Tips for a Great Professional Headshot

Business professionals understand that you don't get a second chance to make a great first impression! Getting a great portrait requires more than just sitting in front of the camera. It's about the relationship between you and your photographer.  

You can work with your photographer to get a great professional headshot by following these guidelines.

  • Get a good night's sleep the day before your session, drink plenty of water, and avoid salty foods and alcohol (reduces dark circles under your eyes.)
  • If your session is late in the day or in the evening, take time to freshen up your appearance.  Men should shave again to diminish the five-o'clock shadow. Choose an approach that minimizes shine on your skin. Even the guys will benefit from a touch of powder!
  • Bring plenty of clothing options to the shoot
  • Wear clothing that fits well - not too tight and not too loose.  Bring clothes that are fresh and wrinkle-free.
  • Darker colors (blue, gray) and mid-tones look good on most people.  Avoid strong patterns, bold stripes, clothing with checks or herringbones, logos, and plain white clothing. Be sure to coordinate your clothing choices with the photographer before the session in order to select colors that will complement the environment or background.  For studio portraits, we tend to choose brown, gray, or white backgrounds since these work well with nearly any color clothing.
  • Any color is great for tops, but remember that bright colors can draw away from your face so pick something muted that matches your eye color and skin tone.
  • Stay away from clothes with busy patterns. Solid colors are best.
  • Avoid black clothes or white clothes, they tend to loose detail in some photographs.
  • Always bring clothes that match your style and personality.
  • Make sure your clothes are clean and neatly pressed. This goes double for collared shirts and suits. The camera picks up a lot more detail than you think.
  • Long-sleeved clothing that creates a v-neckline (like a jacket with shirt underneath) looks flattering.
  • Jeans always look great on camera, unless they are dingy and torn. For headshots your lower half won't make it in to most of the pictures, but don't neglect to pick out some good pants for the shoot.
  • Make sure to dress comfortable but classy. V-neck and U-neck sweaters and shirts are great. Stay away from clothes that are too tight or uncomfortable.
  • Collared button down shirts are great.  a solid color with a crisp-clean white shirt underneath for the men and a stylish solid color for women. All shirts need to be clean and pressed.
  • Keep your accessories simple. Neckties, scarves, and jewelry should not draw attention away from the face.    
  • White or light blue shirt.
  • Simple tie without broad stripes, avoiding bright red.
  • Conservative patterns are ok.
  • Dark suit coat or sports jacket. Small pinstripe is fine.
  • Clean shaven face.
  • Haircut more than one week old. Don't get your hair cut the day before your session. Your hair will look more natural if you get it cut several days in advance.
On the other hand, women may want to have their hair styled the same day. A stylist can be available at the studio for touch-ups to your hair if you like.
  • Dark jacket over a simple silk top or blouse.
  • Avoid bold patterns on jacket or blouse.
  • Or: sweater or top with a simple, conservative neckline. hair style down, not pulled up or back.
  • Simple jewelry, matching earring and necklace are ideal.
  • Earrings no larger than your thumbnail or small hoops.
  • Fresh application of daytime makeup. While keeping it natural, wear a little more than usual. Just like stage lights, studio lights can quickly diminish the appearance of makeup.
Click here to see some Profressional Headshots.