What to Wear for Professional Head Shots

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September 9, 2019

Choosing what to wear for professional photos can be a daunting task. There are a lot of variables – your occupation, obviously is the biggest one, but also your personality, and how the images will be used play a role as well. A good head shot can instantly communicate who you are and what you do.

Here are a few tips to help you look and feel your best for your head shots!

Women:

Plain colors are almost always the best choice.  Patterns or prints can distract and date your photo. Mid- tone colors in blue, green, wine and purple are good choices because they are universally flattering.  You may want to stay away from wearing tops in flesh tones (cream, beige, pastels, peach or yellow) as they will blend your face into your clothes. Unless you’re feeling super confident, pass on bright red or orange. Stark black and white are not good choices either because they can play havoc with the camera’s exposure or the studio backdrop.  Substitute black with richer neutrals like chocolate, navy, maroon and forest green. Black is sombre, safe and guarded, not likely the vibe you want to project. A fail-safe tip is to pick a top that accentuates your eyes.

A modest v-neck is universally flattering because it lengthens the neck and displays the décolleté. Opt for blouses with sleeves.  Fine to medium gauge knits work really well too because they introduce textural interest.   If you choose to wear a jacket, pair it with a collarless top.  This is modern and keeps the neckline simple and sleek. Crisply ironed shirts by themselves frame the face really well.

Choose your jewelry with care – simple earrings and necklaces often work well, as they keep the focus on your face. Big statement jewelry can date your photos. Of course, this can change based on your occupation and the image you want to project.

Consider having your hair and makeup professionally done, and again stick to classic makeup to keep your look timeless. Bring your brush/comb, curling iron, and makeup with you in case you need a touch up during the session.

Men:

Do not wear strong patterns on-camera because they can be highly distracting.​ Keep away from plaid, big checks, and any really small patterns such as tiny stripes or checks.​ Very tiny patterns can be distracting because they cause a phenomenon called moire where it looks like there is a weird pattern showing up on-camera (that’s invisible in real-life) because of the way the pixels on the camera work.

Rich, deep colors also work well for men, including blue, green, and wine, and neutrals such as grey or brown can also work well.

For a more casual look, polo shirts and short-sleeved button shirts are good choices, and for a business look, dress shirts, jackets, and suits and ties are all good options.

Everyone:

Be sure your clothes are ironed and free of tears, rips and stains. Also be sure everything fits well, as anything too big can look sloppy or unkempt, and clothing which is too small is jst not flattering.

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