What To Wear for Business Headshots in 2023 (With Tips)

Updated March 16, 2023

A business headshot is a professional photo of you that you might use in various scenarios in your career. Your professional headshot may convey the first impression of you to clients, future coworkers and other people you want in your network, so choosing an outfit that makes you look like a confident expert in your field is important. Understanding how to pick the right clothes for your headshot photo session may help you to create the kind of photo you want to represent you.

In this article, we'll explain the benefits of business headshots and share some tips on what to wear for a business headshot of your own.

Related: When To Use a Photo on Your Resume

Benefits of business headshots

Here are some of the reasons that business headshots can be beneficial in your career:

They're useful on social media

Social media can be a powerful tool for connecting with other professionals in your industry. Having a professional headshot to use on your social media profiles may help others recognize you on social networks. A business headshot could demonstrate that you're committed to your career and take your work seriously.

Related: 14 Effective Ways To Grow Your Social Media Presence

They reflect your personality

Your business headshot photo represents your personality and professional demeanor. For example, a warm smile can signal friendliness and empathy, while a bright-colored blazer might suggest you are bold and adventurous. An authentic headshot may help you establish a connection with new business contacts even before meeting in person.

They may increase your credibility

Having a headshot that presents you as dignified and mature may inspire confidence in work interactions. Wearing the right clothing in your photo might suggest you're highly qualified to do your job. Your headshot may add credibility in your industry, too. For example, a doctor appearing in a lab coat in their headshot may help them establish trust with potential patients.

Related: Guide to Professionalism in the Workplace

What to wear for business headshots

There are several things to think about when choosing headshot outfits. The right colors, apparel and accessories might help you photograph well on camera and align with expectations in your industry. Here are six tips to consider when choosing your headshot outfits:

1. Be thoughtful about color choice

Color might influence the way people respond to your photo, so it's beneficial to choose your colors carefully. Simple, neutral tones might be best for professionals who want a minimalistic look in their headshots. Darker neutrals like brown, black and navy are typically appropriate, as studio lights sometimes obscure light colors.

Bright, bold colors can be a way to capture people's attention, especially in creative industries. You could also research which colors might compliment your skin, hair and eyes on camera to ensure you look lively and alert in your headshot.

Related: What Is Color Theory? (Definition and How To Apply It)

2. Opt for solid colors instead of patterns

Busy patterns can create a photography effect known as the moiré effect, in which they become blurry and unrecognizable on camera. To minimize distractions and draw viewers' attention to your face, dress in solid colors rather than patterns. If you want to wear a pattern, select a simple one like wide strips or large polka dots and consider putting a solid-colored jacket on top.

Related: Professional Headshots: What To Wear and DIY Tips

3. Plan for contrast

Some companies prefer black and white headshots. If there's a possibility your headshot might be black and white, consider planning for contrast and tonality to add visual interest to your photo. For example, a bright white shirt with a navy blazer and a purple tie might offer dimension, even in a black and white photo. You can plan for a mix of tonality while keeping hues in the same color family. Tone refers to the lightness or saturation of a color, while hue suggests the warmth or coolness of a shade in a given color palette.

Related: 12 Tips for Quality Headshots

4. Reflect on dress codes in your industry

Keep your profession in mind while choosing an outfit. Some industries require more formality than others. For example, professionals in industries like real estate and law typically wear suits in their business headshots.

In other industries like marketing or tech, you might dress more casually. If you work in a creative field like graphic design or costume design, your headshot attire could even help clients and peers understand your personal style.

Even if you work in an industry where casual dress is standard, bring clothes that are slightly nicer than your everyday attire. It's important to make a good first impression in your headshot, so consider dressing like you might if you were going to an important meeting or presenting to a client. It might be helpful to bring an optional item that dresses your outfit up like a blazer or a sweater.

Related: What Is Business Formal Attire? A Complete Guide

5. Accessorize thoughtfully

The goal of a headshot is to focus attention on your face, so it might be best to opt for minimal accessories. Aim for one or two accessories at best. If you wear glasses that reflect light, plan to remove the lenses for the photo or bring a spare pair without lenses to minimize glare. Style your hair and makeup as you usually might when entering a work environment.

Related: 13 Tips for Perfecting Your Interview Makeup

6. Try different things

Most photographers ask clients to bring a variety of different clothing options with them to their headshot sessions. This allows you to take different headshots that present different looks.

For example, if you work in health care, you might take one photo in your scrubs and another in business casual attire. Bringing many different outfits also allows you and the photographer to pick the color, cut and fabric that looks best under the studio light.

Related: Guide to Business Attire (With Examples)

Additional tips for a successful photoshoot

Here are some other tips that may help you feel confident on the day of your headshot session:

  • Communicate with the photographer. If you're visiting a photographer's studio, contact them in advance to learn their advice. They may have suggestions about colors and wardrobe choices according to their setup, as lights and backdrops can impact color.

  • Bring a brush or comb. It might be helpful to bring any hair tools or makeup you use with you to the photo shoot. This allows you to touch up your appearance during the session and make changes according to the photographer's suggestions.

  • Ask your employer about guidelines. Some organizations take company headshots on-site or upload all employees' headshots on the official website, so it might be important to be consistent with your coworkers' headshots. Ask your manager or human resources representative if there are any instructions for you to follow.

Related: How To Take Your Own Headshot


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