Free Guide

What to Wear for Your Professional Headshot Photoshoot

Sarah Anne Wilson Photography, a professional photographer based in Cary, North Carolina, captures a stunning headshot of a woman with long brown hair.
A professional photographer captures a corporate headshot of a smiling man in a suit and tie.
A woman in a tan sweater is captured by a professional photographer for personal branding purposes.
A professional photographer captures a headshot of a man in a suit and tie, showcasing his personal branding as he smiles for the camera.

Guidelines for Women

Opt for clothing that closely contours your body to achieve a more streamlined appearance, embracing your shape flatteringly. Avoid blousy or boxy tops, as they will make you look bigger on camera.

Avoid textures. Look for tops in solid colors and avoid patterns, stripes, and logos, as they may detract from your face.

Ensure your selection includes a diverse palette: opt for soft hues like cream, pale pink, or light blue alongside deeper tones such as jet black, deep grey, or navy, and don’t forget an item that offers a vibrant splash of color. Or bring something that matches the color of your eyes; it looks incredible.

Look for layers. Add a form-fitting jacket or slim-fit knit cardigan to cover and slim your arms.

Think about opting for sleeves extending to three-quarters or full length, as they tend to be flattering and slimming. Sleeveless styles can also work well, especially for those with toned arms, or when layered to create a slimming effect on the arms. It’s advisable to steer clear of cap sleeves.

Bring coordinating bottoms. For photographs that capture from the waist up, it’s wise to coordinate your bottoms with your preferred tops. If parts of your lower body, like your knee or hip, appear in the shot, your outfit will still look cohesive and fashionable.

 NOTE: There is no need to bring shoes to your professional headshot photo shoot. Bare feet are more comfortable.

Seek out necklines that enhance your appearance. Choices like scoop, cowl, or V-necks are excellent for a flattering look. Avoid high-neck tops as they may make your neck look cut off in photos.

Want to wear jewelry? Choose studs and/or very fine necklaces.

Come with clean, manicured nails. Hands will be in the frame in a 3/4 length photo. Natural colors, simple buff, or French manicures are recommended.

Guidelines for Men

For a slimmer look. Form-fitting is best! Look for slim-fit shirts and jackets. Avoid boxy loose shirts as they will make you look heavy on camera. Steer clear of shirts with patterns or graphics, as they can draw attention away from your face. The one exception is ties—printed ties are okay!

Bring a variety of colors. Something light (white, gray, pastel), something dark (black, charcoal gray, navy), and something with a pop of color. (choosing colors that match your eyes is best.)

Look for layers. Add a form-fitting jacket to create a visually slimming look. Pair a V-neck sweater with your shirts to vary your look.

Going for a casual look? Consider long sleeves. A long-sleeved knit henley looks much more polished and put together than a short-sleeved t-shirt. We could also roll the sleeves on a button-up, collared shirt for a more relaxed look.

A collared, button-up shirt and suit jacket is your best friend! You can’t go wrong with a white or colored shirt and a dark fitted jacket. It looks very GQ! For a casual appearance, consider skipping the tie, while adding a tie can elevate your outfit to a more formal, professional level.

Bring coordinating bottoms. Some shots will be 3/4 length. 

Choose trousers or jeans that complement your chosen tops to ensure a cohesive and fashionable ensemble.

Consider accessories. You may want to be photographed with or without glasses. Even holding glasses can create a statement. Bring rings, watches, and cuff links as desired.