Headshot Photography

What to Wear for Headshots: 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid

March 20, 2023 by

In this guide, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about what to wear for a headshot photoshoot.

You’ll want to look your best for your headshot as it is used for many things, from profile pictures on social media sites to professional business sites. With that being said, there’s some don’ts you’ll want to avoid when it comes to picking an outfit on the day of your headshot photoshoot.

We’ll be covering the following topics:

Table of Contents

What Should You Wear for Professional Headshots?

In general, you want to wear something that makes you look your best.

That usually means wearing a form-fitting dark solid color, and avoiding anything too trendy or “in.”

actor headshot example

What Should You Wear for Business Headshots?

Business headshots are usually taken in a studio, so the outfit you choose doesn’t have to be anything formal.

However, it’s generally best to wear something professional and conservative for business headshots. That means keeping your clothing well-fitting without any frills or unnecessary accessories.

If it’s for your job or company, then we recommend wearing something that you would wear if you had an important meeting in your place of work — if that’s a suit, then wear a suit, if it’s a collared shirt and tie, then wear that.

lawyer headshot outfit

What Should Men Wear for Headshots?

For men: Solid colored button downs and dress shirts tend to work well.

Avoid patterns and loud colors. Try not to look too casual by wearing jeans and sneakers, or too formal by wearing a suit.

What Should Women Wear for Headshots?

For women: For standard professional headshots, avoid distracting patterns, busy prints, and bold colors.

Save the bright red lipstick for glamour shots unless you are specifically shooting for that look--it’s too severe in most headshot situations (but some photographers like it).

When in doubt about an article of clothing, it’s always best to ask a photographer or a stylist.

What Should Teenage Males Wear for Headshots?

For teenage males: Any conservative casual clothing is fine for studio headshots--just no baggy t-shirts, jerseys, or ripped jeans.

Think more about what you’d wear to school than what you’d wear on a Friday night out.

What Should Teenage Females Wear for Headshots?

For teenage females: If your business headshot is for a teen-oriented publication or website, then you may want to think about wearing something from the current fashion trends — but for most other teenage girls, especially those trying to break into modeling, it’s best to stick with a more conservative and professional look: sleeves and collars.

What Should Kids Wear for Headshots?

For kids: For toddlers and babies, keep it simple and comfortable. You want your child to look relaxed and happy in their portrait, not like they’re headed off to a job interview.

What is the Best Color to Wear for Headshots?

Pretty much any color looks great, as long as it’s not too distracting. Black is a flattering option for everyone.

Other good options are dark gray and navy blue. Avoid clothing that doesn’t match or clashes with your skin tone.

author headshot example
stick with neutral colors

What Not to Wear for Headshots

There are certain things that will make you look like you don’t belong in an office, even if you do. These include:

1. Anything Too Casual

Anything with violent patterns, ragged hoodies with holes, beanies, hats, t-shirts with slogans or logos (can detract from focus on your face), etc.

If it’s a casual headshot you are going for this is fine, but you have to remember that your headshot will usually go on professional sites where you want to represent your personal brand professionally.

2. Mismatching

Mismatching patterns or colors with your skin tone and with the background can make a headshot unappealing visually.

headshot background mismatch
subject and background mismatch

3. Anything Too Revealing

Anything too revealing or tight might create the wrong impressions in your headshot. As remembered, keep it professional. Even if it is a “casual headshot,” there is still some sort of professionality that you should maintain.

To further explore the subject of what to wear for your headshots, we also recommend checking out this video by Scott Lawrence:

Final Thoughts

As long as you wear something that looks good on you and makes you feel comfortable, then you’re wearing the right thing!

The most important things to avoid are t-shirts with logos or slogans, hoodies, and torn or revealing clothing. Solid colors are always preferable to busy patterns.

This guide is also a part of our Headshot Photography Tips Hub, so be sure to check that out for further headshot photography tips and insights.