What to Wear for Your Professional Portrait

When choosing clothing for your professional portrait: think classic. Pick your favorite suit that fits you well and is preferably a classic dark color like navy blue or gray. Choose a suit that doesn’t bunch up when you button it or if you sit down, and a shirt and tie that match each other and the suit.

Men Yes!

Try to stay away from anything with bold, distracting patterns or colors. Clothing with really tight grids or a small herringbone pattern can have a moire pattern effect on camera, so stay away from tight grid-like patterns. Thin stripes that are a little further apart are okay. Ties look best when their tone lands between the suit and the shirt– so a light shirt, a dark suit, and a tie in a shade somewhere between them. Some ties are too shiny– try to stay away from really reflective, shiny, silk ties.

Men No!

If you don’t wear a tie, choose a non-white shirt if possible: white shirts without a jacket and tie to break them up can lose detail in the color and folds. And if you wear a button-down shirt, it’s best to wear a jacket or sweater of some kind to layer the look. If not, choose a darker color shirt or something with pockets or details to avoid it looking like a head floating on a blank, boxy shirt, and unbutton a button or two. And make sure we can’t see your undershirt beneath the button-down shirt: wear a v-neck or no undershirt at all.

How to Prepare for your Professional Portrait

Prepare for your headshot by taking care of yourself in the days leading up to your headshot session. Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking, and drink plenty of water for a few days and on the day of your headshot. This will make your skin very hydrated to fill in lines and wrinkles, undereye circles, and give you a healthy glow. Get plenty of sleep the night before your photo so you’re rested and ready to go.

Hair: Don’t cut or dye your hair right before the shoot, especially men since stylists tend to cut hair a little shorter so it looks like it’s at its proper length about 2 weeks later. Some shades of freshly colored hair can look too vibrant and unnatural on camera, especially a hair color with any red tones– drawing more attention to your hair than your face. A new haircut also looks its best after at least a week, and colored hair looks more natural after 1-2 weeks’ worth of shampooing.

Teeth: If you want to whiten your teeth before your session, start as early as possible and use a natural whitening method, or have your teeth whitened with your dentist. A quick emergency whitening method that works for many people is to mix some toothpaste with about 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of food-grade hydrogen peroxide, and about 1/2 teaspoon of water. Polish your teeth with this mixture and it should quickly whiten your teeth a shade or two. But don’t use this method more often than once a month – baking soda is abrasive and can wear away at your enamel if used too frequently. (And retouching is always a much safer option!)

Beards: If you have a beard, trim it evenly so it’s nicely groomed. If you’re going clean-shaven, get a good shave before your headshot. Darker colored beards tend to be accentuated in photos- trim it well so it’s not too thick.

And remember to have fun and not take it too seriously! We know that’s a little difficult after all these do’s and don’ts, but we promise to make the experience as relaxing as possible. You got this. 🙂