Believe it or not, we once had a client show up to a photoshoot with a ripped, dirty t-shirt and stained jeans.
But the craziest part? He was scheduled for a 3-hour, multi-look headshot session with us, and that was the only outfit he brought.
We had to get really creative.
A few months later, an actor showed up wearing a full tux and red bowtie, thinking he needed to dress up "a bit" for his headshots.
Yes, that's also a true story.
Because of crazy situations like that, we decided to put together this in-depth guide on what to wear for a headshot so no one would ever show up to a shoot again with the wrong headshot outfits!
By the end of this guide, you'll know exactly what to wear for headshots... and what NOT to wear for headshots.
We'll discuss color combinations, clothing styles, and even jewelry & accessories for headshots.
This article is for both men and women, and we'll talk about LinkedIn portraits, actor & modeling headshots, and online dating photos.
Ready to get started?
Prepare Your Clothing in Advance
We've had clients needing to reschedule because there was a delay at the dry cleaner, and we've had others show up with wrinkled clothing.
Be sure your clothes are neatly pressed, clean, and lint-free. And if your photographer doesn't carry them, you can bring a lint roller and steamer to your shoot.
Finally, if you're going to wear a tie and are unsure of how to tie it properly, watch a YouTube video and tie it ahead of time. During the shoot you can just slip it over your head and tighten it. Some photographers don't know how to tie ties, so you should prepare just in case.
Video: What to Wear for Your Headshot Session
Part 4: What Colors to Wear for Headshots
Wear What You Love
Don't wear colors you don't like just because you think they'll look good on-camera or because someone told you to.
Bring Different Variations of Each Color
For instance, if you love blue, bring a light blue, dark blue, and really dark, navy blue. Then, based on where you're shooting and the background and lighting in the image, certain versions of that color might work better than others.
Rich, Deep Colors Pop on Camera
Sometimes lighting can be too bright on certain colors, making them look completely white in certain places.
A bright yellow might overexpose and appear white, whereas a dark, forest green would look great because the amount of light reflecting from it is less.
If you really want to wear a pale color, we recommend wearing a jacket or other darker layer over the pale color.
Wear Complimentary Colors When Layering
Intense color combinations can be distracting, so you should keep your combinations simple.
Make sure the color combinations you wear are made of solid-colored pieces layered over one-another. Layers can add more interest and make you look more dynamic and visually appealing.
And if you're wondering whether to do your headshot with a jacket on or off, we almost always recommend keeping it on... but if your photographer is open to it, ask to do a few of each!
For a more in-depth guide on matching clothes and coordinating, you might want to read this article (primarily written for men): How I Stay Coordinated With No Sense of Style
Color Combinations That Work Well
Pairs well with light green, pink, dark brown, and purple.
Pairs well with dark blue, red, light blue, and black.
Pairs well with dark blue, dark purple, dark green, and black.
Pairs well with dark green, dark red, peach, and dark blue.
Pairs well with dark green, pale green, white, and dark red.
Pairs well with dark blue, red, pale purple, and pale green.
Pairs well with gray, blue, red, and black.
Use Color Meanings to Send the Right Message
Your complexion, hair color, backdrop, and even the feeling you want to give off in your headshot should all be taken into consideration.
Therefore, I think it's important to bring up one last (but extremely important) element to color:
Some colors can unconsciously send the wrong message to people if they're worn the wrong way.
For example, a large amount of green can signify harmony and stability, but a small amount of green can actually make you come across as jealous or inexperienced.
Why do we interpret green like that?
Well, evolutionarily, we learned that lots of green meant grass & woods, or a safe place. But small amounts of green tell us a fruit is not ripe yet, meaning we should avoid it.
Since color meanings are beyond the scope of this article, we've created a guide that explains not only what each color says to the viewer, but also how the meaning changes based on where the color appears in the image - as an inner layer, outer layer, or even as the backdrop.
Knowing this info will make it easy for you to figure out what to wear in your headshots and what backdrop(s) to request from your photographer (and which to avoid).
We're happy to email you the guide for free as a thanks for reading this article.
Just click the button below so we know where to send it:
We Hope You Enjoyed this Article!
Remember, the first step is to ensure you're clear the goals for your headshot. See what others are wearing so your outfit doesn't look out of place.
Then choose colors and combinations that work well and look great on camera.
But most of all, wear what you love and have fun in your shoot, and we wish you the best of luck with whatever photographer you work with!
If you have any questions, leave a comment below and we'll get back to you within a few hours.
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