Choosing what to wear for your professional headshot photo can feel like a daunting task. Not to mention how to style your hair, what to do about make-up and jewelry, etc..
Below are some tips to help narrow your focus and make deciding how to present yourself for your new business headshot a little easier.
**If you work in the visual or performing arts, these tips don’t necessarily apply to you. What you wear for your headshot photo should reflect your personal and professional aesthetic as an artist.
A good rule of thumb for your professional headshot photo is to wear something you would wear to an interview for your ideal role.
If you’re the boss, dress as if you are going to give a presentation to your investors or a room full of your peers.
When in doubt, skew slightly more formal–Just like at a party or event, it’s better to be overdressed in your headshot photo than underdressed.
Bonus Tip: Put together a *head-to-toe* look. Studies show that what we wear has a direct impact on how we perceive and carry ourselves and this comes through in photos. Even though your bottom half won’t show in your headshot, the effect of knowing you’re in a killer outfit will.
Most professional headshots and business portraits are framed from about mid-chest up so the most important part is the top half of your shirt or dress.
Choose a top that fits you impeccably around the neck and shoulders. Cowl neck tops and anything with a lot of volume are iffy because they can hide your shape and de-emphasize good posture. When in doubt, take a selfie and see how it looks.
And this may go without saying but your business headshot is not the time for a plunging neckline. Anything that might be perceived as an overt display of sexual attractiveness will detract from perceived professionalism.
Neutrals (black, navy, white, cream) are totally timeless and universally flattering so they’re really low-risk for professional headshots.
But a lot of people wear neutrals for their business headshot photo so wearing color can be an opportunity to stand out.
If there’s a color that you wear that often gets you compliments (or one that brings out the color of your eyes) that’s a great choice for your professional headshot.
Bonus Tip: studies show that the color red amplifies a woman’s perceived warmth, approachability, and attractiveness. If you like red, go for it. Go bold with a red dress or blouse or just add a touch of red with your lip color.
Avoid bold, trendy, or attention-grabbing jewelry in your professional headshot portrait.
We want the focus on your face, not your necklace.
Plus, you might love that statement necklace now but will you still love it a year from now? Simple, minimalist jewelry will keep your headshot photo timeless and reduce the odds that you’ll want to reshoot it sooner than later.
If clients and colleagues are likely to encounter you wearing glasses, it’s a good bet to wear your glasses in your business headshot photo.
PLUS, studies show that glasses enhance the perception of intelligence
If you wear your glasses only some of the time (say, for reading), bring them to your headshot photography session and you can shoot some portraits with them on and some without.
It may be tempting to think you need heavy make-up for your professional headshot photo but it’s best to go with make-up that is really close to what you wear everyday.
You don’t want to look substantially different in person than you do in your LinkedIn photo.
Definitely avoid heavy or dramatic eye-makeup (a little cat-eye or winged liner is great but don’t do a full smokey eye).
Steer clear of super shimmery make-up for your business headshot as it can reflect light in unflattering ways. Keep it relatively matte with your eye shadow and lip color.
For skin, a little bit of foundation or powder goes a long way for evening-out skintone and minimizing shine. And even if you don’t typically wear make-up, I still recommend a dusting of powder to reduce shine.
A lip color that is at least a shade daker than your natural lip color will make your smile stand out and your teeth look extra white.
Bonus Tip: Use Crest White Strips at least three times during the week before your headshot photos are taken so your teeth are pearly white.
Unless you *always* wear your hair tightly pulled back in a ponytail or bun, I typically recommend wearing your hair down or loosely swept back for your business headshot photo.
Your hair will frame your face and provide softness and contrast with the background.
Bonus Tip: If you have long bangs or your hair is prone to falling across your face or in your eyes, bring some bobbi pins to your headshot photography session.
And that’s it! Dressing for your business headshot photo is fairly straight-forward. Here’s a quick review…
Ready to look like a million bucks in your new professional headshot?