What to Wear for Your Headshot

"Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are. There's no how-to road map to style. It's about self expression and, above all, attitude." —Iris Apfel

Preparation is key to a Fabulous headshot & Personal Branding Shoot

Great portraits don't just happen. They require discussion of your goals and personal style, and then a plan for what works for you. This includes discussion of your brand, your style, and how to prepare. Preparation include personal grooming, wardrobe care, undergarments, and self-care. 

My first question is always: what do you want people to feel when they see your portraits? If you want folks to feel happy, bright colors and playful outfits work well. If you want to appear professional yet approachable, consider a dress or a suit with a pop of color or fun accessory. There are so many ways to balance being a pro with also being accessible. 

form fitted

Clothing that is tailored to your body creates a sleeker look. The more definition created, the more we’ll see your shape. Blousy, bulky clothing can make you look bigger on camera. If you’re looking to create movement for a more natural, outdoor shoot, flowy clothing is lovely.


Keep things simple. Solids are best while busy graphics and logos can be distracting.

bright colors

I love seeing folks in gorgeous colors. Consider colors that match your eyes, hair color or hues that are complementary to your skin tone.


Scoop, cowl neck, or v-neck are great options. While some my say avoid high neck tops, I do love a good turtle neck sweater. It's classic and a cowl neck gives your hands something to do. (See graphic below for neckline examples).


I highly recommend makeup for head shots. It not only enhances your features and brings pop to your look, it makes you feel great before your shoot. Stay away from shimmery eyeshadows or powders, and foundation that does not match your skin tone. All of my Personal Branding shoots include makeup with a professional makeup artist. 


Come with clean, manicured nails. Hands come into the frame a lot with headshots. Neutral colors, simple buff, or French manicure are recommended.

Self-Care: sleep & hydration

Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated and get plenty of sleep. Both of these activities are important for everyday well-being but especially when you want to look your best in photos. (See below for grooming recommendations.)

eye Glasses that transition

If your glasses transition in sunlight or bright light, or your lenses take on a lot of glare, consider bringing a second pair of glasses or frames without lenses in them. Any additional concerns, please let us know before your shoot.

Clothing Preparation

Make sure clothes are clean and wrinkle-free. Also, pay attention to the way your clothing fits. Bulky clothing can appear rumpled or make you look larger than you are. I often suggest more tailored, fitted pieces for both men and women. Plan to try on your clothes a week prior to your shoot so you know whether things need to be pressed, cleaned, or you need something else that is a better fit or style for you.


  • THINK TEXTURES: Textures like lace and ruching add visual interest without overwhelming. Look for textured tops in solid colors. Avoid patterns as they may detract from your face.
  • SLEEVE LENGTH: 3/4 length and long sleeves are universally flattering and slimming. Sleeveless is great for a more relaxed look or can be paired with layers like a jacket or form-fitting cardigan.
  • JEWELRY THAT SPEAKS YOUR STYLE: Subtle? or bold? You choose.
  • GROOMING: Facial waxing should happen 3-7 days before your shoot. Haircuts and color are recommended a week or more prior to your date. 
  • UNDERGARMENTS: A good fitting bra or shape wear is key. Bras that lay flat and don't pucker are a must for fitted tops and dresses. Look specifically for T-shirt bras or Shaper bras to manage bulge. Shape wear in a couple of colors can also come in handy. 
Want to go more casual? Sweater sets, casual jackets with light tops, or relaxed button-down blouses are great starters. If you want super casual, jeans and a well-fitted t-shirt can work well.

I have a Pinterest page that includes a board for women with lots of ideas for wardrobe preparation.

image source: leadersinheels


  • FOR A SLEEKER LOOK, tailored is best. Look for slim-fit shirts and jackets. Avoid boxy or loose shirts as they will make you look bigger on camera.
  • AVOID PATTERNS: Stay away from patterned shirts and graphics as they may detract from your face. The one exception is ties– print ties are a-ok!
  • A COLLARED, BUTTON UP SHIRT and suit jacket is your best friend. You can’t go wrong with a white shirt and dark, fitted jacket. Go without a tie for a more relaxed look. Add a tie for a more professional look. Choose a suit that doesn’t bunch up when you button it or when you sit down.
  • BRING COORDINATED BOTTOMS: Many shots are 3/4 length. Bring pants or jeans that match your selected shirts; that way if your knee or hip is in the frame, you’ll be stylishly covered.
  • COORDINATED SOCKS AND SHOES: Though we won’t be photographing full length, you’ll still want to bring the right footwear. Sometimes feet come into the frame with cross-legged poses.
  • DISTRACTING SUIT PATTERNS: Clothing with really tight grids or a small herringbone pattern can have a moiré pattern effect on camera so stay away from tight grid-like patterns. Thin stripes that are a little further apart are okay.
  • CONSIDER ACCESSORIES: You may want to do shots with or without glasses. Even holding glasses can create a statement. Bring rings, watches, and cuff links as desired.
Want to go more casual? Polo shirts or just a button-down shirt works. Adding a pull-over sweater or vest is another way to vary up your look.

I have a Pinterest page that includes a vision board for men.