How Should I Dress for a Professional Headshot?

How one should dress for a headshot is a common question asked as a headshot photographer. Often people will bring many options with them to discuss, which is a good idea. But what general tips can someone follow? It depends on what the headshot is for.

How to Dress for Headshots

Selecting the Right Outfit for a Headshot Can be a Big Difference in How They Come Out

What to Wear for Actor Headshots?

Actors have a lot at stake with their headshots so, getting good actor headshots is everything. Actors usually go for at least two looks, commercial and theatrical. What you wear for each one is usually different.

For commercial looks, generally bright colors are good but not too rich. More nature-like and pastel colors are often good. Pay attention to how the colors work withy your skin, hair and eye colors. Do you want muted or great contrast? Also, avoid busy patterns like plaids and stripes. There is no perfect item to wear so, don’t sweat it too much. Remember too that for your main headshots, it’s typically chest up. So, your top is the only consideration.

For theatrical looks, you might consider a darker palette of colors. Here, you might also consider layers – a button up shirt or jacket over a t-shirt, for example. As for jewelry, remember it’s about the roles you want to fit in for. So, use this as your baseline as to how much jewelry to wear, if any.

What to Wear for Model Headshots?

For models looking to submit to agencies, keep in mind that the goal is for them to be able to tell your body proportions. So, generally, avoid loose clothing. You can wear jeans that are a bit snug and a snug t-shirt, for example. You will likely also be required to provide a full body shot in a swimsuit. As with actors, keep the colors simple. Avoid plaids and stripes too.

Models need to consider their entire outfit as they will need full body shots too, as well as 3/4, half-body and profile shots. The full body shot may include your feet or cut off just above. It’s a good idea to check with the agency as to what they prefer. When you shoot, do full body as you can at least always crop in to cut out the feet. So, you might be wondering what shoes to wear. You can certainly wear shoes but, be sure to take shots barefooted too – let them see your feet too.

What to Wear for Corporate Headshots?

One might thing figuring out what to wear for corporate headshots would be simpler than for actors or models. Not necessarily. But, as we go over this, keep in mind that like anything this can be made overly complex when it doesn’t have to be.

If you’re in finance, law or other such fields where wearing a suit daily is the norm, you’re likely going to want to have headshots in a suit. If you’re in a field that doesn’t wear suits, then don’t. This is keeping it simple. Other considerations are to wear what you’d wear to a client meeting or dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

What to Wear for Musician Headshots?

Musician headshots are usually to promote a vibe or to fit a specific branding element. Thus, the advice is to wear what would be best for this purpose. This might actually be incredibly busy colors. It might be lots of jewelry or it might be perfectly clean-cut.

It’s important to have a conversation with your chosen photographer in advance of your headshot session to be sure they can match in-camera the vibe you’re after with your outfit. Don’t show up without doing so.

What to Wear for Dating Photos?

For a dating profile, you are going to want a close-up headshot, a full body shot and maybe some lifestyle shots. Thus, many of the same rules apply. Generally, don’t wear clothes that are too loose that they make you larger than you are. Keep colors and styles simple while still true to what you’d normally wear.

There’s a lot of advice for dating photos. For example, wear what you would wear on a first date. So, don’t wear t-shirts.

Most important, these are not rules and that means you don’t always have to follow them. Sometimes doing the opposite works. Consult with friends and family, or your photographer. If you’re on the fence about in idea on what to wear, take it to the shoot and try it – see how it looks in-camera. It just might be spot on.

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