What To Wear For Professional Business Headshots: Tips and Ideas

Depending on the industry you are in, headshot options are limitless, especially if you decide to capture your headshot outside of a studio i.e. public space, office space, outdoors etc. Over the years, there has been a shift from more formal looks to more business casual, fashionable looks that capture individuality and approachability. There are a number of factors that can affect what you should wear for your headshot so here are some tips to get the most out of your photos.

Blazers, Ties 

Unless you work in investment banking, real estate, sales or other similar field, business suits and ties are no longer necessary in headshots. Executives in start-ups and other technology fields are opting for the blazer and shirt (no tie) or ditching the jacket altogether. Many technology companies these days are having a hard time competing for talent that they can no longer force employees to dress up as rigidly as they have before. Executives should set the tone in their attire for what they want to convey to potential candidates. Come as too stiff and you might scare away folks. Dress up too casual and you might come off as immature or self-absorbed.

Dress Shirts 

Dress shirts are still a go-to for most men taking headshots but depending on your industry and seniority, you can opt out of the blazer. Regardless, your dress shirt should be clean and pressed and your collars should be sharp. Invest in some collar stays (plastic ones that come with the shirt is fine but after-market metal one are great). There is nothing that ruins a photo quite like wrinkles, stains, and bent collars. Be sure to plan around your headshot so you don’t spill anything nor get it too wrinkled. If you do decide to opt for a dress shirt only headshot, avoid all white shirt as it can reflect a little too much light.

Environment, Background

When coordinating a headshot, I like to get a sense of preferred locations and backgrounds the customer has in mind. These days, more and more people are opting out of traditional two-dimensional studio headshots and moving to more environmental headshots that allow for more creativity. Unless you are in rigid industry like investment banking or academia, the options you have for your headshots are vast. Avoid colors that clash or exactly match our background and environment. For example, if shooting against a brick wall, avoid brown, dark reds and clay colored attire. Additionally, understand lighting patterns. Some environments are too dark or too bright depending on the time of day so anything you can do to assist your photographer out with examples you are considering for your office, residence or other familiar site is helpful.

Grooming: Beards, Moustaches and Nose Hair

There are many opinions with facial hair but a light stubble or a clean shave is usually recommended. Most men never get unbiased feedback on their appearance and grooming habits so those details often times go unchecked. If you do opt for the moustache or beard look, keep it cleanly trim so that stray hairs are not visible. Give yourself plenty of time to shave so that you don’t cut yourself when you are rushing over to meet your photographer for photos (you should also be aware of any skin irritation you may experience if you shave too close to your headshot appointment). Always use shaving cream and use new blades – dull ones can cause irritation and ingrown hairs.

Consider the timing of your headshot – long days, stress or wind can cause your look to change by the time you are ready for your headshot. Invest in nose clippers or trimmers. Many men ignore this subtle yet obvious detail in their grooming regime and it shows in photos.

Colors, Patterns

The general rule of thumb is to avoid colors that clash with skin tone and backgrounds. You don’t want colors too similar to your skin tone nor similar to your background. Avoid loud colors (i.e. neon, those with a lot of shine, reflective colors) unless your are in a creative field outside of more conservative business fields. Most headshot advice articles out there cater to more conservative fields so take everything with a grain of salt and seek out photographers that specialize in more creative headshots. I am a big fan of black, grey, jewel tones and white if layered with a blazer. Avoid loud patterns when possible. single tone tops, or simple/subtle patterns work well to.

Skincare: Makeup, Concealer and Breakouts

While makeup is generally worn by women, men often can benefit from makeup as well. A good concealer can cover-up a blemish but make sure to get one that matches your skin tone. If you need help, you can drop by Sephora for some help from a makeup artist so you know how to work with your skin. When it comes to skincare preventive efforts are best but it also helps to know which products are best for your skin. Never try a new product right before a photoshoot as you never know how it can react to your skin. With that said, I like Obagi products for skincare. Unlike over the counter products that lie on top of the skin, Obagi Clenziderm is one that seems to be more effective at managing redness and pimples.

Haircuts

Not much to say here other than don’t schedule your haircut on the day of your photoshoot especially with a new barber or stylist. Every so often someone will get a haircut that they are not happy with. Give yourself time to get a look you like and are confident in.

Glasses

If you wear glasses great, bring them. Make sure they are clean, free of dirt and scratches and are not damaged, crooked. You want your glasses pressed up against your face and not slide down too far down your nose. 

Clean, Pressed Outfits

Always make sure you outfit is clean, pressed for photos. If you schedule a photoshoot after work be careful not to spill anything on yourself or get wrinkled shirts. If you decide to change into your outfit, be sure it doesn’t get wrinkled in your bag or worn when sitting down or driving to/from work or the photoshoot.

For additional fashion tips, check out my Pinterest Board for inspiration. For tips on how to prepare for your headshot, read this useful guide before taking your headshot.

Contact me today to schedule your own custom headshot.