one-to-one meeting with them.

This would create an image of the outfit you would want to wear if you were to impress the person for whom your headshots are meant. Whatever comes to your mind after considering all the questions you should aim to wear that for your professional headshots.

Keep comfort in consideration

Make sure the outfit you choose is something you enjoy wearing and that you feel completely at ease in. Something that is both comfortable in terms of fit and comfortable in terms of appearance and style.

Ill-fitting clothing can make you appear heavier than you are, particularly if it is too loose or too tight. Your shape will be lost in the photograph if your clothes are too baggy. It will make a difference in the appearance of your shoulders and neckline even in a headshot. If you wear it too tight, you risk having buttonholes pull and seam stretch.

Dress according to your personality

Consider the persona and tone you want to project first. Depending on the environment of your company, you may want to project an aura of formality, competence, and trust. Perhaps you want a distinct or friendly appearance! Decide on a tone before the shoot to clearly express the mood you want to convey for your company by dressing accordingly and maintaining the persona you want to give off.

Consider preparing beforehand

Planning is key when it comes to your headshot. The outcome may be influenced by a few variables. To assist you to get in the appropriate frame of mind, make sure you get enough sleep the night before and take your time to gather your thoughts and clear your mind on the day of the shoot. A crucial part of such planning is deciding what to wear. If you get it right, you’ll feel joyful and optimistic; if you get it wrong, you’ll feel uneasy, uncertain, and reluctant.

Avoid dressing too casually

Even if you work in a field where business casual is the standard, you might want to dress more formally for your headshots if you want to come across as more assured and in charge. According to research, simply dressing more formally can help you feel more in charge and powerful, which can affect how you pose and seem in pictures.

Think about formal attire options that make you feel good about yourself since how you feel in front of the camera will affect how you seem in your images. Stay with formal options like suits, ties, and formal blouses if you need an extra confidence boost. Casual dressing also imparts that you are not a serious individual while wearing more formal attire radiates professionalism.

Avoid wearing dated or worn-out clothing

Everybody has a favorite item of clothing that they reach for repeatedly, but even the nicest blouses and shirts will eventually start to look worn out. This is especially true for garments made of knit textiles or vividly colored dyed fabrics, which may fade or develop pilling with each wash. Choose more recent clothing or “dry clean only” things that won’t exhibit these obvious signs of wear to make sure your outfits make you look fit and put together.

Include several outfits

Keep in mind the many people you interact with and the clothing style most acceptable in each situation as you go about your daily business during the workday. Do you often wear the same kinds of clothes no matter who you’re dealing with, or do you choose your attire based on your target audience?

Make sure you have a headshot that appeals to each of your audiences if you constantly engage with multiple types of people throughout your day, as is frequently the case for business owners, consultants, and salespeople.

Also, remember that you don’t need to look flawless in just one outfit. People should pack many outfits while heading for a shoot because, oftentimes, the item you thought you loved the most doesn’t picture as well as you anticipated. It’s a smart idea to have a fallback plan.

There are times when photographers will only let you wear one, but most headshot photographers will allow you to bring a variety of outfits so you can find something you like. While booking a studio or a photographer and discussing with them how you need various clothing options and backdrops for your headshots. Rather than attempting to make up the difference with an outfit that doesn’t fit any scenarios well.

Choose suit-inspired silhouettes

For better or worse, attire that is generally seen as more masculine, such as darker-colored suit jackets, blazers, and trousers, can significantly affect how intelligent and skilled people are seen, particularly when it comes to those in management and leadership roles.

It is observed that blazers and trousers helped applicants stand out from the competition by making them seem more powerful and influential, per a study that looked at the relationship between clothing style and hiring recommendations. Darker-colored suits and pants also increased the popularity of hiring suggestions for management and leadership roles.

Don’t wear outfits that don’t fit perfectly

Although wearing baggy clothing is fashionable right now, it doesn’t photograph as well as you may expect, no matter how great that style can look. The reason behind this is that even when you’re wearing loose clothing in the real world, your movements still give the impression that you have a shape. The issue with wearing those same clothes while being photographed is that you are frozen in time, so anything that appears to be a box while you’re moving will appear to be a box in the final image.

You should be free to wear whatever you want, but if you photograph someone wearing a box-shaped shirt, they will appear like a box, which isn’t flattering in headshot photos. If you were taking full portrait photos, baggy clothes might have worked. But since headshots are only the upper part of the body that can’t work. So, whenever possible, wear fitted clothing or clothing that gives you the shape you want to see when standing still in front of a mirror.

Try to keep things simple with the jewelry

Professionals have this unique ability, they’ll enhance your natural features in photos but also won’t make them an aspect of distraction. Because of this, wearing plain jewelry is preferable for professional headshots, especially if the image will be cropped tight to your face (as most are).

Jewelry ought to be only a “finishing touch” as long as you have the appropriate hair and cosmetics for your headshot shoot. Make sure the pendant of a necklace can be seen above the crop in the photograph. Avoid wearing dangling earrings and instead, opt for straightforward metallic or diamond studs. Anything dangling or in a hoop has the propensity to get tangled in hair and disappear in photos.

Iron your clothes the night before

Only if you opt to pay extra for more sophisticated photo editing services would a photographer eliminate clothing wrinkles from your headshot. Cotton clothing quickly wrinkles up in the dryer. To avoid such a situation, we suggest pressing your clothing the night before your appointment. Change into clean clothes in the studio before your appointment by bringing a garment bag with you.

Leave the “floppy collar” and undershirt behind

The region just under your face is quite significant in a professional headshot. These images are closely cropped for use as LinkedIn profile photos and other locations. Therefore, start by considering your collar and undershirt.

Firstly, refrain from donning an undershirt in your headshot unless you’re trying to go for a relaxed appearance with an unbuttoned oxford shirt. A white, black, or gray undershirt will be distracting in a formal professional headshot, even though many men wear them to prevent perspiration during the day. You don’t want to bring attention to the fact that you sweat so just stick with a neutral color.

Try and wear a shirt with a stiff ironed collar. Especially if you are not wearing a tie.  A floppy collar would make your headshots look unprofessional and untidy. If you are going for business attire, adding a tie would pull things together. If you can’t wear a tie then a stiff collar is the only way to go.


In contrast to film or video, still, photography necessitates a much lighter touch with the makeup brush. Keep it casual and unforced, and keep in mind that the person looking at your photo will be more drawn to your eyes and mouth. Consider packing translucent powder if you tend to have oily skin because it will absorb shine, balance out your skin tone, and make pores appear smaller. Avoid sparkling items as they might be distracting.

If you can go for a professional makeup artist for your headshot photos then do hire one. It’s not like you are going to be getting your headshots done professionally every day. Ask your makeup artist to keep the makeup subtle only to enhance your features.

If you do wear glasses, wear them

Wearing glasses in your headshot is perfectly acceptable. They have to be included if they are a part of you. They must, however, be spotless, as any fingerprints or dust will be visible in the captured image.

But if you are not planning to wear them for your headshot photoshoot then Please remove them at least 30 minutes before the session if you wear them at work. You don’t want those minor red stains on the side of your nose to be visible in your headshot!

Don’t wear strong patterns

Avoid plaid, checks, and anything with high-contrast colors next to one another. The only patterns that will work are those with subtle color variations. Patterns generally draw too much attention and appear distracting, and some patterns, especially small ones can cause a phenomenon known as moire, which appears to show a strange pattern on-camera that is invisible in real life.

Avoid wearing logos and pictures

For actor headshots, logos and images should be avoided because they are so distracting. You can typically use photoshop to remove minor logos from clothing, such as those on Ralph Lauren polo shirts only if your photographer offers photo retouching. Logos look highly unprofessional and don’t give out a good perception to your potential employers or business partners.

What colors to wear for headshots?

When it comes to getting the perfect headshot, choosing clothing colors that complement either yourself, your brand, or both is an important and often overlooked component. Appropriate color choice can instantly enhance the quality of your headshots and a wrong choice can make them disastrous.

Keep color theory in mind

The study of how different hues affect our emotions, ideas, and behaviors and how they can affect how others see us is known as color theory. For instance, although navy blue and black evoke feelings of control and authority, crimson exudes confidence and vigor. When choosing colors for your professional headshots, consider the message you want to express.

  • Dark hues are thought to be more formal, powerful, and authoritative
  • Light hues give the wearer a more approachable and friendly appearance
  • Some vibrant hues exude assurance and vigor.
  • Muted colors are more conservative and less intimidating
  • High-contrast combinations, such as a dark jacket and a light shirt, can create a powerful image that conveys authority and influence

Try going for dark colors

Simple colors and delicate patterns typically look the best on everyone, regardless of your portrait style and environment. Bold or busy designs can cause moire, a distracting visual side effect of repeating patterns that tend to draw attention away from your face.

Choose colors that complement your background

Consider your portrait backdrop when selecting colors for your professional headshots. Choose wardrobe colors that contrast with your background unless you’re getting a company-branded headshot. This is especially important if you intend to have black and white headshots taken. If you choose to wear the same color top as your background your body won’t even be seen in photographs which would just make the headshot creepy.

Choose colors that contrast with your skin tone

When choosing your outfit choose a color that is darker or lighter than your skin tone. If you choose colors that are the same as your skin tone you might look nude from a distance. If you want to create a monochromatic look then do discuss it beforehand with your photographer so that he or she can discuss things and give you a better suggestion on how to go with the shoot in a monochromatic look.

Color can be a powerful tool in your corporate headshot shoot, and it is essential to consider your colors even if you plan to use black and white business headshots. They make a difference in how well your images appear, stand out, and convey the correct brand message.

Ending note

Choosing what to wear for professional headshots can be overwhelming as well as a difficult task to conquer. But with the right amount of planning you can make all your worries go away and also nail your headshot shot. At the end of the day, it’s all about wearing an outfit that flatters you and gives you confidence. And if you follow the tips above, this will be evident in your photographs, and you will be eager to showcase your new business headshots.

What you wear for your professional headshot session has a big impact on what those photos say about you, but a good photographer matters a lot too, so make sure you choose the ideal photographer to ensure that your headshot stands out and reflects the best aspects of you and your company.