What should I wear to my headshot session?

By December 1, 2018 Hedshot Tips

What should I wear to my headshot session?

Man dressed in blazer with tie

This is probably the most common question I get asked by anyone looking to have a new headshot. Whether you’re a business looking to update your employee corporate headshots, an event planner looking to offer business headshots for Linkedin, an actor looking to update your comp card headshot or just a regular guy or gal looking to up your social media game, my answer to this question is pretty much always the same. Wear what you feel comfortable in.  Okay there’s more to it than this but this is the certainly where we start.

My next thought is about wearing the clothing that best reflects who you are and what you do.  If you’re in need of a corporate headshot, then what would you wear in a business setting. Most times these days men are choosing to go without a tie though it’s certainly easy enough to start with a tie and then remove it.  For women, remember this is less about the patterns of what you’re wearing and more about directing the person searching at your face. If you’re an actor stay away from white.  Comp cards should have contrast. Let me worry about the light on your face to direct the viewer.

Blacks and grey's will always work.  Rich color that will show a nice contrast to a white or grey background will  also look sharp.  Stay away from crazy patterns, frilly collars or anything  that's very sheer.

Finally, always bring additional options.  What you might think looks great might have a terrible neck line when zoomed in and cropped.  If one option is wrinkled or stained, you’ll have the option to switch.  Finally, what looks great to you in every day ambient light might make you look washed out or flat when standing in front of studio lighting.

Headshot Tips


  • Arrive at the studio or on-location with pressed clothing. That means hanging your clothes.  Do NOT ball up your clothes and carry them in a backpack and expect them to look good.  They won’t.
  • Guys, if you’re wearing a dress shirt make sure it’s pressed and crisp. Absolutely be sure you have collar stays included.  As Greg Thomason states, "The shirt collar should be in great condition, and the shirt should be pressed. A tailored or fitted shirt will look best. Bring several shirts."
  • Try to wear something that is tailored or somewhat form-fitting. For guys I buy all my shirts through Proper Cloth. Once you wear custom tailored clothing you’ll never go back to a store-bought item and they’re really not that much more expensive.
  • When in doubt always go with black, white or grey. No question these will almost always look the best.


  • Let’s start w the bling. No jewelry.  What??? That’s right zero.  If you REALLY must wear earrings for example, make them studs.  You want people to look at your eyes and face and not your ears or neckline.
  • I’m all about less is more. I personally don’t think guys should wear ties but if your industry calls for it then by all means bring them along.  Now might be the time to splurge and go buy a new silk tie that’s bright and colorful particularly if you’re wearing a dark grey suit; look for something that matches the color of your eyes.
  • Known for his polished look, NYC based headshot photographer's Joe Loper will also tell you to never show up with wrinkled clothing. Have the tops or suits or shirts dry cleaned or laundered first before coming to your session.  Another option might be to go shop for something you like.  Leave the tags on and if after the session you decide you don’t want the item, return it for a refund.