This is what I recommend for what to wear to a portrait session
- wear solid coloured clothing
- choose muted tones that are a bit subdued
- choose similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light)
- choose 1-3 colours for your group portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together and have everyone work within that colour palette. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones. OR tan, a lighter olive green, and denims – all lighter, softer tones.
- choose a top with sleeves at least to the elbow
- choose long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladies
- choose dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo on the beach)
- keep jewellery simple and minimalistic
- do your hair the way you’d normally do it while wearing these clothes (I’ll explain more later)
- if getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 2 weeks prior to your portrait session
- Tell us your expectations and intentions. Let us know what kind of look you want
- Tell us how and where the photo will be used (so we can be sure it's appropriate)
- Drink lots of water and be well rested (so your eyes will not have dark cirlces)
- Your skin might not look it's best after drug/alcohol use. Try to abstain from these before your shoot
- Arrive on time. Please do not arrive more than 10 minutes early (we may have other clients scheduled before you)
- Please call if you are running late or arrive early
What to Wear - Everyone
- Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you look great
- Make sure your jacket and shirt fit you well. A poor fitting jacket or shirt will be obvious in the photos (especially around the neck)
- Don't overdress
- Turtlenecks are almost always a bad idea (since they crowd the face)
- Clothes should be neatly pressed and should look new or like new
- Avoid busy patterns and large lines/stripes
- Blue/green/turquoise shirts/blouses or accents can help emphasize blue/green/hazel eyes
What to Wear - Men
- The standard business look is a suit jacket, dress shirt and tie
- A casual business look is often a jacket and open dress shirt, shirt and tie (no jacket), or dress shirt on it's own
- Polo shirts are a good look for some businesses. Be sure the shirt is in good condition and fits well
- For a no-jacket casual look, bring colored shirts - ideally darker than your skin tone
- A white dress shirt by itself is a bad idea - unless you plan to wear it underneath something (jacket or sweater)
- Bring a few different jackets, shirt colors and ties so we have choices for the photo
What to Wear - Women
- Avoid big prints and busy patterns
- Different necklines will change the apparent shape of your face. Bring a variety different shirts/blouses to see what works best
- For a no-jacket casual look, bring various colored blouses - ideally darker than your skin tone
- Be stylish and fashionable, but remember the picture is about your face and not your clothes or jewelry
- Sleeveless tops/dresses can draw attention to your shoulders/arms. Consider bringing items with a variety of different sleeves
Remember: Select and wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. Select something that makes you look and feel good.
- Keep jewelry extremely simple - small is better
- Avoid jewelry that would distract from your face or that looks dated
- The picture is about your face, not your jewelry
- Consider if facial piercings or multiple ear piercings are appropriate for where your photo will be displayed
What to Bring
- Your previous headshots (so we can improve)
- Sample headshots to help communicate the look you want
- Favorite Music (iPod/MP3 player, phone, thumb-drive)
- Various changes of clothing (see above)
- A good attitude
- Lip balm
- Hair brush/comb
- Makeup and hair products you prefer (especially if you have allergies)
Hair and Makeup Tips
- Make-up should be clean and natural
- Wear a heavy layer of translucent powder - your face will appear flawless in photos. Shine disappears, pores seem smaller, skin looks even, and blush is smoother
- Line lips before applying matte lipstick, then reline. Don't overdo it. Dip a cotton bud in powder and run along lip line to prevent color from bleeding
- Avoid shimmers or products with lots of sparkle or shine
- Avoid frosts or overly-bright colors
- Don't get a new hair cut just before the shoot (you may want to let it grow-in a bit or get used to styling a new cut)
- Do not try/use any new product on your hair, face or body the day before or few days before your shoot. In case you have a bad reaction to the product
“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:
- Cap sleeves or sleeveless tops (they add weight and don’t look professional)
- Light-colored shirts or blouses with no jacket (they often look wrinkled and add weight)
- Turtleneck sweaters (they are season-specific and tend to make you look closed off)
- Button-down shirts (the collar bunches up in the photo)
- Bulky or heavy tweed jackets (they add weight and look too “wintery”)
- Loud patterns (pinstripe is fine)
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.
Hair and makeup for women
– 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 for men
– 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.
… And finally,
– 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.
- Don’t just grab an existing snapshot, advises professional photographer Scott R. Kline in a LinkedIn blog. “If you want to be perceived as a professional, you have to act like one,” he notes. “People can tell if you snapped a selfie or cropped yourself out of a group shot.”
- Smile with your teeth, aim for a defined jawline shadow, make eye contact with the camera and “squinch,” advises Christine Georghiou on Yesware.com. “A squinch, or slight squint, increases the perception of competence and influence,” she writes. “The idea behind it is that wide eyes give off a sense of vulnerability and uncertainty, whereas a slightly narrow-eyed stare comes off as more comfortable and confident.”
- Formal dress can raise perceptions of competency and influence, according to PhotoFeeler research. For men, that means a light-colored button-down shirt with a dark suit jacket and tie, rather than bold colors and trendy details. For women, it means something industry-appropriate in solid colors (prints can be distracting and look dated more quickly) that’s not revealing or form fitting. White, red or yellow next to the face can be unflattering, according to photographer Laura Hunter in Forbes, who recommends retouching if it doesn’t produce a “plastic Barbie doll” effect.
- Scoop or v-necks flatter short necks and full faces, advices JCPenney Portraits, while high-necked garments flatter long necks and slender faces. Dark shades of black, brown, blue and green and jewel tones are slimming, it reports.
- The ideal photo should be a square, relatively close-up head-and-shoulders shot of 200 x 200 pixels or larger, advises Amanda Augustine on TheLadders.com. Anything smaller or fuzzier “screams unprofessional,” she says.
- When your physical appearance changes, switch out your photo, advises Kline, to maintain credibility and the appearance of self-confidence.
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