This is what I recommend for what to wear to a portrait session
Remember: Select and wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. Select something that makes you look and feel good.
“What should I wear?” This is the first question people ask when they book a business headshot session with me. Here are some basic clothing tips that will help you look your best for your photo shoot.
Choose an outfit you would wear when meeting your best client. If it’s a suit, be sure the jacket fits well. The camera shows if seams are straining, or if your shoulders are swimming in extra material.
For women: Select a solid color that is somewhat darker than your natural skin tone, and that produces compliments when you wear it. A deep red, gray, green, purple, brown, teal, or navy blue jacket is a good choice (better than black, which doesn’t show a range of tones in a photo). Under the jacket you can wear a contrasting top with a simple collar (perhaps a jewel or v-neck, or a traditional shirt collar). A solid-color dress with sleeves also works well for the camera.
Jewelry completes your look, and make a statement as well. Simple stud earrings and a necklace or pearls will add an elegant touch to your outfit. Or you can show your artistic side with larger, more elaborate necklaces and earrings that still look professional. Paired with a simple layered neckline, this can be a streamlined, professional, yet artistic look. A co-orful scarf can also be a nice touch.
For men, a well-fitting jacket in navy, charcoal grey or brown is a good choice. A colorful tie can add pizzazz to your photo. Stripes and patterns are fine, so bring along a variety to choose from that reflect your personality. If you work in a conservative arena, you can’t go wrong with a white shirt. Otherwise, a colored shirt can be a nice contrast. Bring several clean and pressed shirts to the session, and we can choose when you arrive. A pocket handkerchief, set of cufflinks or tie pin can also enhance a photo if these are pieces you would normally wear.
Many of my clients are artists or entrepreneurs who rarely wear suits, but who still want a professional look. If you prefer more casual clothes, sweaters or scarves, by all means bring them along. Some people ask if they can wear a shirt or blouse with no jacket. I find that this look doesn’t translate well in the photo (shirt and blouse fabrics may look rumpled, and produce a less streamlined look). For men, a shirt and jacket without a tie can look fine for more casual professions. Smooth V-neck sweaters for men and women are also good choices.
Here are some items to avoid in planning your shoot:
Overall, choose clothes you love, feel comfortable in, and that fit well. Then you can forget about them and enjoy the session!
[Thanks to image consultant Lori B. Johnson at Your Best Image for her sage advice in compiling this article.]
Getting a great headshot is very important for your business.
It’s how prospective clients will identify you and decide,
sometimes without a meeting, that they want to work with you.
Having a headshot that’s clearly representative of your best “you” will speak volumes
about you and your business – So put your best face forward!
Clothing is the most important factor in your headshot, but it is definitely not the focus.
With proper clothing, your face commands attention and clothing itself becomes secondary.
Wearing the wrong clothing takes attention away from where you want it – on you and on your face.
– Dress in the fashion which you feel best represents both you and your company.
– For a formal business portrait, dress as you would if you were making a presentation
to your most important clients or associates.
– For a more casual portrait, you still want to wear something that looks upscale and smart. Perhaps a blazer,
a sweater over a button-down shirt or a blouse.
Men should wear a solid dark suit, a pressed and well-fitting white or light colored shirt, and a dark tie.
Women should wear a solid suit and a light blouse. Wear something that looks good from the waist up.
Try to pick something that falls well on your shoulders and flatters your neckline.
– Darker shades are more flattering and slimming, but remember – black is not always the best color.
Try navy, dark-gray, chocolate, forest green, deep teal, eggplant or a rich caramel.
– Avoid wearing bold stripes, plaids, checks, dots and prints, they are confusing and do not photograph well.
Patterns are fine, as long as they’re not too distracting.
– Avoid light colors that approximate flesh tones such as beige, tan, peach, pink, white, and yellow.
– Avoid solid black which will photograph flat, and lack detail and dimension.
– Avoid wearing a light-gray suit.
– Avoid turtlenecks (unless you’re Steve Jobs.)
– You might consider avoiding red.
– Do not wear short sleeves for a head-and-shoulders portrait.
– Loud ties and flashy jewelry divert attention from your face. Stick with simple and elegant.
– If you are doing your own makeup, apply as you might for a formal evening out.
– If you “never wear makeup” you might want to at least use some for your photo session.
– If you are doing your own hair, remember to bring some hair product (if you use it,)
a hair brush or comb and a blow dryer to the session.
– Important: Don’t wash your hair the night or the morning before the shoot.
– Grooming usually means just a little powder to cut down the shine and tidying up your hair.
– Shave early in the day to let any razor-burn dissipate and allow nicks to heal before the shoot.
– For a late-day portrait session, if you have a heavy beard, a touch-up shave at mid-day is recommended,
especially to mitigate five-o’clock shadow.
– Don’t cut your hair the day before your shoot! It will look like you just got a haircut.
– If you wear glasses most of the time, I recommend wearing them for your portrait.
– Because of reflections, please be prepared to take out the lenses or to bring an extra frame without lenses.
– Smile from within! Think of how you would look if you just ran into a dear friend on a nice sunny day at the beach.
You’ve already finetuned your resume to make you sound your absolute best, and you've called in favors so your LinkedIn page boasts recommendations from various movers and shakers.
Now, you understand, you must jump through another hoop, producing a headshot that depicts you as professional, yet a joy to work with?
Many HR types say that’s crucial, since professional social media sites like LinkedIn are increasingly used to vet job candidates. In fact, profiles with photos are seven times more likely to be clicked on than those without, according to LinkedIn research.
“Not only does a professional-looking photo show recruiters you're detail-oriented and driven, it allows them to instantly remember who you are weeks or months after meeting at a networking event,” says entrepreneur James Caan in a LinkedIn blog. Conversely, some say omitting a photo could cast a negative light, perhaps giving the impression that you “don’t know how to upload a picture,” according to Miriam Salpeter on U.S. News & World Report.
The opposite school of thought has it that posting such photos only opens you up to discrimination. After all, Princeton University research shows people draw conclusions about you within a 10th of a second of seeing your photo.
“We’re really forming two (first impressions),” says Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy on Yesware.com. “We’re judging how warm and trustworthy the person is … and we’re also asking ourselves 'How strong and competent is this person?'"
If you decide to go for it, here’s how to maximize the photo that will represent you during your job search.
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