What To Wear for Female Headshots
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.
Tops: Shirts, Blouses, Sweaters and Blazers
Most versatile looks can be captured by wearing blouses, collared shirts, light sweaters and blazers. Blazers are great if you have a white top that you love but want to add some color and dimension. Blouses are great as they can be worn as is or styled with a bandana, neck-tie or small scarf. Black blazers are a safe bet but the blouse color should have some pop or contrast so it does not lack vibrancy in the photo. Complementing your blazer i.e. dark blue with light blue blouse is a great way to add a more casual feel to an otherwise more stiff traditional look of a white blouse, dark blazer look you see so often.
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.
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, jewel tones and white if layered with a blazer or small scarf (more like a tied bandana). Avoid loud patterns when possible. single tone tops, or simple/subtle patterns work well to.
Makeup, Lipstick, Earrings
When preparing for your headshot, I prefer more natural makeup and lipstick saturation and colors vs applying more (it’s easier to apply or add more if needed than reduce it at the time of a photoshoot). Foundation colors should match that of your skin and darker red lipstick is generally preferred over bright reds. Again, depending on your industry (creative fields, agencies, beauty industries etc), you might have more flexibility to be more bold, bright etc. The general look is that you should apply what you would wear to work or a work-related function. This is especially true if you are taking headshots during the workday – you don’t want to raise suspicion if you happen to be on the job hunt. Make sure you plan for/around your headshot i.e. schedule your headshot earlier in the day to minimize having to adjust/re-apply makeup and/or allow time to change clothing if you do not want to look like you came back from an interview. As for earrings, studs and smaller earrings are recommended. Larger earrings can seem a bit clunky or get in the way of hair unless you sell earrings or work in a similar field where jewelry is part of your brand, smaller is better.
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.
When it comes to necklines, it is important to consider the crop of the photo. Most headshots are cropped a few inches below the shoulder and above the chest so a low neckline, deep v-neck may not be the best option. As for shoulders, most people opt for a covered shoulder look or thick straps rather than thinner straps. Depending on your company or industry, you should see if there is preferred look among those in roles you are aiming for. Crew, collared, jewel and peter pan collars are the most popular collar and necklines in photos. The split neck is a great option as well: http://bit.ly/2NpfegC
Scarves can provide a great pop in your photos especially if you are limited to a white blouse in your attire. A small tied bandana, neck scarf, neckerchief, bow collar, tie-neck blouse is a great way to add a splash of color and dimension to a photo. Practice tying the scarf and see how it looks straight on and with your body angled 30 degrees away from the camera.
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 purse.
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