What to Wear for Your Portrait Session – Branding Yourself
A professional headshot should be so much more than just a quick snap; whether you like it or not, it speaks volumes. So once you’ve booked your portrait session, the next thing is to give some thought to what you’ll wear. Your choice of outfit can make all the difference between creating a memorable or a negative impression.
Of course, what you wear will depend in part on the type of portrait that’s being taken. Here are some examples of the different ones I take for my clients, and some helpful tips on what works well in each instance.
If you work for an organisation, your portrait needs to reflect your company’s brand and values. When a client books me to take their business headshots, I’ll find out as much about them and their business as possible, and also how they want to use their images – on their website, LinkedIn, social media etc.
Business attire will usually mean a jacket or suit, although for men it may also be appropriate to have a few shots taken without a jacket, to give a less formal option.
For women, I also think a jacket works really well as it gives structure and shape. Try to avoid just wearing lots of black or navy though – it can give a rather austere impression; go for a pop of colour or some contrast instead – you won’t look any less professional! Read this post about how you can incorporate colour into your corporate wardrobe without going overboard – https://blog.annasaverimuttu.co.uk/what-colours-your-work-wardrobe-dressing-for-success/
And don’t forget that even if you don’t usually wear makeup, it’s highly recommended that you do for your photos; just a light foundation or tinted moisturiser, translucent powder, blusher, some mascara and a natural-looking lipstick can really help create a polished look; and if your photographer is using lighting, bear in mind that the lights will soak up a lot of colour too.
The Entrepreneur – Maybe you’re a web designer, a consultant/coach, a cafe or restaurant owner or a florist. In that case, a formal suit might not be your first choice of outfit. Working for yourself means you really are your brand. I would suggest choosing something more relaxed that reflects your business but still makes you look “business-like”. A lot of my portraits for self-employed business-people are taken outdoors on location; again, the use of an appropriate outdoor background and natural lighting help to create a very different, less corporate look.
Actors’ Headshots – First and foremost, your actor’s headshot needs to look like you. Yes, it needs to be well lit, well composed and flattering, but it should show you as you really are so that agents and casting directors have an accurate impression of your appearance.
As far as outfits are concerned, plain, solid colours work best as the viewer’s attention should be drawn to your face rather than your clothes; so avoid patterns and logos, and go for neutral shades instead. Bringing a variety of tops to your session, with different sleeve lengths and necklines will help the photographer to create a good range of portraits.