If you search for traditional guidelines on what to wear for professional headshots, you will probably find something like the following:
- Dark suit – blue, grey, black, or navy
- Matching pants and blazer
- White dress shirt
- Plain colored tie
- Hair and makeup kept simple and natural
- Avoid busy patterns and excessive accessories
The more casual guidelines of what to wear for professional headshots might recommend choosing colors and patterns that are appropriate for a professional environment, such as muted tones, pastels, and solid colors. Or perhaps a pressed collared shirt, or a blazer, or cardigan. And of course your hair should be styled in a neat and professional manner.
Look, we have nothing against dressing up - particularly for executive headshots or more traditional roles where it’s a strong expectation. But with our increasingly remote and hybrid workforce, we’ve found that while a quality headshot is more important than ever, what you wear for professional headshots is much less important. In fact, standing out and showing your personality can work to your advantage!
We’ve compiled some of (what we think) are the best outfits for professional headshots in these Pinterest boards:
Here are our tips for what to wear for professional headshots:
1. Dress to the company and role you’re in or trying to land. Is it more creative? More traditional? Can you be casual? What you wear for your headshot is an important reflection on your personality and the image you are trying to convey to a potential employer. Whatever outfit you choose for your headshot, it should be clean, wrinkle-free, and not clash heavily with the background or setting you choose.
2. Be yourself. Companies don’t want a bait and switch - they want to know who they’re hiring and there’s nothing wrong with expressing personality. Casual is completely ok, particularly if the company does not have a dress-code, and over-dressing can actually be a negative sometimes.
3. Avoid big logos and overly clashing colors. There is, of course, a reasonable limit to self expression, especially if you’re applying to jobs and need that initial impression to count. If you are taking your headshot outside, you likely want to stick to solid colors or simple patterns. Sticking to more basic solid colors will also make it easier to apply your same headshot to multiple backgrounds depending on where you're using it.
4. Smile! In our opinion after processing tens of thousands of headshots, wearing a smile is the most important thing you can do!
Finally, the most important tip of all: take a quality headshot!
What you wear and how you look don’t matter if your picture is blurry, washed out, low quality, or poorly composed. Fortunately, we have an article about that too. Check out How to Take Good Corporate Headshots to learn more.