Updated: Jan 11
Your headshot photoshoot is booked and now you’re thinking…
What should I wear?! Choosing the perfect outfit for a professional photoshoot can be stressful! We suggest these 11 tips to help ease your stress and pick the perfect headshot outfits!
So what is the right way to approach clothing for headshots? Here are some basic things to think about:
Consider your character type. Knowing your market is key to getting a successful headshot. You really want to be sure that your wardrobe choices compliment your character type. For example, what is your age range? Are you aiming your headshot at blue-collar or upper-class roles? Are you playing sexy roles or are you more of the girl/boy next door? I have had guys bring three-piece suits yet tell me that their marketing is more the college slacker type. I’ve also had women only bring sexy dresses with plunging necklines only to tell me that their agent wants something that could help them land salesperson-type commercial auditions. Hot Tip: Watch the characters you would play on TV or film and take note of their wardrobe as inspiration.
Do not wear costumes. Getting too specific with wardrobe can be limiting. For instance, you can imply doctor without wearing a white coat and a stethoscope in your headshot. It looks cheesy. Some sort of a sports jacket and a nice shirt without a tie, for example, could be just as convincing. And now, you can also use that headshot for lawyer, detective, business owner, etc. Variety in your headshot means you can use them longer.
Subtle VS Distracting. When picking out clothes, look for items that compliment your body type. You don’t want clothes that don’t fit. For the most part, avoid ruffles, logos, and busy patterns; they are distracting in a headshot. If you want to use subtle pattern to add some quirkiness or character to a shot, make sure your eye doesn’t jump to the shirt first. Also, make sure you can’t see through your clothing. If an item of clothing is sheer, wear something underneath that is non-distracting. Your wardrobe should highlight your personality, and not take away from it.
Capture your personality, but don’t be too eccentric. In commercials, film and on television, you will see characters who are relatable to a large group of people. If your wardrobe is unique and you don’t see that character type being cast at the moment, you might find your headshot to be less effective. Your agents and casting directors may love you, but not know what to do with you. There are always ways to show your unique personality, without being garish.
Bring options. For each wardrobe change that you do, bring two or three options. Each wardrobe change should tell a different story. This will lead to variation in your shots for you and your manager to choose from. As your photographer, we would collaborate on deciding what is most complimentary and what best satisfies your marketing, based off the wardrobe you brought with you to the session.
Classic vs. Trendy. Keep your clothing classic and not too trendy so that you can use these images a long way down the road! Classic stays forever, trendy comes and goes.
Shirt Color. Solid jewel tones are always a great go-to option! Avoid bright white and neon.
2-3 Outfits. Try to limit yourself to 2-3 different outfits, since the time spent changing will limit the amount of time we have to shoot. So that you have a nice variety, I recommend one casual and one dressy outfit. Add a scarf, jacket, or other layering accessory to create a quick third outfit. Again, you can bring options for each look and we can decide, together, what three looks we photograph with.
Contrast. People with lighter skin tones should avoid pale and mute pallets; because it will wash them out.. Similarly, people with darker skin tones should avoid dark colors such as navy, dark brown, or black. Portraits look best when there’s significant contrast between skin and clothing.
Glasses. Wear glasses in your shoot if you wear them every day! However, lens glare can detract from your eyes. You can have your lenses removed for your shoot.
Haircut. Please have your hair cut about a week before your shoot. Your hair can completely change the look of your face, and an experienced hair professional will make you look your best.
Facial Hair. Shave with a new razor, shaving cream, and a moisturizing after-shave lotion to avoid bumps and redness. Trim up your beard, sideburns, mustache or goatee, especially looking for wiry stray hairs.
– What to Wear / Wardrobe Tips –
Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you look great
Clothes should be neatly pressed and should look new or like new
Bring a variety of clothing that emphasizes different roles/characters (professional, blue- collar worker, intellectual, sexy, etc…)
Avoid large logos or branding
A simple black shirt/blouse/dress is often a good option
Avoid white shirts unless you plan to wear it underneath something
Darker clothes attract less attention and put the attention on your face and eyes
Solid colors are great
Avoid busy patterns and large lines or stripes
No glitter, sparkles, rhinestones, sequins
Blue/green/turquoise clothing can help emphasize blue/green/hazel eyes
Avoid red as a dominant color
A suit or jacket are great for men wanting a more professional look
Pay attention to details. Layers, ties, belts etc
Different necklines will change the apparent shape of your face. Bring a variety of different shirts/blouses to see what works best
Turtlenecks are almost always a bad idea (since they crowd the face)
Don’t worry about shoes too much unless you specifically want a full-length look
Don’t only bring 3-4 same-style shirts in different colors. Bring variety of styles
Bring a few extra outfits so we can choose what looks best on you at the shoot
Remember: Select and wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. Choose something that makes you look good.
– Jewelry –
Keep jewelry extremely simple. Small and minimal is best unless you are specifically taking headshots in a character for a specific role.
Avoid dated jewelry as well as jewelry that would distract from your face.
The picture is about selling you and your face, not about your jewelry. No one should be able to look at your headshot and say, “I love that necklace!”
Be prepared to remove facial piercings or multiple ear piercings if needed
– Hair & Make-up Tips –
Make-up should be clean and natural
Your make-up or hair -style should be exactly what you would do for an audition
Wear a heavy layer of translucent powder – your face will appear flawless in photos. Shine disappears, pores seem smaller, skin looks even and blush is smoother.
Men may need base, concealer and powder for the shoot. It is best to obtain your own so it specifically matches your own skin tone.
Avoid shimmers or products with lots of sparkle, glitter, or shine
Avoid frosts or garish colors
Don’t get a new hair cut just before the shoot (at least one week before your shoot)
Do not try/use any new product on your hair, face or body the day before or few days before your shoot
Avoid over-styling. Keep it simple.
If you are under 16-years-old the only makeup you need is lip balm or lip gloss
– What to Bring to Your Shoot –
Your previous headshots (so we can improve)
Sample headshots to help communicate the look you want
Notes/input from your manager or agency
Favorite music (iPad/MP3 player, phone, etc. Erin & Jake brings a bluetooth speaker)
Various changes of clothing (see above)
A good attitude
Make-up and hair products you prefer (especially if you have allergies)
Sunblock (Your headshot session with Erin & Jake will be natural light in both the studio and location)
Comfortable shoes!! – They will not be photographed in your headshots, maybe your lifestyle shots… so bring a comfy pair to save your feet during your headshot session
Snacks. Who doesn’t love snacks? We hope these tips help you by easing some stress and landing you the BEST headshots to book you work!
Please share with your friends! Comment below if you can think of any extra tips people need to know!
<3 Erin & Jake Photography www.erinjakephotography.com