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What to Wear for Professional Headshots? [Updated 2024]

So, you have finally landed that big interview, or are building a network online. And you know it's time to update your professional headshot. But what will you wear for it? What kind of colors should you choose? Find out everything in this article.

In today's hyper-connected world, where digital first impressions are often as important as face-to-face meetings, your professional headshot carries significant weight. It's your initial point of contact. It shows your professionalism, personality, and attention to detail before you even utter a word.

Imagine this: You've finally landed that big interview or secured a meeting with a major client. You walk in, confident and poised, dressed to impress. Your attire not only reflects your professionalism but also showcases your attention to detail and respect for the occasion. This is the power of dressing right for success, especially when it comes to professional headshots.

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn about the art of dressing for professional headshots. From selecting the perfect ensemble to understanding the impact of colour and style, we'll equip you with the knowledge to make a lasting impression. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the game, these tips will ensure you're dressed for success in your professional headshots. 

Don't miss the special section with bonus tips at the end of the article!

9 Tips on What to Wear for Professional Headshots

Tip 1: Choose the Perfect Clothes

How to choose clothes for your perfect professional headshot
  • Dress According to Your Industry Standards: Follow the dress code norms of your industry. For formal industries, opt for a suit and tie (men) or a tailored suit (women). For more casual industries, business casual attire may be more suitable.


Clothing Options for Men

Clothing Options for Women


A well-fitted suit in navy blue, charcoal grey, or black is a great option. You can pair it with a crisp white dress shirt and a conservative tie.

A tailored suit with a skirt or trousers in navy blue, charcoal grey, or black is a good choice. You can pair it with a blouse.                                                    

Business Casual

You can go with a dress shirt with trousers or chinos. Consider pairing it with a blazer or sweater. You can skip the tie in this setting.

A blouse or sweater paired with trousers or a skirt. Consider adding a blazer for a more polished look.


A collared shirt or polo shirt with trousers or chinos. Consider adding a sweater or casual blazer for a slightly dressier look.

A blouse or top paired with trousers or a skirt. Add a cardigan or casual blazer for extra style.

  • Well-Fitted Attire: Make sure that your clothes fit you well. Avoid clothes that are too tight or loose, as they can look unprofessional in photos.

  • Longer Sleeves and Higher Necklines: Longer sleeves can help create a more balanced look in your headshots. Higher necklines can draw attention to your face. They can also help hide any imperfections or tattoos that you may not want to show in your photos.

  • Clean and Ironed Clothes: Make sure your clothes are clean, pressed, and wrinkle-free. Wrinkled clothes can detract from the overall look of your headshots. Also, choose lint-free clothing to avoid distractions in your headshots.

  • Right Fabric: Choose fabrics that are not too shiny or reflective, as they can cause glare in photos. Matte fabrics tend to photograph well and are a safe choice. Some examples of matte fabrics include cotton, wool, and some types of polyester. 

  • Comfort: Choose clothing that you feel comfortable and confident in. Especially, if your professional headshot session will be lengthy. Comfortable clothing can help you feel more relaxed and confident. Your comfort will translate into a more relaxed and natural-looking headshot. 

Tip 2: Choose Colours That Work Best for You

A lady standing for a professional headshot wearing warm tone clothes

Select the right colours for your professional headshots. They can enhance your overall appearance and help you make a positive impression. 

Consider Your Skin Tone

  • Warm Tones: If you have warm undertones in your skin (yellow, peach, or golden hues), consider wearing colours like earth tones, warm blues, and greens. These colours can complement your skin tone and create a harmonious look.

  • Cool Tones: If you have cool undertones in your skin (pink, red, or blue hues), opt for colours like jewel tones, cool blues, and purples. These colours can enhance your natural colouring and make your skin appear more vibrant.

  • Harmonious Colors: Opt for colours that are harmonious with your skin tone. Colours that are too similar to your skin tone can make you appear washed out. Whereas colours that are too contrasting can be harsh.

Consider Background

  • Contrast: Consider how your outfit will contrast with the background of your headshots. You want to ensure that you stand out without clashing with the background. If you're unsure, neutral colours are a safe choice.

Choose Solids

  • Avoid Patterns: Patterns can be distracting in photos. It's best to stick to solid colours, especially for tops, to ensure a clean and professional look.

  • Texture: If you prefer to add some visual interest, consider using textures instead of patterns. Textured fabrics can add depth to your outfit without being overwhelming.

Avoid Overly Bright Colours

  • Neutrals: Neutral colours like black, navy blue, grey, and white are safe choices. They work well for professional headshots. They can help you stand out without being distracting.

  • Avoid Neon Colors: Neon colours can be too bright and distracting in photos. It's best to stick to more muted tones for a professional look for your headshots.

Consider Your Industry and Message

  • Conservative Industries: For conservative industries, you should stick to classic colours. You can go with colours like black, navy blue, and grey. These colours convey professionalism and are unlikely to be seen as overly flashy.

  • Creative Industries: If you work in a creative industry, you may be able to experiment. Here, you may have more leeway to experiment with colours. However, it's still important to choose colours that complement your skin tone and convey the right message.

  • Distinctive Colors: Avoid wearing colour combinations that are commonly associated with other professions. For example, a black and white outfit might be typical for waitstaff. So, it's best to avoid this combination to avoid any misinterpretations.

Ultimately, the best colours to wear for your professional headshots are ones that make you feel confident. You should always feel comfortable in what you wear. If you have a favourite colour that you feel great in, don't be afraid to incorporate it into your outfit.

Tip 3: Dress Like Your Boss

A man standing in an outdoor setting posing for his professional headshot

When it comes to dressing for professional headshots, it's important to consider the norms and expectations of your industry. The way you dress can convey a lot about your professionalism and how seriously you take your work.

Understanding the dress code in your workplace is essential for professional headshots. The attire that's considered appropriate can vary widely by industry. For example, lawyers and doctors are generally expected to dress more formally. Whereas those in technical or creative roles might find a suit and tie to be too formal.

One helpful tip is to take cues from your boss or other industry leaders you admire. Observing how they dress can give you a good idea of what's considered appropriate in your field.  These individuals often serve as role models for professional behaviour. They can provide valuable insights into how to dress appropriately in your workplace.

By dressing like your boss, you are showing respect for their position. You show that you understand and adhere to the professional standards of your industry. This can help you make a positive impression in your headshots and convey a sense of confidence and authority.

Tip 4: Consider Layering

Layering can add depth and visual interest to your professional headshots. 

For Men:

  • Blazer or Suit Jacket: Adding a blazer or suit jacket can instantly elevate your look. It can add a touch of sophistication. Choose a well-fitted jacket in a neutral colour for a classic and polished appearance.

  • Vest: A vest can be a stylish addition to your outfit. Especially, if you want to add some extra warmth without wearing a jacket. Opt for a vest that complements your shirt and trousers for a cohesive look.

  • Sweater: A sweater can be a great layering piece, especially in cooler weather. Choose a lightweight sweater in a solid colour or subtle pattern to add texture to your outfit.

For Women:

How to accessorize for your professional headshot photo: A lady accessorizing her scarf for a photo
  • Blazer or Cardigan: A tailored blazer or a stylish cardigan can add a polished touch to your outfit. Choose a blazer that fits well and flatters your figure. Opt for a cardigan with interesting details or textures.

  • Scarf: A scarf can add a pop of colour and texture to your outfit. Choose a scarf that complements your outfit and enhances your overall look.

When layering, it's important to maintain balance in your outfit. Avoid adding too many layers or bulky items that can overwhelm your frame. Make sure that each layer fits well and flatters your body shape. Ill-fitting layers can look sloppy and detract from your overall appearance.

You can use layering to create a stylish and professional look for your headshots. Follow these tips to add depth and visual interest to your outfit.

Tip 5: Opt for Tailored Clothing 

Choosing tailored clothing for your professional headshots can significantly enhance your appearance. 

Tailored clothing may be more expensive than ready-made options. But, it is often worth the investment for the superior fit and quality. If you already own clothing that is not tailored, consider taking it to a tailor for alterations. A few simple alterations can make a big difference in how your clothes fit and look.

Tailored outfits can provide you:

  • Exceptional Fitting: Tailored clothing is designed to fit your body perfectly. It enhances your silhouette and flatters your figure. It gives you a sleek, polished and put-together look.

  • Comfort: Custom-made clothing is often more comfortable to wear than off-the-rack options. These clothes are designed to your specific measurements.

  • Confidence: Wearing well-fitted clothing can boost your confidence. They can make you feel more self-assured in front of the camera.

Tip 6: Accessorise Thoughtfully

Accessorising can enhance your professional headshots, but it's important to do so thoughtfully. 

For Men:

Using a tie for a professional photoshoot: A man wearing a complimenting red tie with a black suit
  • Tie: A tie can add a pop of colour and personality to your outfit. Choose a tie that compliments your shirt and suit. Avoid overly bold or distracting patterns.

  • Watch: A stylish watch can convey professionalism and attention to detail. Opt for a classic design that compliments your outfit.

  • Pocket Square: If you're wearing a suit, a pocket square can add a touch of elegance. Choose a pocket square in a subtle pattern or colour that complements your tie.

For Women:

  • Jewellery: Choose simple and understated jewellery that complements your outfit. A classic necklace, bracelet, or earrings can add a touch of sophistication without being overpowering.

  • Scarf: A scarf can add colour and texture to your outfit. Choose a scarf in a lightweight fabric and a subtle pattern or colour.

  • Hair Accessories: If you wear your hair up, consider adding a simple hair accessory like a clip or headband. Avoid accessories that are too large or flashy, as they can distract from your face.

General Tips:

  • Less is More: Avoid wearing too many accessories. They can overwhelm your outfit and detract from your face. Choose one or two key accessories to enhance your look.

  • Match Your Metals: If you're wearing metal accessories, such as a watch or jewellery, try to match the metals for a cohesive look.

  • Consider Your Industry: Keep your industry in mind when choosing accessories. For more conservative industries, stick to classic and understated accessories. For creative industries, you may have more flexibility to experiment with bolder accessories.

Tip 7: Go with Subtle Makeup

Using subtle neutral makeup that looks natural makes your headshot more credible

Wearing makeup for your professional headshots can help enhance your features and give you a polished look. 

  • Foundation: Choose a foundation that matches your skin tone and provides a natural finish. Avoid foundations with a high SPF, as they can cause flashbacks in photos.

  • Concealer: Use concealer to cover any blemishes or dark circles under your eyes. Blend well for a seamless finish.

  • Eyes: Opt for neutral eyeshadow shades that complement your skin tone. Avoid shimmery or glittery eyeshadows, as they can be distracting in photos. Use eyeliner and mascara to define your eyes, but keep the lines clean and subtle.

  • Brows: Fill in your eyebrows to define your face. Use a brow pencil or powder that matches your natural hair colour, and blends well for a natural look.

  • Cheeks: Choose a blush colour that complements your skin tone. Apply it to the apples of your cheeks for a natural flush. Avoid overly bright or shimmery blushes, as they can look unnatural in photos.

  • Lips: Opt for a lipstick or lip gloss in a natural shade that complements your skin tone. Avoid too bold or dark colours, as they can be distracting. Use a lip liner to define your lips and prevent feathering.

  • Setting: Set your makeup with a translucent powder to help it last longer and reduce shine. Avoid using too much powder, as it can look cakey in photos.

The key to makeup for professional headshots is to keep it subtle and natural. Your makeup should enhance your features without being too noticeable. Take a few test photos before your session to ensure that your makeup looks good on camera.

Tip 8: Groom Yourself and Rest Well

In addition to choosing the right outfit and accessories, grooming and rest are also crucial for your professional headshots. 


  • Trim and Style: Make sure your hair is well-groomed and styled. A fresh haircut or trim can make a big difference. Choose a hairstyle that complements your face shape and is easy to maintain.

  • Avoid Drastic Changes: Avoid making drastic changes to your hair right before your headshot session. Stick to a hairstyle that you're comfortable with and that reflects your professional image.

Facial Hair:

  • Beard and Mustache: If you have facial hair, make sure it is neatly trimmed and groomed. Consider visiting a barber or stylist for a professional touch.

  • Clean-Shaven: If you prefer a clean-shaven look, make sure to shave closely before your session to avoid any stubble.

Skin Care:

Ensure you are well-rested and well-groomed for a professional photoshoot
  • Moisturise: Keep your skin well-moisturised to ensure a healthy glow. Avoid heavy moisturisers that can make your skin look greasy.

  • Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure: Sunburns or tan lines can be distracting in photos. Try to avoid excessive sun exposure before your session.


  • Get Adequate Sleep: Ensure you get enough rest the night before your headshot session. Lack of sleep can lead to puffy eyes and a tired appearance.

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your skin looking fresh and hydrated. Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine, as they can dehydrate your skin.

  • Relax: Try to relax and destress before your session. A calm and relaxed demeanour will translate into a confident and approachable look in your photos.

Take the time to groom yourself and stay hydrated. Get adequate rest before your professional headshot session. It can make a significant difference in how you look and feel. A well-groomed appearance, hydrated skin, and a rested complexion will ensure that you look fresh, confident, and professional in your headshots.

Tip 9: Wear Non-Glare Glasses

If you wear glasses, choosing the right pair for your professional headshots is essential. Wearing the right glasses can enhance your professional headshots and help you make a positive impression.

  • Non-Glare Lenses: Opt for lenses with an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare and reflections. This will ensure that your eyes are clearly visible in your photos.

  • Frame Selection: Choose frames that complement your face shape and skin tone. Avoid frames that are too bold or distracting, as they can take away from your face.

  • Cleanliness: Make sure your glasses are clean and free of smudges before your headshot session. Dirty glasses can be distracting and take away from the overall quality of your photos.

  • Fit: Make sure that your glasses fit properly and are adjusted correctly. Ill-fitting glasses can be uncomfortable and can affect the way you look in your headshots.

  • Alternatives: If you're concerned about glare or reflections, consider wearing contact lenses for your headshot session. This can help ensure that your eyes are clearly visible in your photos.

Bonus Tip: What Should You Avoid?

While choosing the right outfit and accessories is important for your professional headshots, there are some things you should avoid to ensure you look your best. 

  • Overly Trendy Outfits: While it's important to look stylish, avoid wearing outfits that are overly trendy. Also, avoid clothing with large logos. These can quickly date your headshots and may not convey the professional image you're aiming for. Stick to classic styles that are timeless and flattering.

  • Loud Patterns: Avoid wearing clothing with loud or distracting patterns, as these can take the focus away from your face. Opt for solid colours or subtle patterns that complement your skin tone and overall look.

  • Gaudy and Shiny Clothes: Avoid wearing clothing that is extremely gaudy or shiny, as these can be distracting in photos. Opt for matte fabrics that photograph well and create a more polished look.

  • Old and Wornout Clothes: Make sure your clothing is clean, well-maintained, and free of wrinkles. Avoid wearing old or worn-out clothes, as they can give off a sloppy and unprofessional appearance.

  • Ill-Fitting Clothing: Make sure your clothing fits well and flatters your body shape. Ill-fitting clothing can look sloppy and unprofessional in photos. Consider getting your clothing tailored for the best fit.

  • Too Much Jewelry: While accessories can enhance your outfit, avoid wearing too much jewellery, as it can be distracting. Stick to one or two key pieces that complement your outfit and look.

  • Heavy Makeup: While makeup can enhance your features, avoid wearing heavy or overly dramatic makeup for your headshots. Opt for a natural look that improves your features without looking too heavy or unnatural.

  • Wrinkled Clothing: Make sure your clothing is clean and wrinkle-free for your headshot session. Wrinkled clothing can look unprofessional and can detract from your overall appearance.

  • Inappropriate Clothing: Avoid wearing clothing that is too casual or revealing for your professional headshots. Choose outfits that are appropriate for your industry and convey a professional image.

  • Combinations Typical for Other Professions: Avoid wearing outfits that are commonly associated with other professions. For example, the combination of black trousers and a white shirt may resemble a waitstaff uniform. This may not be suitable for a professional headshot in a different industry.