What to Wear:

The primary purpose of a business headshot is to show to potential clients and associates that you are professional, reliable, trustworthy, and approachable. Looking approachable yet showing confidence in a headshot all starts with what you decide to wear. If you wear clothing you don’t feel comfortable in, it will show in your expression (not a good thing). 

It can be summed up to this: “Wear what you love as long as it looks professional and presentable.” If you’d wear it to an interview, it would be fine to wear for a headshot session.

If you love wearing a blue pinstriped suit with a brightly colored tie, go for it! If you wear bright colors whenever you go to work, feel free to wear those in the headshot as well. If you prefer something more conservative, that’s perfectly fine too.

A few quick guidelines:

  • Make sure you are comfortable in the clothing you wear. If you’re not, your headshots won’t look natural.
  • Wear well-fitted clothes.
  • If you’re female, make sure what you wear will show up in the headshots. Don’t wear a strapless or low cut shirt, because if it’s out of the frame of the headshot, it might look like you weren’t wearing a shirt.
  • Try to avoid very pale (near white) colors, like white, pale yellow, etc., as they can sometimes overexpose on film. Bright colors like orange, red, or hot pink can sometimes be distracting. A brightly colored tie and white shirt is fine for a headshot if you wear a dark suit jacket over it, but wearing an all white shirt with no jacket won’t look good. In general, earth tones are best for business headshots. Of course, if you absolutely love bright colors and want to wear them, feel free to bring them along and we can take some test shots to see if it works. But remember to also bring a more conservative color as a backup option.
  • Glasses: If you use them and plan to wear them in your headshots, please take out the lenses!  If you don’t, removing glare and reflections in photoshop is very difficult and sometimes may not be possible.

Wear whatever you like wearing so long as it emanates professionalism and confidence. To give you an idea of what could be worn, take a look at some of the headshots in the headshot portfolio.

As you can see, most of the outfits are fairly conservative. Darker colors are best, because they distract less from the face. It is typical for men to wear a suit with a tie and for a woman to wear a nice blouse with a darker suit jacket. Usually, you won’t need to worry about the pants because they won’t show in the headshots.

What to Bring:

It’s important for you to remember certain things that will help your session go a bit more smoothly. Many headshot clients who come in realize they forgot something they might need for the shoot, and although we try to help you out by carrying a number of things in the studio, we can’t always make everyone happy because sometimes we just don’t have something that you might need.

Think about how long the session is and whether you are going to be wearing more than one outfit. Are you planning on doing different hair styles? Are you planning on different makeup looks? Are you planning on doing a scruffy and a shaved look?

Think about what you might need to help achieve these looks. Most business headshot clients only need to do one look, but some people want a variety.

In addition to bringing things to help you achieve your looks, you should also remember to bring a few other things that can help you out generally, such as Chapstick and well-ironed clothing.

Here is a list of useful items that you might consider bringing to your headshot session. The ones that are starred are items that the studio or the makeup artist carries, but you may want to bring your own items in case the idea of using something that other people have also used doesn’t sound good to you.

  • Hair clips **
  • Hair ties **
  • Hair spray **
  • Hair gel **
  • Lipstick*
  • Eyeliner*
  • Powder*
  • Other makeup accessories*
  • Shaver
  • Cream
  • Towel **
  • Chaptick **
  • Water **
  • Snacks **

* items that only the makeup artist carries (remember that the makeup artist only comes to the shoot if you schedule for that)
** items already in the studio

General Tips

Remember that the purpose of having a professional business portrait is to show who you are in a single image. You want to show your personality and your best side.

A great business headshot has a combination of confidence and approachability. The point is to show yourself as someone who knows what he or she is doing, while at the same time not coming off as too cocky or unapproachable.

The best way to prepare for it is to go into the session not trying to achieve a certain look. Remember that Martin Bentsen will always coach the best looks out of you because he wants to make sure you look your best. But if as soon as the camera goes up to the photographer’s eye you put on a fake smile and pretend to look professional, the shot may not look natural. It’s all about spontaneity and not thinking about or trying to act for the camera.

So just come into the session and try to relax. Don’t think too much about getting the perfect image. That’s our job. We’ll show you the images as we go along to make adjustments, and to put you at ease knowing we are going to capture the perfect headshot for you.