The primary purpose of having a business headshot photo session is to capture images that can be used to help you in the business world. Whether the purpose of your new headshot is to get a new job or to maintain or capture new clients, the end goal is the same. You want your headshot to portray you as a professional, reliable, trustworthy, and approachable person to do business with. First impressions are everything and if you have a professional headshot in which you look confident, trustworthy, and approachable, you’re more likely to gain the viewer as a client.
The first step to getting a high-quality professional headshot starts with you and the choices you make for your clothing. I truly believe you should wear what you love and feel comfortable in…….but remember guys, you do need to look professional. For most people, I suggest wearing what you would wear to an interview or important client meeting.
Before we start talking about clothing choices here are a few things you need to keep in mind while preparing for your professional headshot.
What is a good business headshot?
- One that depicts you as a relaxed and confident individual
- Communicates something about your style and personality
- A portrait you are proud to show people
What is a bad business headshot?
- -One taken on a Iphone
- A photo from a family BBQ or vacation. These are great to give to family and friends…..but do not under any circumstances use these for your LinkedIN profile, business website or business card. It only tarnishes the image you want to portray
- Any image NOT taken by a professional. Potential clients will take you more seriously if you took the time to have quality headshots taken.
OK, OK……I know, you want to know what you should wear?! So here it is.
For the Traditional Business Headshot
- Think Classic. Pick your favorite suit that fits you well. Make sure it’s one that does not bunch up when you sit down.
- I suggest picking a dark color like a navy blue, charcoal gray or black. These colors are classic and will help lead the viewers eyes up to your eyes.
- Stay away from prints such as grids or herringbone. The camera tends to translate these patterns into a moiré pattern “on film”…..which is distracting to the viewer of your portrait. Again, we want the viewer to look at you, not your clothing.
- Ties Patterns are OK. Just keep in mind that tie should complement the suit in your portrait…..not stand out on it’s own and be the only thing the viewers eye concentrates on. For example: If you are wearing a black suit and a white shirt. A gray would be a nice compliment. A bright red tie on the other hand…would be to dominant of a color for a portrait.
For a Business Casual Headshot
So…..maybe you’re job is a bit more casual and wearing a suit and tie in your headshot might be a “bit to much”. That’s Ok….each profession is different and again you need to wear clothing you feel comfortable in and would be seen wearing at your job. So here are a few suggestions for you.
- I can’t stress enough to choose clothing that fits you well. Not to big….not to tight.
- If you wear a sports jacket but never wear ties…….Select a non-white shirt if possible. Ties help break down the color contrast between a dark jacket and a white shirt. Without the tie…..you’ll need to choose a shirt color that compliments your jacket.
- If you never wear suits and would like to wear a button-down shirt….it’s best to layer your look by wearing a sweater or jacket of some kind. If you’d prefer not to layer, select a darker shirt color (because it’s slimming) and have the top button or two of the shirt unbuttoned.
Attention Men: DO NOT WEAR these items….under any circumstances
- Bold plaid prints
- Bright colored shirts such as red, yellow or green
- A white button-down shirt, without a suit jacket. Again….we want the viewer’s eyes to go straight to your face. Not your white shirt.
- short sleeves. For portraits stick with sleeves. The exposed skin can be distracting
- Polo shirts. A few professions can get away with this look…..but for 98% of professional men….stay away. Polos are just to casual
- Undershirts that have necklines higher than the shirt you’re wearing. If you must wear an undershirt for portraits…..wear a v neck. Otherwise, do not wear an undershirt.
But what about grooming?…
- Have your hair cut about one week before your session. This gives your hair a bit of time to grow out and relax into the new cut
- Facial hair: make sure you shave the morning of the shoot. If you have a beard….trim beard the morning of for the best-groomed look.
Here are a few examples of guys who did a good job selecting their attire for their corporate headshot.
And a few examples of clothing selections that did not work well.
(Remember solid colors for jackets are ideal. Solid colors lead the viewer’s eyes up to your eyes……establishing a connection. Also, bright tie colors can be distracting.)
And finally, for those of you who don’t have to be so formal for your work.
Here is a good example of what to wear for a “Business Casual” style portrait.
(Remember, keep it simple & classic. He wore a solid navy jacket with a complimentary color for the shirt. The viewers eyes go straight to his face…..which is what we want the viewer to do….look at you, not the clothes.)