What to Wear for a Headshot Photograph?

The way you choose to dress can convey a lot about your personality. This is why you should think carefully when selecting an outfit for your headshot. Headshots serve multiple purposes. They can either be for your business-related needs, your new job hunt, an acting-related gig, or a hundred other things. Once you’ve decided headshot photography is the right choice, the next question arises: what should you wear for your headshots?

The general rule of thumb is to go with what you love and feel comfortable in. If you’re not comfortable in your clothes, it will reflect in your photographs. So choose comfort first.

Usually, people get overwhelmed thinking about what to wear for their upcoming headshots. However, it is not as complicated as it seems. Just remember that most people will first see your headshots before they meet you in person. So try to create a look that appears confident and portrays a glance into your personality. Following are some useful tips on what to wear.

Well-Fitted Clothing

Choose clothes that are not too baggy or too tight. Baggy clothes might feel comfortable but they don’t look very attractive in headshots. Baggy sweaters can even make you look a bit overweight. They don’t particularly show the way you look in real life. This is why you want to select clothes that are fit for your physique so that you are comfortable posing for the shot. 

Choosing too tight clothes to wear is not a particularly good choice for your headshot either. They often make you uncomfortable and that reflects on your photographs. Therefore, you should choose clothes that fit your body. A well-fitted suit looks a lot neater and cleaner than a baggier one.

Avoid Cloths with Patterns

Although patterns and stripes add more vividness and personality to your everyday wear, it is not a very good choice for your headshots. Patterns and stripes are very distracting in a photograph. They turn away the attention from the actual subject… YOU!

Some patterns and stripes create moiré in the photographs. (*Moiré occurs in a photograph when a scene, an object or a fabric being photographed contains repetitive details (dots, lines, checks, stripes) that exceed the sensor resolution. The camera produces a strange-looking wavy pattern that is very distracting and not what you want from a corporate headshot.) They create some sort of illusion. This is why it is better to wear clothing with a solid color. The key here is to drive attention upon you and not on your clothes.

Comfort First

When choosing what to wear during a headshot be mindful of comfort. Don’t choose an outfit for your headshot that you otherwise don’t like wearing. Comfortable attire will not only look good on camera but will also help you settle into a comfortable pose for your headshot.

A comfortable outfit does not mean that you wear baggy clothes. It means that whatever you wear does not nag you. To appear more comfortable in your skin try choosing attire that you love to wear. Just make sure that it is neat and clean. 

What matters at the end of the day is how happy and relaxed you look, radiating confidence in your portraits.


Layering is a great choice for your headshots to create different looks. You can wear light colors under a more vibrant blazer. A Sports coat is another great option to consider. You can add a scarf and/or other accessories according to the season.

While layering is a great option, keep in mind to create a balance. Too much layering can make you appear bullkier.

Accessorize Moderately

While choosing accessories and jewelry for your headshots, keep in mind that it should not distract the focus from your face. While most headshots are cropped, it is important to use the right makeup and hairstyle. Jewelry should only be there for a finishing touch. Simple pieces are ideal. Avoid wearing large dangling earrings that can pull attention away from your face. Wearing simple smaller dangling earrings or studs is an ideal choice. They look elegant and don’t draw the attention away from your beautiful smile.

No Wrinkled or Worn-Out Clothes 

Make sure that your clothing choices for photo day are neat, clean, and ironed out.

Clothes with wrinkles appear very bad in headshot portraits. They make the overall feel of a headshot appear careless. It is why you should give extra care to your clothes while pressing them.

Another thing to avoid is wearing old and worn-out clothes. Most people, including you, will gravitate to clothing pieces that are your favorite and, naturally, you want to wear them again and again. However, with time nicest clothes are also worn out. Bright colors fade and the dress shows a sign of wear. The camera can easily capture such details so make sure you are wearing fresher pieces that do not show any signs of wear and tear. 

Consider Solid Colors

Choosing a solid color will always look graceful for your headshots. Try using different kinds of colors for your headshots. Dark colors can make you appear strong and powerful. Light colors show you as a more approachable person. Choice of color is very important.

Bringing Multiple Outfits

If you are still finding it hard to choose the best outfit for your headshot, try having your headshots taken in different outfits. Sometimes, a clothing piece might look great in the mirror but it doesn’t look that good on the camera under different light conditions. This is why bringing multiple outfits could prove to be a good decision. Consider asking your photographer for their opinion on how many options you should bring.

Another thing to consider in this regard is the reason(s) for your headshots. Some people like entrepreneurs, marketing, and salespeople may need a more polished professional look than an artist, maker, or actor/actress who is looking for a more creative touch. And the reason(s) for your headshots may lend itself to one outfit or multiple outfits. Different looks will portray you differently, so the right outfit(s) are important to communicating yourself properly.


So, the crux of it all is the amount of comfort you feel in a particular outfit will ultimately lead to an attractive outlook of your headshot. Wear some well-fitted and nice looking clothes, preferably with solid colors, accessorize moderately, put on a happy face… and “CLICK”, you are ready for your headshots!


Michael Ross is a team member of CITY LOCAL 101, a US Free Business Directory.
EMAIL: info@citylocal101.com

Guest Blog Post by Michael Ross of CITY LOCAL 101 for Kelly Heck Photography