• what to wear for a professional headshot

    Wear This, Not That: Here’s What to Wear for a Professional Headshot (And What to Avoid)

    7 Tips For A Professional HeadShot

    In today’s world of technology and digital information, your online identity is so important.

    It is the first thing that many potential employers or peers may look for when they are considering you as a professional option.

    How can you make your online identity better? Have a professional photograph taken that you use for all professional purposes, of course!

    To learn about what to wear for a professional headshot and what you need to avoid, consider our following tips to get the perfect photo.

    What to Wear for a Professional Headshot

    Most people are aware that plain, everyday clothing is not generally appropriate for a headshot that they plan to use for business. However, what is actually appropriate?

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    There is a lot of information out there and mostly, it is full of opinions on what is best to wear. It can be a little overwhelming to read all of it!

    Luckily, we have put together the short version of what you should look for in your wardrobe when preparing for the big photoshoot.

    Patterns Versus Plain

    When getting a professional headshot taken, you will want to choose plain tops. Patterns can take away from your face and this is the opposite of what you want to have happen.

    Although it is generally acceptable to choose tops that have accents on them, try to make sure that they are subtle and won’t be the main attraction in the headshot.

    Plain tops are best because they pair well with jackets and sweaters, but they also compliment your features in ways that patterns are unable to. The color of the top you choose is definitely going to impact the overall look as well.

    Which Color Is Best?

    Generally, the color that you choose is going to need to flatter your eyes and hair over everything else. This is because the main part of the headshot is just going to go from the top of your head to your shoulders.

    Colors like blue, green, dark red, or purple are the most popular colors for headshots. Try to avoid flesh-tone colors because they may actually wash you out.

    Choose a color that makes you feel empowered and amplifies your best features. Remember that you should always choose something that you are confident in, but is also comfortable to wear. The way that you feel in the clothing you have on is reflected in the headshot in your face.

    If you are planning to wear a suit, stick with dark colors. Navy, charcoal, or black are great options for a suit jacket color in this type of photo. In addition to this, the tie you choose needs to match the tones of the shirt and suit jacket that you are wearing to tie it all together.

    Another tip to consider is that if you plan to wear pure white, you will want to cover up with a sweater or jacket that will dull the brightness of the white.

    The color that you choose is actually really important because it is one of the first things that the person viewing the photo is going to notice. Color is what draws in the eye and the one you pick for your outfit can actually say a lot about you.

    Consider Your Jewelry Choices

    Any jewelry that you choose needs to not be distracting from the face. After all, your headshot is going to be the main focal point of the whole portrait!

    Your best bet is to wear jewelry that is simple. Think small studs, a small pendant necklace, or even nothing at all.

    If you want to wear something that stands out a little more, you need to make sure that it is classic and timeless. If that is not quite your style, go with bold and sleek.

    Either way, the jewelry needs to accentuate the clothing, hairstyle, and makeup that you choose before anything else.


    Is Makeup Necessary?

    For many women, wearing makeup is just like brushing their teeth. For others, makeup is just not something that tends to be part of their normal routine. Both of these choices are completely acceptable!

    If you plan to wear makeup in your headshot, it is a good idea to make sure that the makeup is professional.

    This means no heavy eyeshadow, super dark eyeliner, or bright lipstick colors. Any makeup that you choose needs to compliment your look rather than draw attention away from it.

    Don’t Be Too Trendy

    Although trends may be acceptable in everyday wear, you will want to avoid them when it comes to professional headshots.

    The main reason for this is that trends come and go, but the headshot you take today can be something that you use for at least a few years if you needed to.

    If the photo that you take looks really trendy, it may be fine for a few months, but then it will look dated and you will have to get another headshot taken before you know it.

    What to Avoid

    When choosing any part of your outfit that will be in the photo, avoid anything that may be shiny. It will not come off well in the actual picture itself. An example of something to avoid is silk, such as ties or blouses.

    Avoid anything with short sleeves that aren’t covered up, tops you would wear to a party or anything that is overtly seasonal.

    Prepare for the Photoshoot

    Now that you know what to wear for a professional headshot, make sure that you update your online profiles as soon as you can.

    If you’d like to get a little more information about how to keep your headshot updated, consider checking out our blog post to become a little more informed. A good headshot is going to go a long way for your professional life.


Claire Bahn is the CEO and Co-Founder of Online Profile Pros (OPP). She founded OPP to help individuals build, maintain and protect their personal brand to help them get the jobs, promotions and dates they desire. She has 15 years experience in branding, public relations and event marketing at start-ups as well as large Fortune 500 companies like Rueters and SAP. Claire has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur magazines among others. Online Profile Pros helps executives, entrepreneurs & influencers strategize and create their best personal brand.


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