What To Wear For Men’s Professional & Corporate Business Headshots: Tips, Suits, Colors, Clothing, Wardrobe Styling, Attire Ideas, Grooming Advice & Photo Examples
Depending on the industry you are in, headshot options are limitless, especially if you decide to capture your headshot outside 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.
Below are some general guidelines to consider when planning your next business headshot. Be sure to provide your photographer with context and details, so he/she can guide you on specific recommendations for your industry, method of photo placement etc.
For women’s headshot tips, read this: https://eddie-hernandez.com/womens-headshot-wardrobe-tips/
If you are preparing to get your headshot for LinkedIn, be sure to also read this piece to understand photo dimensions, sizes, resolution, cropping, spacing and other best practices and etiquette.
Wardrobe: 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. If your profession or industry demands a tie, stick with solid colors (shades of red, blue or black). You can also try other colors as well like mustard yellow, royal purple or soft rose.
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.
Depending on location, style and budget, look at Zara, Massimo Dutti, Hugo Boss, Klein Epstein & Parker, J. Crew, Charles Tyrwhitt, Bonobos, Uniqlo for your blazer needs.
Men’s Clothing: 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.
Location: 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, Mustaches 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 mustache 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.
Attire: Colors, Patterns
The general rule of thumb is to avoid colors that clash with skin tone and backgrounds. You don’t want colors either 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 you are in a creative field outside 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, gray, 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 photo shoot 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.
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.
Eyeglasses vs. Contact Lenses
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. Let your photographer know you wear eyeglasses, so he/she can prepare ahead of time or let you know if they are unable to accommodate requests for glare removal.
Clean, Pressed Suits & Outfits
Always make sure you outfit is clean, pressed for photos. If you schedule a photo shoot 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.
The smart casual look is defined as a casual look with elements of more polished and refined accents i.e. blazer with a t-shirt, nice dress shoes worn with jeans, designer jeans etc. It’s a style that is more fashionable than most as it requires keen awarness of all styles but effectively being able to mix and match accordingly. It’s popular in startup industries and is also referred to as understated look.
Worst LinkedIn Headshot Examples
If you still need help trying to figure out headshots, read this guide on photo examples to avoid: https://eddie-hernandez.com/worst-linkedin-headshot-examples/
Contact me today to schedule your own custom headshot.
About Eddie Hernandez
San Francisco Photographer: Professional Headshots, People Portraits, LinkedIn Photos, Corporate + Business Headshots, Company Culture + People Photography for non-profits, startups, small business owners, professional firms and local organizations.
Specialties include: casual employee headshots, work style corporate headshots, LinkedIn headshots, business headshots, executive portraits, professional headshots, office headshots, creative branding portraits, modern company culture and environmental office head shots. I primarily shoot outdoors, public spaces and client sites (on location, before work, after work, lunch breaks) and specialize in location scouting and creative direction. Assistance with wardrobe and styling is available.
My ability to put people at ease, guide poses, provide unique backgrounds and create a fun photoshoot filled is what separates me from others. If you hate taking photos or are camera shy, you have come to the right person for your pictures.
Whether you are a medical / healthcare professional, marketing consultant, accountant, writer, investor, attorney, engineer, scientist, psychologist, designer, executive, founder or work in finance, residency, healthcare, startups, banking, technology, education, therapy, government, non-profits or own your business, I can work with you to create a unique, personable, creative, professional headshot look to suit your needs whether for a website, press, LinkedIn, social media or company website.
Serving the greater SF Bay Area including Sausalito, Mill Valley, Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin County, Petaluma, Sonoma, Napa, Palo Alto, San Jose, Stanford, Silicon Valley, Fremont, Hayward, Concord, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Larkspur, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Menlo Park. Will travel to Los Angeles, New York City, Montreal, Mexico City, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia, Chicago, internationally and client sites.
Contact me today for your professional headshot session: https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/
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