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What to Wear for your Headshot and Branding Session

Updated: Mar 31

Deciding what to wear for your headshot or personal branding session should be one of the highlights of the experience. If styling & wardrobe isn't your thing, don't panic. Use these tips to help you choose the perfect outfit to convey your personal style & message for your brand.

Choose the Right Colors

Choose colors that complement your hair as well as your complexion. Take color psychology into consideration. What message do you want to convey using color? Not sure which colors look best on you? Follow the graphic below to choose colors that look to best on YOU.

Follow this color chart to choose the perfect color palette for your complexion.

Make Sure It Fits You Well

Your outfit should fit you well. Wearing clothing that fits you well is key to presenting yourself in the best light. Opting for an outfit that complements your body shape not only enhances your appearance but also exudes professionalism and confidence. Avoiding oversized jackets or baggy blouses ensures a polished and put-together look that radiates positivity and professionalism.

Add Layers

To add an extra touch of charm to your headshots, consider layering your clothing instead of relying on patterns or large jewelry. This subtle technique can infuse your photos with personality and depth. Remember to exercise moderation for the perfect balance of style and professionalism.

Keep It Wrinkle-Free

Despite your hectic schedule, prioritizing wrinkle-free clothing for your headshot session is essential. Ensuring your attire is smooth and polished reflects your commitment to presenting yourself in the best possible light, adding a touch of professionalism and confidence to your photos.

Consider Your Niche

Tailoring your outfit to resonate with employers and clients in your field can significantly enhance the impact of your headshots. Consider incorporating elements that reflect your expertise and align with industry standards while also allowing your personality to shine through. For those in creative fields, infuse your outfit with a hint of playfulness that complements your style without overshadowing your authenticity. Striking the right balance ensures your headshots are not only appealing but also authentically representative of your unique brand and identity.

A Clothing Color guide - What to wear for your headshot and branding session

Here are a few pointers on selecting the perfect colors for your headshots and understanding how different shades can influence the overall vibe of your photos.

Start with a Neutral or Solid Color

Choosing a neutral or solid color palette for your outfit sets the stage for a timeless and elegant look in your photos. Embrace shades like white, cream, black, or navy blue to effortlessly complement the frame and create a positive visual impact.

Start with a neutral color as a base for styling each look for your headshot and branding session.

Contrast for Black and White

For black and white headshots, aim for contrasting colors to add depth and definition to your photos. Pairing a white shirt with a black or navy blazer creates a striking visual contrast that enhances the overall impact. Avoid wearing similar shades for both your shirt and jacket, as this might diminish the desired effect in this style of photography.

Keep Color Combos Simple

Embracing layers can elevate the visual appeal of your headshots, offering opportunities to add depth and dimension to your look. When layering, aim for harmonious color combinations that complement each other seamlessly. Ensuring that your colors blend well together will enhance the overall aesthetic of your photos and contribute to a more polished and captivating appearance.

Reduce Light Reflection Using Deeper Colors

Opt for deeper colors when scheduling an outdoor headshot session to maintain vibrancy and avoid appearing washed out due to light reflection. By choosing richer hues, you'll ensure that your photos exude warmth and radiance, capturing your best self in every shot.

Consider Branding

For those headshots destined for your website and marketing materials, it's crucial to align them with your brand's color palette. Look for subtle ways to incorporate these signature colors into your outfit, ensuring that your photos harmonize seamlessly with your brand identity.

Understanding the psychology of colors can help you select the most suitable options for your headshot clothing, ensuring that your outfit complements your personality and goals:

Color psychology chart to help choose the perfect colors to wear for your brand and headshots.
  • White: Represents purity and innocence, offering a clean and fresh aesthetic.

  • Black: Evokes mystery and sophistication, adding depth and intrigue to your look.

  • Orange: Symbolizes optimism and vitality, infusing your photos with warmth and energy.

  • Yellow: Conveys intelligence and joy, bringing a vibrant and uplifting vibe to your images.

  • Red: Signifies passion and dynamism, commanding attention and exuding confidence.

  • Green: Reflects a nurturing and growth-oriented mindset, fostering a sense of balance and harmony.

  • Purple: Inspires creativity and imagination, adding a touch of elegance and individuality.

  • Pink: Radiates playfulness and affection, imparting a soft and inviting charm.

  • Brown: Represents security and reliability, grounding your appearance with a sense of stability.

  • Gold: Symbolizes success and prosperity, lending a touch of luxury and sophistication to your ensemble.

  • Grey: Projects a sense of neutrality and calmness, offering a versatile backdrop for your headshots.

By considering the psychological associations of different colors, you can choose attire that not only flatters your appearance but also resonates with your desired message and image.


Deciding What to Wear

Avoid Too Much Distraction

Opt for solid color tops and blouses along with subtle accessories to keep the focus squarely on your face in your headshots. Avoid patterns, logos, and loud accessories as they may detract attention from your captivating expression. Additionally, opt for tops that are not overly low cut to ensure the spotlight remains on your face, exuding confidence and professionalism in your photos.

Make Sure it Fits You Well

It's crucial to prioritize a well-fitted top or blouse for your headshots, even though the emphasis is on the upper half of your body. Not only does a proper fit enhance your professional appearance, but it also boosts your confidence, which shines through in the photograph. Remember, when you feel comfortable and at ease in your clothing, your confidence radiates, creating a positive and impactful image.

Long Sleeves are Better

Opting for long sleeves in your headshot attire provides cleaner lines and a more polished appearance. Short sleeves can introduce distractions and skin exposure at the edges of the photograph, detracting from the overall focus. Embracing long sleeves ensures a streamlined and professional look, allowing your confidence and personality to take center stage in your headshots.

Avoid Transparent Clothing

Ensure that your top is not transparent in bright light, especially since your photos will be taken in proper lighting conditions. This simple precaution will help you maintain a professional and polished appearance, ensuring that your clothing doesn't distract from your confident and radiant presence in the photographs.

Choose the Right Undergarments

Ensure that your undergarments are not visible by selecting the appropriate attire. Be mindful of straps and potential fabric bumps that could detract from the overall look of your outfit. This attention to detail ensures a seamless and polished appearance, allowing you to feel self-assured and comfortable during your headshot session. Shape wear is also a wonderful option to present smooth and clean lines.

Styling your Hair & Makeup

Go Pro

I recommend professional help. A full session with me includes a professional hair & makeup artist. It is one less thing my clients need to worry about for their photoshoot. It's a great chance to be pampered & relax before your session. In the event you have opted to do your own hair & makeup, I recommend sticking with neutral tones that compliment your complexion. You'll want to use matted makeup, & avoid shimmer and shine as professional lighting tends to catch the highlights on the face in an unflattering way.

Don't Make Big Changes at the Wrong Time

For optimal results, consider scheduling any haircuts or color treatments well in advance of your headshot session. This precautionary measure ensures ample time to adjust to any changes and allows for any unexpected outcomes to be addressed with ease. By planning ahead, you can approach your session with confidence, knowing that your hair will look its best and reflect your true self in the final photos.

Opt for a Natural Style

Your headshot makeup should reflect your comfort and confidence. If you're not accustomed to wearing bold red lipstick, it may be best to choose a more neutral color. Opting for a more natural makeup look ensures that your features shine through without any distractions, allowing your genuine personality to come across in your headshots. However, I am all about experimenting, so in the event you're dying for a photograph of you in your bold red lipstick, let's leave some time towards the end of your session to play with dramatic looks. I've got you!

Choose a hairstyle that not only makes you feel comfortable but also allows others to easily recognize you. Opt for a style that aligns with what you would typically wear to work, ensuring a professional yet authentic look.

Caring for Your Skin

Hydration is Everything

Make sure to keep yourself hydrated in the week leading up to your session to maintain supple and healthy-looking skin.

Book a Facial

Indulge in a refreshing facial a week before your session to enhance hydration and promote radiant skin. Remember, it's best to stick to familiar treatments rather than trying new peels to ensure your skin looks its absolute best for your photoshoot. Ensure you schedule your facial appointment at least a week before your photoshoot to allow your skin ample time to settle and rejuvenate, ensuring you'll be glowing and ready for your session.

Schedule a Wax

To ensure a flawless look in your headshots, it's best to address any facial hair by scheduling a waxing appointment about a week before your session. Avoid waxing the day before your shoot to prevent any potential redness or irritation. This way, you'll achieve a smooth and polished appearance, ready to shine in front of the camera.

Exfoliate and Moisturize

Treat your skin to a gentle exfoliation a few days prior to your session to eliminate any dead skin cells and reveal a fresh, radiant complexion. Additionally, ensure you moisturize your skin twice daily, in addition to any facial treatments you may have, to keep it hydrated and glowing. This routine will leave your skin looking and feeling its absolute best for your photoshoot.

Get Some Sleep

Ensuring you get enough sleep can truly transform your appearance. Not only will you appear more energized, but your makeup artist won't have to conceal any under-eye puffiness. This way, you'll wake up refreshed and ready to shine in front of the camera, with a vibrant and rejuvenated look.

Example Looks for Women

A timeless and classic look for any woman looking to shine through her headshot and branding session.

For a timeless and professional business headshot, you can't beat the classic black blazer. Ensure you select a well-fitted blazer that highlights your body shape, as it will be the cornerstone of this look. Pairing the blazer with simple black trousers and a crisp white blouse completes the ensemble seamlessly. Remember, you have the option to remove the blazer during the photoshoot, providing you with two fantastic looks in one session.

A feminine style for a chic and elegant look with this neutral beige ensemble.

Opting for a skirt and blouse ensemble offers a wonderfully feminine style for those seeking a chic and elegant look. This outfit showcases the beauty of a monochromatic palette, featuring various tones of neutral beige that exude sophistication. Tucking in your blouse emphasizes your waistline, while adding a belt provides extra flair and detail to the ensemble. For a touch of personality, consider accessorizing with a silk scarf to elevate this look with a dash of charm and individuality.

Blazer, blouse, pumps, and trousers for a chic, elegant look.

If you're in a more casual work setting, white is an excellent choice for a relaxed yet stylish vibe. I adore combining a white silk blouse with jeans and nude shoes, creating an effortlessly chic look. Adding a white blazer can instantly elevate this ensemble, making a bold fashion statement while maintaining an approachable and unassuming feel.


Deciding What to Wear

Opt for Solid Colors

Opting for solid colors is a fantastic choice. Not only do they exude professionalism, but they also ensure that the focus remains on you without any distractions.

Think Twice About White

While a white shirt undoubtedly exudes professionalism, it's important to consider that it reflects more light. If you opt for a white shirt, pairing it with something darker can enhance the overall balance of your outfit.

Fitted is Better

Choose attire that fits you impeccably. Baggy, loose clothing can detract from a professional appearance. That's why it's crucial to select and try on your outfits well in advance of your shoot. This gives you the opportunity to tailor your shirt and jacket or explore alternative options, ensuring you look and feel your best on the day of your session.

Undershirts Are Not Recommended

While undershirts are a staple in daily wear, they can be noticeable in photos, particularly under brighter lighting. To ensure a clean and polished look in your headshots, it's advisable to forgo the undershirt.

What to Do With Your Hair

Choose Your Appointment Date Wisely

For the best results, consider scheduling your haircut a few days before your headshot session. This timeframe allows for a more natural look as the lines settle, and provides your hair with the opportunity to recover in case of any unexpected outcomes.

Shave at the Right Time

For optimal results, if you typically shave the hair on your head every few days, consider shaving it a day or two before your session. This ensures a fresh and clean look, enhancing your appearance in your headshots.

Avoid Razor Burn

To maintain a sharp and well-groomed appearance for your session, ensure your face looks neat while also avoiding razor burn. Whether you're opting for a clean shave or simply tidying up your facial hair, using the appropriate shaving cream and moisturizing afterward is essential. This ensures a smooth and comfortable experience, leaving you looking and feeling confident for your headshot session.

Tidy Up Ear and Nose Hair

Don’t forget to trim any nose and ear hair before your session.

Caring for Your Skin

Stay Hydrated

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water daily in the week leading up to your headshot appointment. Your skin will thank you for it!

Shield Your Skin Against the Sun

Prioritize protecting your skin by minimizing sun exposure in the week leading up to your session. If you do need to venture outdoors, don't forget to apply sunscreen to keep your skin looking its best!

Get Some Shut-Eye

Ensure you get plenty of rest, especially the night before your session, to minimize under-eye bags that may show up in your photos. Adequate sleep is key to looking refreshed and vibrant in your headshots.

Example Looks for Men

A sophisticated navy suit with a white collar button down shirt, matching trousers.

Choosing a well-fitting navy suit is an excellent choice for corporate headshots, exuding professionalism and sophistication. For those in conservative industries, this classic look is sure to impress. Remember to accessorize thoughtfully, as these details enhance your overall appearance. Consider pairing your navy suit with brown leather shoes and a belt for a polished and elevated style that exudes confidence and professionalism.

A khaki ensemble with blue button down and brown shoes and belt.

Searching for a contemporary twist on traditional attire? Consider this stylish ensemble: a light khaki blazer with a subtle, barely-there plaid print, paired effortlessly with chinos and a classic chambray shirt. This ensemble exudes a more relaxed vibe, making it an ideal choice for men who prefer a less conservative look in their headshots.

Stylish business casual look with a more modern twist.

Embrace a stylish and versatile option for business casual attire or those in creative industries with this ensemble. The bomber jacket offers a contemporary twist to traditional suiting, ensuring a polished appearance. Pairing the bomber with a sophisticated polo, such as this sweater knit, provides flexibility for your shots, allowing you to opt for a jacket-free look if desired. Complete the outfit with classic white sneakers and a sleek watch for a timeless and effortlessly chic appearance.

Follow these guidelines are sure to result in professional, confident, and impactful photographs that will convey your message and tell your brand story.

If it's time to update your headshots, I'd love to help. Contact me today so we can chat more about how I can help you.

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