How to Dress for Business Headshots
Selecting the best clothing for your business headshots doesn't have to be difficult. This brief article has advice for what to wear for headshots that will be used for business websites, LinkedIn profiles, business cards or other marketing materials. The key to getting the right look is to think of how you want your clients or potential employers to see you. Once you determine how you want to present yourself, picking the right clothes will be easy! So follow these simple clothing tips and your business headshots will convey a professional image that can work for you!
Dress Appropriately for Your Industry
If you are a real estate agent, attorney or work in corporate sales and you usually work in a suit, then it's probably a good idea to dress that way for your headshots. Alternatively, if you work or are seeking work in an environment where suits are not cool, then it's probably best to have a headshot where you are dressed more casually. In industries like tech or music, the whole tie thing is generally frowned upon, so if that is your type of business, your headshots should depict you dressed accordingly.
Avoid White Clothes if Possible
White never photographs well, which is why you very rarely see it being worn in TV or movies. White clothing will always be the brightest thing in the scene and will draw the viewers eye towards that big white shirt and away from your face.
However, I understand that many people often wear a white button down dress shirt to work. My first recommendation would be to wear a different colored shirt, preferably mid-tones or darker. And if a white shirt is your only option, we can make it work by putting a jacket over it. Having a white collar or a bit of a white shirt showing isn't usually too distracting.
Tiny Patterns Don't Photograph Well
Without boring you too much about the technical details of photography, I can tell you that sometimes cameras have trouble picking up tight patterns and it creates a visual mess called moire.
I see this quite often with the more expensive mens' dress shirts that have really tiny patterns, like herringbone, weaved into the fabric. This moire problem often pops up in women's stockings too, but in headshots sessions the photos are usually waist and above.
Another problem is that if a wrinkle or spot needs to be fixed in Photoshop, it can be extremely difficult to correct the flaw yet keep the pattern intact. For best results, just select solid colored clothing with normal fabric.
Bring an Extra Outfit or Two
Occassionally I will be shooting business headshots and for whatever reason, an outfit is just not working out. It could be something as simple as being too close to the person's skin tone or maybe the shirt doesn't work with the tie--whatever. It's best to have an extra clothing option to fall back on if needed.
Iron Your Clothes and Use Hangers
It is important that your clothing is ironed and hung on hangers before the shoot. If your clothing is wrinkled or dirty, that will always show up in photos. Yes, some minor flaws can be fixed in Photoshop, but it's always best to get it right in camera, rather than trying to fix it later in the editing room.
Fitted is Better than Baggy Clothing
I understand loose clothing is more comfortable, but if it is hanging off you, it almost always makes you look heavier than you actually are. In the hundreds of headshots photo shoots I have worked on, not one person has ever said they wish they looked fatter. So if you don't want to look fat, wear clothes that are slightly fitted and not baggy.
Select Colors to Contrast Your Skin Tone
The general rule of headshots is that we don't want your face to blend in with your clothing. If you are a white person, it's probably not a good idea to wear a beige shirt, because that is close to your skin tone. Better choices might be blues, greens or blacks.
Likewise, if you have very dark skin tone, black clothing would not be my first choice for you because it's not going to create enough contrast. Purples, reds and yellows often look good against dark skin. These are just clothing ideas, feel free to bring things to the shoot that you think might work with your skin tone.
In conclusion, the main element of selecting what to wear for your business headshots is selecting clothes that are formal or casual based upon your industry and the clients you serve. After that comes picking the color and fit of your clothing--midtones or darker garments that fit properly will make you look great on camera. And most importantly, iron all your clothes and use hangers.