What Is the Best Color to Wear for a Headshot?

Headshots have more thought go into them than most people think. One of those thoughts is what are the best colors to wear for a headshot session? And the answer to this is not at all straightforward. That said, while color theory is useful, what color to wear is also not necessarily a complete science.

what color to wear for a headshot

What Color to Wear for Headshots Depends on What They’ll Be Use for and on Any Contrast Goals You’re Looking For

Color Ideas for Acting Headshots

Many actors come in for  headshots with advice from their agents or managers to use bright and vivid colors. They want anything that will help their headshot pop over the myriad of other headshots casting directors look at.

The use of bright vivid colors for acting head shots provides an opportunity to plan for the background colors to use. If you opt for complimentary colors, like blue and red, you can create good contrast using colors that also work well together.

You can also go for colors that are in complete contrast with each other. But remember to also consider your hair color. For example, if you have a bright yellow shirt and so opt for dark gray background, while your hair is black, obviously this lessens the contrast on your hair.

Another option is to go all in on one color across the board. For example, if you have light skin and blonde hair, you might go for a purple shirt and purple background. While this certainly doesn’t create contrast with the colors of your clothes, it will make you skin tone and hair color pop.

Color Ideas for Corporate Headshots

Corporate headshots include entrepreneurs, real estate agents, consultants, and various other executives. There are a lot of considerations here too. First, the colors will depend on the career. For example, people in the finance industry tend to favor classic blues against gray backgrounds.

In most cases, it’s best to stick with solid colors. They don’t necessarily need to be vivid bright colors as with actors. This is because in the corporate world there isn’t so much the concern of competing with a myriad of thumbnails of headshots on one page.

Also, matching a brands color palette might need to be considered. If a company has decided they want corporate headshots to be against the company’s purple and green logo, you might want to avoid wearing firetruck red in a shirt color.

You might want to try and coordinate the darkness or brightness of what you wear with the color of your hair so it’s easier to create contrast across the entire photo this way. For example, if you wear a black suit and have silver hair against a white background, your hair will blend into the background. In such a scenario, you might ask if your photographer can do a gradient background, so the suit is against a light background while your hair is against a darker background.

Color Ideas for Modeling Headshots

The request for modeling headshots to start a portfolio to be against a gray or white background is very common. Thus, this will drive many of the decisions on what colors to wear. But modeling headshots also usually require a full body shot. So, the color of pants, skirts or shorts come into play.

As with acting headshots, the use of bright vivid solid colors is ideal. This is true for bottoms as well. With a plain white or gray background, pastel and earthy colors can also work well. For the close-up headshot, it’s best to try and wear a top that will not distract from keeping the focus on the model’s face.

Once a model has their basic headshots down, they can get far more creative with extra photos to add to their portfolio. In many cases, it can be ideal to mirror some print ads that a model would have liked to have been in. In this way, brands can more easily envision them in a real ad.

Color Ideas for Musician Headshots

Musicians need to consider matching colors to a theme they are after. This theme could be what their music is about, or its genre. It could be for just one particular song. It might also be for a specific event.

For example, an EDM artist might want to mimic being bathed in blue and red lights that are common of EDM concerts. Thus, a color that absorbs blue and red well might be best. A hip-hop artist might want high contrast colors to match dramatic lighting that suits that genre. Meanwhile, a female country music artist might want soft even lighting and therefore might wear light colors to match.

Color Ideas for Dancer Headshots

Dancer headshots tend to use classic background colors of light gray to white. It’s common to use tank tops and ones that are pastel or earthy in color.

Dancers might also need to provide a full body shot. So, they should take care to match the contrast of their tops to make it easier to decide on a background.

One important thing to point out is that, regardless of the colors you want to use, be sure there are no specific requirements you need to meet. Some applications that require a headshot to go with it can have specific color requirements. So, be sure these requirements are met and that your chose photographer can also meet those requirements.

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