Headshot 101: How to Style Yourself for Headshots

April 7, 2022

We’re back for part 2 of this 3 part series containing everything you need to know for your professional headshot session. This post is all about how to style yourself for your headshot session.

Quick pause to make sure you’ve read part 1, which is What to Wear for Your Headshot.

Ok, now that you’re all up to speed, let’s talk about how to present yourself for your professional headshots. We’ll talk a little bit about all of the elements that play a role in how you present yourself for your headshots, such as the tone you want to portray with your photos, and how your hair, makeup, and wardrobe can look to match that tone.

Quick sidebar before we begin: just like in the last headshot blog post we shared, we are preaching an important disclaimer. If you’re not comfortable with hair, makeup, or wardrobe styling, absolutely hire professional stylists, if you’re able. They can take your headshots from forgettable to polished. That being said, if you’re not in a position to hire professional stylists for your headshot, here are some very simple, basic tips from us to help you level up your game for your headshots.

Pull up a chair and let’s get to it.

How to Style Yourself for Your Headshot Session

Let’s talk about the umbrella decision you have to make right out of the gate that will influence all of your stylistic choices for your headshots: the tone you would like your photos to portray. Something more formal? Maybe more fun? Casual, quirky, approachable, serious, enthusiastic, moody? There are so many directions it could go! Just make sure to choose a direction that is on-brand for you + your business. Once you have the tone of your headshot in mind, it’s easy to choose your styling choices moving forward such as hair, makeup, and wardrobe.

Makeup

Skin tone + appearance
Some people (especially those with a more fair skin tone) occasionally choose a darker shade of foundation than their skin tone. This is a misstep when it comes to photography! When in front of the camera, always match your foundation color to the skin in your chest/ neck area. Don’t be afraid of powder! Setting or finishing powder helps to reduce the appearance of shimmer or oily skin.

Blush
Making sure the application is smooth is key! If you can’t pick a color because you’re unsure of what will look best, a pretty foolproof tip is to pick a shade that works with your skin tone. For example, if your skin is a warmer tone, choose a warmer toned blush that is a touch darker than your skin.

Eyes
Starting with prep, if you plan on getting your eyebrows waxed, make sure you do so at least a couple of days in advance. The downtime before your shoot will give them time to reduce swelling, if need be. When applying eyeshadow and mascara, go a touch darker than you would normally apply. Since the eyes are the focus of a headshot, you don’t want anything too heavy or distracting,

Lips
Generally speaking, people with cooler skin tones look best with cooler shades of lipsticks, such as blues, purple tones, cooler pink tones, and classic reds. People with warmer skin tones will better suit warm shades, such as peaches and orange-toned lipsticks. If your skin tone is neutral, such as with an olive complexion, you can rock both warm and cool colors.

Hair

So many ways this can go! While the actual style is up to you (or your HMU stylist), we’ll touch on some technically helpful hints:

  • use a serum to tame fly aways and frizz
  • don’t use too much hairspray
  • try not to touch your hair once styled, as it will become more oily
  • clean, freshly washed hair looks best in photos. Oily hair more easily divides into strands and lies flat. We want volume!

Styling your wardrobe

We think of this less of a ‘what to wear’ and more of a ‘how to wear it’. Here are our tips for styling the wardrobe you’ll be bringing along to help set the tone of your headshots:

  • make sure your clothes fit perfectly (the tailor is your best friend)
  • depending on the tone you’re going for, choose timeless staples over saturated trends
  • wrap-style shirts and dresses are flattering on all body types
  • artificial fabrics can cheapen a look
  • when in doubt, fall back on the colors that you know you look good in
  • stop worrying about the size on the tag. Clothes are meant to fit your body, not the other way around!
  • when it comes to headshots, less is more
  • don’t try to hide your least favorite features. try highlighting your best features
  • don’t forget to accessorize

Whew. Lots of tips and tricks here and in our first headshot article. That being said, it’s all still just basic rules from us, the non-professional stylists. We still highly recommend hiring a hair and makeup stylist and/ or wardrobe stylist because they’re able to recommend things you wouldn’t even think of, catered specifically to your skin, hair, or body type, complexion, likes and dislikes, and more. Can’t recommend it enough: hire (and trust) the professionals!

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