What to Wear for Business Headshots

By Indeed Editorial Team

March 7, 2021

Having an updated business headshot is an essential practice because it makes a statement about who you are as a person and professional. Choosing an outfit that makes you look like a confident expert in your industry is important. Your headshot may convey the first impression of you to clients, future coworkers and other people you want in your network. 

In this article, you’ll find tips on what to wear for impactful business headshots.


Why are business headshots important?

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. 

The right headshot is current and reflects authenticity. It can make people feel more trusting and at ease with you. At a time when social media is important, a headshot should remind people of who you are and why they like you. This makes it easier for you to connect with others across social platforms.

Having a headshot that makes you feel good about yourself inspires confidence in work interactions. Your headshot image should support the information on your resume that suggests you are highly qualified to do your job. That’s why it’s important you consider what to wear for business headshots.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Professionalism

What to wear for a headshot photo

There are several things to think about when choosing headshot outfits. Some of these considerations include, “What’s the best color for professional photos?” and “How should I accessorize?”

If you’re asking these questions, you’re already being thoughtful of your attire and that’s a good start. Here are six things to consider when choosing your headshot outfits:

  1. Be thoughtful about color choice.

  2. Plan for contrast.

  3. Consider the Moire effect.

  4. Style according to your industry.

  5. Accessorize thoughtfully.

  6. Try different things.

1. Be thoughtful about color choice

Consider a solid color shirt or blouse rather than one that has graphic text or a bold pattern. Slogans and logos might be obscured or cut off by the camera and excessive patterning can distract from you, the professional. 

Pastel colors sometimes get obscured by bright studio lights and appear lighter than they are. If you have decided that pastels are necessary, think about adding a darker blazer to offset this effect.

Neutral, solid colors can be worn in headshots with less risk of unintended lighting effects. There are light neutrals, like cream and white, and dark neutrals, like black and navy. You can also go with a bold color if it suits your personality.

These colors are sometimes seen as assertive and youthful. Bold colors around the neckline draw attention to the face. 

Related: Your Guide to Business Casual Attire (With Examples)

2. Consider the Moire effect

Moire is an undesirable photography effect that can occur when one or more repeating patterns are present in a photo. It’s recognizable by the distinct blurry, wavy attribute that happens in the photo wherever the pattern is visible. Shirts and jackets are two of the most common items in photography that produce this effect.

Unfortunately, it’s not something you want people focusing on in your headshot. That’s why when selecting what to wear for business headshots, avoid heavily patterned fabrics, whether it be a shirt, jacket or accessory, like a scarf or tie. You can ensure no moire ends up in your photo by sticking completely to solid colors.

3. Plan for contrast

Some companies prefer black and white headshots. If there’s a possibility your headshot might be rendered black and white, consider planning for contrast and tonality to avoid an effect where the various photo elements appear one shade of gray. 

For example, selecting a powder blue jacket with a lavender tie may work well in person because of the range of cool hues, However, if the tones are too similar, on a black and white photo they both might match exactly. To ensure differentiation in your photo, select contrasting colors. For example, a bright white shirt with a navy blazer and tie.

Consider, though, that too many contrasting colors can distract from your 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.

4.  Style according to your industry

Keep your profession in mind while choosing an outfit. Some industries require more formality than others. In real estate, for instance, you’ll almost always see people wearing business professional attire in headshots, likewise with attorneys. 

Other industries, however, may not require that same level of formality. In those industries you might see people wearing cardigans instead of blazers, or showing up to a photoshoot with their favorite hat. 

When styling for your industry, you want to make garment cut considerations like being intentional about your neckline. A v-neck blouse can appear to elongate your neck and make you look taller and more commanding. 

Sleeves are also often a question when selecting headshot outfits. If you’re comfortable in a sleeveless dress, it could flatter your arms in a photo, provided you are in an industry where a jacket isn’t expected.

Select tailored, good-fitting clothing that is industry appropriate and makes you feel comfortable and confident. 

You should also think about your undergarments. When selecting any clothing items that go under your shirt, thoughtfully assess the texture. A smooth and seamless bra or undershirt will be less visible under most fabrics.

Related: Guide to Business Attire (With Examples)

5. Accessorize thoughtfully

The goal of a headshot is to focus attention on your face. Keep that in mind when selecting accessories. 

A bold tie or bright necklace can do that, but consider keeping it simple by sticking to one or two accessories as not to overwhelm. If you have hair that extends past your ears and plan to wear it down in your headshot, your earrings will not likely be visible.

Those who wear glasses to work daily should also wear them in their headshot so the image is authentic and current. That said, you have to consider lens glare. If you don’t have anti-glare glasses, use a spare pair of glasses or sunglasses and remove the lenses for the photo.

6. Try different things

There’s a lot to consider when selecting headshot outfits. The good thing is you should bring more than one. This allows you to try different things and see what you like best. 

For example, if the cream blouse looks dull under studio light, you can change into a more vivid rose-colored v-neck instead for a photo that’s visually appealing and makes you feel good.

Bringing outfits in a wide range of fabrics is also beneficial because some fabrics may appear too thin and revealing under bright lights, and others look thick and bulky. It’s good to give yourself options to choose from, at the moment, to mitigate any unexpected wardrobe challenges a studio has to offer.

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