headshots of women

Women: What to wear for a business headshot | Boise Photographers

The question I get the most is …. “what should I wear for my business headshot”.  When it comes to a professional headshot that will be used on your website, business card or LinkedIn profile…..there are a set of rules I suggest following. But first…

The Purpose Of A Business Headshot

Keep in mind, the primary purpose of hiring a photographer to take your business headshot 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 clients or capture new ones, 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! 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.

OK. But what about clothing?

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. However, 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 more specific thing to consider while selecting your clothing; here are a few things you need to keep in mind while preparing for your professional headshot session.

What is a good 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 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 find out what you should wear?!  So here it is.

Clothing For The Traditional Business Headshot

The Basics

First of all…..make sure your clothing fits you properly.  You will be uncomfortable in clothing that is too large or too small….and it will show in your portrait.  Not to mention….it is not flattering to your figure.

My #2 rule is to layer.  But remember….this is a professional headshot being used to represent you in the corporate world.  So….think classic.  Select a suit or outfit that has a professional, classic look.  Something appropriate for an interview or important client meeting is ideal.

For your top layer……stay away from bold patterns.  Solid colors always photograph best and keep the focus of the portrait on you…..not the clothing.  You can wear bold colors and patterns…..as long as the color is layered under a jacket or sweater which is preferably darker in color.   Blouses of blue, green, and turquoise look nice on many people and can accentuate your eyes……especially when paired with jackets or sweaters of black, navy, or chocolate brown.

Stay away from herringbone prints for both the jacket and the base layer.  The camera doesn’t like these types of patterns and they tend to produce a moire effect “on the film”.

Try not to wear white unless it’s layered under something.  White has a tendency to wash people out.  White cammies however…..look great under black suit jackets.  Pastels should also be avoided.

The Details


Now let’s move onto necklines.   A v-neck looks good on most women and accentuates the neck, creating a slimming effect.  Just make sure the neckline does not plunge to low.  Simple scoop necks are also acceptable.  However, do not wear turtle necks… doing so has a tendency to make you look like you have no neck.  Plus……..showing some skin helps draw the viewer’s eyes up to your eyes and face when looking at your portrait.  Blouses with ruffles or excessive bulk around the neckline can draw too much attention to your bust line, essentially widening your appearance.  No lady likes that….so stay away.

Sleeves or No Sleeves?

Avoid short sleeves and sleeveless tops for your corporate headshot.  This is not considered a “professional” look.  Business headshots look best without bare arms.  You can however wear a short top underneath a jacket or cardigan…..just make sure the arms are covered for portraits.


Keep it simple.  Less is more.  Stay away from chunky necklaces and big earrings.  They can be distracting.  Also, try to select pieces that would be considered timeless, not trendy.


I know not all women wear makeup…..and I understand.  Because of extreme allergies…I don’t myself.  But…..if you do wear makeup, please make sure to show up to your session with your makeup applied.   Do however bring your makeup bag so touch up’s can be done if necessary.

The rule for makeup is to wear it as you usually do on a workday.  You want your clients to recognize you when they come into your office.  Apply just enough to smooth out your skin imperfections and enhance your features.

Please avoid products that have excessive shimmer (glitter).


Make sure to schedule your cut & color for one week prior to your business headshot.  This gives your hair time to settle into the new cut and the new color a week to tone down.


Your nails may or not show in photos.  It doesn’t matter if you do or don’t wear polish.  Just please make sure your nails do not have any kinds of chips.  This includes the nails themselves and the polish.


If you wear glasses every day you should wear them in your portrait

What to bring to your portrait session

  • Bring up to 3 clothing options (jewelry included).  This way we can photograph a few different looks.
  • Makeup bag for touch-ups.  Make sure to include lip gloss.
  • Brush or comb
  • A good attitude

What’s included in retouching and editing?

Retouching includes the following… as needed.

  • Blemish & spot removal
  • Subtle skin smoothing to even out any uneven tones
  • Minimize laugh lines and wrinkles
  • Stray hair removal
  • teeth whitening if requested
  • Minimize dark circles under eyes

Here are a few more examples of gals who did a good job selecting their attire for their corporate headshot.

Have a man in your life who needs help picking out clothing for his headshot? Then you won’t want to miss this helpful article:

Men: What to wear for a business headshot

6 thoughts on “Women: What to wear for a business headshot | Boise Photographers

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