What to wear for business headshots

Having trouble deciding what to wear for business headshots?

A good business headshot helps you communicate in a nanosecond who you are and what you do.  

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If you’re contemplating updating your photos, here are 5 quick tips on what to wear for business headshots.

Take a few minutes to think about the tone you want to project in your business headshots.  Depending on the culture of your company, you may want to come across as hip, friendly or creative.  Or if you work in professional services, you may prefer to project an air of formality, knowledge and trustworthiness. The location of the photo shoot (in a studio or on location) will also have a bearing on your best camera-ready outfit.

Remember the focus for the business headshot is your face.    Everything – the background, lighting and clothing – should be kept simple to frame your  face. Follow the  KISS principle (keep it simple, sister) and you’ll be fine.

1.  Colour

Plain colours are your best choice.  Patterns or prints distract and date your photo.  Choose mid- tone colours in blue, green, wine and purple because they are universally flattering.  Avoid wearing tops in flesh tones (cream, beige, pastels, peach or yellow) as they will blend your face into your clothes. Unless you’re feeling super confident, pass on bright red or orange. Stark black and white are not good choices either because they play havoc with the camera’s exposure or the studio backdrop.  Substitute black with richer neutrals like chocolate, navy, maroon and forest green. Black is sombre, safe and guarded, not likely the vibe you want to project. A fail-safe tip is to pick a top that accentuates your eyes. That’s why jewel tones work so well.

Kaliko Ruched Crossover Top $23 from www.johnlewis.co.uk; Alexon Cowl Neck Top $78 www.houseoffraser.co.uk; Veronika Maine Cotton Panel Top $99 www.veronikamaine.com.au; Etro Silk Wrap Top $525 www.harrods.com; David Lawerence Side Neck Twist Top $99 www.davidlawerence.com.au

Kaliko Ruched Crossover Top $23 from www.johnlewis.co.uk; Alexon Cowl Neck Top $78 www.houseoffraser.co.uk; Veronika Maine Cotton Panel Top $99 www.veronikamaine.com.au; Etro Silk Wrap Top $525 www.harrods.com; David Lawerence Side Neck Twist Top $99 www.davidlawerence.com.au

2.  Neckline

A modest v-neck is universally flattering because it lengthens the neck and displays the décolleté. Opt for blouses with sleeves.  Fine to medium gauge knits work really well too because they introduce textural interest.   If you choose to wear a jacket, pair it with a collarless top.  This is modern and keeps the neckline simple and sleek. Crisply ironed shirts by themselves frame the face really well.

Vero Moda Navy Blazer $37 from www.welikefashion.com; Stella McCartney Wool Blazer $1110 from www.mytheresa.com; Untold Peplum $38 from www.houseoffraser.co.uk; Waterfall Open Crop Blazer $23 from www.chiarafashion.co.uk

Vero Moda Navy Blazer $37 from www.welikefashion.com; Stella McCartney Wool Blazer $1110 from www.mytheresa.com; Untold Peplum $38 from www.houseoffraser.co.uk; Waterfall Open Crop Blazer $23 from www.chiarafashion.co.uk

3.  Jewellery

In keeping with the KISS principle, choose simple earrings and necklaces.  They keep the focus on the face. Big statement jewellery will date your photos.

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Finesse Pearl Earrings $42 www. johnlewis.com; DKNY Rose Gold Hoops $110 www. harveynichols.com; Regitze Overgaard Earrings $1130 www.georgjensen.com; Lane Bryant Hoops $9 www.lanebryant.com; Juicy Couture Diamond Studs $43 www.juicycouture.com; White and Gold Pearl Hoops $7 www.newlook.com

Finesse Pearl Earrings $42 www. johnlewis.com; DKNY Rose Gold Hoops $110 www. harveynichols.com; Regitze Overgaard Earrings $1130 www.georgjensen.com; Lane Bryant Hoops $9 www.lanebryant.com; Juicy Couture Diamond Studs $43 www.juicycouture.com; White and Gold Pearl Hoops $7 www.newlook.com

4. Pose

When you’re in front of the camera, angles are your friend because they create shadows,  that if used correctly can make you look even slimmer.   Don’t sit face on to the camera.  Turn one shoulder closer to the camera so your body is at an angle.  Here’s my favourite trick to avoid a double chin.  Jut your head forward (a bit like a tortoise) and tip your chin down.  This feels ridiculous, but works because it makes the jawline tighter.

Portrait of a beautiful smiling woman

To tighten your jawline jut your head out slightly and tilt your chin down.

5.  Smile

At the end of the day, the key to a wonderful business headshot is your smile.  It might take you a few moments to relax in front of the camera.  Once you’re comfortable, stare straight down the barrel of the lens and think of someone you love.  That feeling shows up as beautiful smile in your mouth and your eyes. Ready? Say cheese.

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

I hope you found these tips on what to wear for business headshots helpful.  We’re always keen to get your feedback so please let us know what your thoughts and by typing in your comments below.


9 replies on “What to wear for business headshots

  • Cimone-Louise

    I am so appreciative of the timing of this blog.
    I have Headshots on Tue morning & look forward to implementing these fabulous tips.
    Thank you warmly, very well written & a lovely feel Sharon.

  • Sharon Billingham

    You’re very welcome Cimone-Louise. Headshots are an important business investment. They promote you as a person and your brand. Authenticity is key. Relax and enjoy your shoot because that’s when your wonderful personality is captured.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  • Katyberry

    What great advice. I had my first professional photos taken a couple of weeks ago – I was getting group shots for an award nomination and the photographer said that he would take some individual ones if we wanted.

    I was really happy with the outcome to start with, but now it feels really formal, and I am not so sure – I’m more of a relaxed type, so I feel like it doesn’t quite fit with who I actually am.

    But then again, we are always our own harshest critics!

  • Sharon Billingham

    Thanks for taking the time to write in Katy. Yes, we evolve over time…even over a matter of weeks. Sometimes it takes a while to get used to looking at yourself in photos and on video. You’ll have your strongest, most critical reaction initially and then it softens with objectivity over repeated exposure. Try it. Look through 50 photos of yourself and you’ll feel more comfortable with how you look.

    PS. Interesting photo here for your gravatar. Nice boots.

  • Shauna Maguire

    Excellent Advice Sharon, well timed as I’m needing a photo for my new website and I’m not a fan of being in front of the camera – can anyone recommend a reasonably priced photographer in Brisbane for website headshots?

  • Sharon Billingham

    Thanks for the question Katia. I suggest to keep it “natural” and to play up your eyes. We all know that “natural” does take a bit of skill and work though. If you are doing an indoor shot, you may need to use more colour than normal because of the lighting. I suggest asking your photographer if they work with a make up artist and to get a quote for doing your make up prior (this exercise is an investment after all). Or you can do your own make up and take your make up kit with you so you can touch up through out the session.

  • TOD

    Great article, but for universality, please remember that flesh tones also include browns, dark tans and that the eyes of many do not mirror the colors of jewel tones. This approach assumes you are speaking to a very limited segment of the population and is felt immediately by the excluded reader. However, thanks for the information; these are great guidelines!

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