What to wear for a professional headshot session
As a former costume designer in the film industry and now a commercial Portrait Photographer, my clients always ask me about the choice of wardrobe for the shoot. My question in response is what field of work they are in. This is important, since every profession has certain “rules” of apparel.
I would consult a psychologist very different about the wardrobe choice to a lawyer.
For professionals like attorneys, consultants and people working in finance or politics, I usually recommend the wardrobe they would chose when having a meeting with a potential, important new client.
Cooler colors are more professional and give a bit of an edge, which can be softened by an inviting, friendly expression or pose.
Professional women need to keep in mind that they will be standing next to men in suits and as flattering and beautiful a soft blouse is, I strongly recommend a tailored top, either suit jacket or a structured blouse. Jewelry should give a nice accent but should not make a huge statement. A peal necklace is a classic and will add a nice touch.
For men, I recommend to pick the best fitting suit. The fit is more important than the color. Men of a certain age and professional standing look great with accents like a pocket puff or a red tie.
Young men I encourage to wear more modern cut slim suits, if they own one and feel comfortable wearing them. Many companies are excited to employ a younger person to bring some fresh wind and ideas to the position they are hiring for, why not give them also in the picture what they are looking for.
If I am photographing people like psychologists, authors, people working in the IT field or even some real estate agents, I encourage showing personality through the wardrobe. For these professions, the “rules” mentioned above do not necessarily apply. Don’t let the outfit or jewelry outshine you, but if you are a collector of wonderful, big necklaces and wear them every day, wear them for the shoot!
Eyewear is also a question that comes up a lot with my clients. The answer is quite simple- if you wear glasses every day to work, wear them for the shoot. But please keep in mind, that sometimes glasses can have strong reflections, when in a photo studio and exposed to the studio lights. It will take a bit of effort from you and the photographer to work around that during the session.
All in all, it is about you and not your outfit. You are more important and your expression and pose will make or break the picture. And it is up to your photographer (me) to bring that out in you and guide you through the session to make it a success.
Don’t forget to have fun with your shoot! It is just pictures.