What to wear when you don't know what to wear.
Updated: Apr 5
1. WEAR YOUR PERSONALITY
You want your headshots to look genuine and authentic? Wear your personality. Show your personality. Help others see you as you wish to be seen. Don’t wear a suit or a dress unless it fits your personality, your style.
If you are a casual person, dress in a professional casual look. As solid button down shirt or blouse with three quarter or long sleeves is casual yet professional.
If you want to be seen as fun, bright colors or accessories like bow tie, jewelry, scarves or bright shoes can help convey that for you.
If you like to be seen as trendy, go for it. If you would rather look classic, there’s nothing wrong with that either! You don’t have to fit a mold. Be true to yourself and it will show through your images! Honestly, nothing is boring or too loud. People want to know you and see YOU!
Pro Tip: Sometimes being photographed with the right prop, can make a big difference in your portrait. It will get people to know you, to remember you--in a hurry. For example, if you are a musician, bring an instrument. If you are a pet lover, and holding a pet in your portrait fits your persona, bring your furry friend. If you love flashy scarves, flashy jewelry, wear them. It is better to have too many props than not enough.
2. WEAR WHAT WORKS WITH YOUR BRAND
Wearing colors and clothes that work seamlessly with your brand, is a plus. Whether we like it or not, we are our brands. For example, if you are a caterer, you would probably not wear the same clothes as a guitarist. Think of how you want to be perceived and dress accordingly. Steve Jobs of Apple Computer always wore jeans and a black turtleneck. It worked for him. What works for you? Consistency with your brand identity makes it easier for your clients to identify with you.
Think about your brand colors and pick something that either matches or complement those colors.
Is your brand modern, classic, eccentric, casual, vibrant, fun, earthy…..? Match your clothes to your brand message.
3. PLAIN COLORS VS. BIG BOLD PATTERNS
Bold patterns are distracting! The goal of a portrait, any portrait, is to focus the the viewer's eyes on the face and the expression. Big and bold patterns take away from that. They distract from the face. And, they can also make you look wider. Solid colors are more forgiving, more complimentary, and make it easier to slenderize.
Pro Tip #2: Not all patterns are bad. Thin and subtle patterns can work nicely. Do not be afraid to bring more than one outfit. It is always best to bring a variety of looks to the session. We will help select the most flattering.
Pro Tip #3: Wearing clothes the color of your eyes will help your eyes to pop in your portraits.
4. MAKE IT FIT
We all try to cover our flaws behind loose clothing. Pictures, however, are two dimensional. Loose clothing makes one appear wider. Only super skinny models can make over-sized outfits look flattering and chic. For rest of us, it’s best to wear fitted clothes to look both leaner and taller. Don’t we all want to achieve leaner and taller?
Pro Tip #4: Clothes that are too tight create stretch lines in the fabric. Choose a happy medium. A nice slim fit, that lets you breathe easy, is perfect!
Pro Tip #5: If you are stressed or overcome thinking about what to wear, keep in mind, our retouching artist is a wizard at slenderizing and fixing flaws. When in doubt, put on you best outfit(s) and let us do the rest.
5. WEAR WHAT YOU LOVE
Wear what makes you happy! If you feel comfortable and confident, it will translate on camera too. Genuine expressions beat a well put together outfit!
Pro Tip #6: There is an old adage in the portrait photography world: Expression trumps Posing. When you project confidence, approachability and authenticity in your headshots, your clients will see it. They will feel it. It creates connection and likability.
6. NO COLOR IS TOO BRIGHT
Bright colors translate as fun, bold and different!
White doesn’t wash you out if your photographer knows how to light you correctly. In-fact, white is a great color for branding imagery. It’s clean and compelling!
7. RICH, DARK COLORS
Dark colors slenderize your figure, hiding the little extra some of us are blessed with. Choose rich dark tones instead of flat tones without texture, to add the depth.
8. NECK LINES
If you have a short neck, deeper necklines will make your neck appear longer in pictures. V-shaped necklines and scoop necks look good on pretty much everyone, so you can’t go wrong with those.
If you have a long neck, a high neckline — turtleneck, crew neck or boatneck — is your best bet. Higher neckline draws the eye out to your shoulders to make you appear more proportioned.
A v-neck makes one appear less boxy and adds height to the appearance. It complements men/women with rounder and/or wider faces as well.
Looking to minimize your bust? Opt for a square neckline or collars.
Hats, scarves, belts, bow ties, suspenders, etc. can add that surprise element to make your images unique and innovative, showcasing a bold personality. Accessories make you memorable in your own unique way.
So too with jewelry. Season to taste. A little sparkle can go a long way to make a polished look.
Pro Tip #7: Ladies: Though we don't often see the feet in a branding/headshot session, a bright pair of heels with a neutral outfit adds just the right amount of unexpected color, helping you stand out.
10. BRING VARIETY
Sometimes it’s hard to nail the right look that matches your vision perfectly. Bringing a variety of outfits helps us to create a variety of looks and vibes.
Headshots are perfect for social media, website, newsletters, public speaking, business cards, books, brochures...even billboards. Think about all the uses of portraits where a specific look would help set the vibe without saying a word. Having a variety of outfits allows you to have a variety of images for a variety of content.
Hope these tips inspired you to put your outfits together for your photo session.
Drop a comment if this helped ease your nerves about what to wear for your session or if you have any tips for the readers to rock their professional portraits!