Headshot 101: What to Wear for Your Headshot

February 1, 2022

Headshots: almost everyone needs one. It’s recommended to update yours with a professional photographer every 2-3 years, or if you’ve made any big changes to your physical appearance as of late. Time to chat about updating yours, and how to prep for it (more specifically, what to wear for it).

Once you’ve booked a headshot session with a Houston photographer whose photographic style you like, next comes what may be the most daunting part: choosing what to wear, how to style yourself, and how to practice for your upcoming session as a person who probably doesn’t spend a ton of time in front of a camera. We’re doing a 3 part series on how to prep for your headshot session. First up, we’re talking about headshot clothing optimization!

What to wear for your Houston headshots

We are going to start with our best advice we can give when it comes to dressing for your headshots: HIRE A PRO. *recommendations at the bottom of this post* Professional stylists are masters of helping you figure out what to wear for your headshot session. They can help you come up with a wardrobe that will make a lasting impression in your headshot, show you options you never knew would look good on you, accommodate your schedule by doing a virtual appointment, or even go shopping for you. We understand not everyone will want to or is able to hire a pro, so we would recommend the basic tips below if you’re going to be choosing your own outfit.

To determine the kind of clothing you should wear in your professional headshots, you need to know what kind of impression you want to make upon potential viewers. Whether your field requires a more professional presence or you’re about to get a little more creative in appearance, the following clothing tips are applicable to anyone that steps in front of the camera:

Colors + patterns

  • Solid colored tops look good on camera. Jewel tones are good, as they tend to be darker and don’t distract from the subject of the photo. Some other colors that look great on camera are earth tones and subdues neutrals such as charcoal.
  • While black or white are acceptable colors, it can be difficult to capture the detail in solid black or white clothing, therefore it can appear blocky.
  • If you know ‘your colors’, such as the ones that make your eyes pop or the ones that enhance your skin tone, consider bringing clothing of that color to your headshot session.
  • Having a blouse or top with texture is a wonderful way to add a bit of visual interest to your headshot.
  • Bring a couple of different options if you’re unsure of which will work best and you and your photographer can talk about the options together once you arrive to your shoot.

Style + fit

  • V-necks, crew necks, and boat necks are all flattering fits for a more feminine top.
  • If you typically wear a sports coat, blazer, or jacket to work, bring a couple of them along as an option in your photos.
  • Make sure your clothing fits well before your headshot session. Baggy or (too) tight clothing appears unprofessional and sloppy.
  • If you’re going for a more masculine vibe and want to appear business casual in your headshot (specifically with no tie), bring a couple of sports coats. A sport coat without a tie in an intentional wardrobe choice. But if you wear a suit coat without a tie, it gives the impression that you are ‘dressing down’.
  • Whatever clothing you bring to your headshot session, make sure you feel good wearing it. When you feel good, you look good!

Accessories

Less is more. Keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum (unless lots of jewelry is your signature look).

  • Simple pearls, gemstones, or diamond stud earrings look great in headshots.
  • Big jewelry can draw attention away from the subject of the photo.
  • Eyeglasses and lens glare can be tricky. If you normally wear glasses, plan to wear them in your headshot. It’s ideal if they have a non-glare coating. If they do not have the non-glare coating, consider borrowing a pair of glassless frames for your session or removing the lenses.
  • If you’re planning on wearing a tie and are not confident in your tying skills, try tying it before your session and slip it over your head once you’re at your session. The best ties to try are the Pratt or Shelby Knot.

Miscellaneous

  • Do not wear your headshot wardrobe in the car on your way to the studio. Seatbelts cause wrinkles. Instead, bring your clothing on hangers.
  • Make sure everything is clean, pressed/ steamed, and fits well.
  • Bring 3-4 options along.

What to avoid

  • Avoid very short sleeves or sleeveless shirts (unless that is a part of your brand appearance) and very low necklines.
  • For a timeless headshot, avoid busy patterns, trendy styles, and plaids.
  • Avoid logos, graphics, and contrasty graphic tees.

And of course, if you’re looking for a Houston area stylist to help your look come together, we recommend the following wardrobe stylists to help you get of the right track:

Paulina Padilla, Kendra Smith, Emily Elliot, E Caldwell, Amy B Stargel

We hope this has helped to feel more prepared to dress for your headshots! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Stay tuned in the coming months for the next part in our Headshot 101 series: styling/ makeup!

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