What to Wear for Your Headshot Session
If you're a professional, you likely realize just how important a first impression is. Nowadays, with most of us making our first impression via the internet using social sites like LinkedIN, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and our own websites, we rely on people getting to know us through the content we share. So, what happens if you have a "headshot" that is clearly cropping someone else out, is ten years old or is simply an image you used to fill the space because it was the best picture you had on hand at the time and you've never changed it? Well, what happens is people make judgements. Now, I'm not condoning judgements and I'm not trying to be ominous, however, I am stressing the importance of using an honest, quality portrait that represents you well - especially on your professional sites.
Since I see many people who know the importance of a good first impression that still have less appealing representations of themselves on their professional medias, I started to dig into why people weren't getting professional headshots done. Here's what I came across most commonly.
1. I don't have the time.
2. My field doesn't require/use professional photos.
3. I don't like having my picture made/am not comfortable in front of the camera
4. Getting my photo made is too stressful.
5. I don't like how I look.
(Scroll down just a little further if you want to skip ahead to our tips on what to wear for your headshot session)
There are easy solutions to these needs that I'd love to help you out with.
Reason # 1 : I Don't have the time.
- Find a local professional that specializes in quick, to-the-point headshots and schedule your portraits on your way to work, on your lunch break, in between meetings or on your way home.
- Many professionals will even travel to you, ask them! (We do)
- Lay out and prepare your outfit(s) no later than the day before your session. Keep them on hand in your car if you have to.
- Check and see if same day appointments are available.
- Make sure the professional has a quick turnaround time and can supply your headshots to you in a fast and efficient way. For instance, we offer a 24 hour turn around and provide your proofs via an online gallery that is sent straight to your email which can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. As soon as you make your selection, we make your portrait available for download, ready to go on-the-spot.
Reason #2 : My field doesn't require/use professional headshots.
- They are few and far between but, there are fields which don't require or have a use for professional headshots. It is nice, however, to have a service option available should your company ever decide to post team and staff biographies on the website.
Reason #3 : I don't like having my picture made.
- (You are not alone!)
- Try finding a photographer who helps you feel comfortable.
- Figure out what it is you don't like about having your photograph made and communicate that with your trusted photographer. They'll help you work through it.
- Pick an outfit(s) you feel good in; something that you feel comfortable and happy in.
- If you're not having your portrait made at a studio, make sure to choose a quiet location with few to no people.
Reason #4 : Getting my photo made is too stressful.
- Find a photographer with good reviews who likes to plan. Discuss your vision with them and let them take some of the planning weight off your shoulders.
- Pick one outfit and stick with it (or) bring your favorite outfits to the studio and let your photographer choose for you.
- Schedule your session on a day where you don't have much going on - whether that means it's your planning day, a weekend morning or when the kids are with the baby sitter, put as many of those balls you're juggling to the side so you can focus.
- Make the process fun! Get excited about choosing and coordinating your outfit, setting aside time to celebrate yourself.
- Be flexible and gracious with yourself.
- Don't wait until the last minute to schedule or prepare for your session.
Reason #5 : I don't like how I look look.
- Find a photographer who helps you feel comfortable
- Communicate the areas with which you're struggling to your photographer. They'll help pose you and finesse you into looking your best.
- We're constantly fluctuating in weight and battling it out with our hair and skin. Here's a secret - it's okay to not be 100% okay with how you look all the time. Keep working on yourself and, in the meantime, I would encourage you to go ahead and have your headshot made. You can always update your headshot when you reach your goal weight. Your photographer can photoshop your skin and their hairstylist can help tame your hair.
- Choose an outfit(s) you love and feel attractive and good in.
- Hire a photographer who includes a hair and makeup stylist with your session or add on their services to your package
- Give yourself a little extra love and a confidence boost before you go in to your session
- Ask for edits or a reshoot if you really don't like portraits (It's okay to ask!)
(STOP SCROLLING HERE IF YOU WERE LOOKING FOR THE TIPS ON WHAT TO WEAR)
You may have noticed several recurring themes throughout our recommendations above. One commonality centered on your wardrobe. Here are our tips for choosing the best wardrobe for your headshot session. The best part about these tips is that you can mix and match these guidelines to create an outfit that is perfectly you!
Choosing the Best Outfits for Your Headshot Session
1. Personality - Be YOU
You want to be seen through your headshot. You want someone to get an idea about who you are, the type of things you like, your personality, your character. Choose and bring a variety outfits that you love and that feel like you. You can always experiment with the sides of your personality and then make your final selection once you see your proofs.
When it comes to picking color, choose outfits which accentuate your eyes while bringing a healthy glow to your skin. Here is a great chart courtesy of domfreechep.us depicting what colors to wear for warm and cool skin tones.
See how each of these ladies chose the perfect shades of red for them?
3. Patterns & Textures
Don't feel like your only option for a great wardrobe choice is solid colors. Have fun and add some extra context using patterns and textures.
Pattern Don'ts :
- High contrast patterns detract from your face
- Patterns with tiny designs, like seersucker or high contrast micro chevron, also distract from your face and create movement in places you wouldn't typically see in person.
Pattern Do's :
- Express your personality
Texture Don't :
- Don't pick a texture that looks ragged and old
- Don't mix too many heavily contrasting textures
Texture Do's :
- Lace and silks are wonderful professional textures for women
- Starched shirts with tightly pressed corners work well for men
- Pick textures which compliment each other. If you're not sure what textures go together, play it safe and choose one statement texture to pair with a more simple piece of clothing.
Notice how this woman on the right chose to wear a higher contrast large print pattern. This pattern adds depth and visual content without taking away from her face. You'll see also that there are subtle pinks and deep yellows in her top, which soften the competing blacks and whites.
As with all other parts of your outfit(s) you'll want to balance your accessories. Whether you're a minimalist, a lover of chunky jewelry or want to incorporate the time of year keep these guidelines in mind.
- With jewelry, either go simple or go all in - whichever fits your brand
- Make sure your jewelry matches the tone of your clothing and gives off the impression you are going for
- Hats and Headwear can be applicable depending on your field
- Scarves, Coats and other seasonal specific items can be great, however, if you're looking to use your headshot year round, we recommend sticking to seasonally neutral attire
Accessories for professional headshots can also include your instrument if you're a musician, your paintbrushes if you're a painter, your skateboard if you're a professional skater or your tablet if you're a professional graphic designer. When you start considering adding in these items to your session, talk with your photographer about branding portraits versus headshots. We'll share our own guidance on that at a later date.
5. Glasses - To Wear or Not to Wear
If you wear them all the time, keep them on - they are a part of how people see you! If you only wear them sometimes, have a few headshots taken with them and then without them. Once you see your proofs, choose which headshot you like best.
When it comes down to it, you are your brand. You are the best representation of you and we hope our tips have helped you narrow down how to achieve a look befitting you for your headshot session.