Definitive Guide to Headshots Part 2-Ben Marcum Louisville Headshot Photographer

What to Wear For Headshots

Without a doubt, one of the questions I get asked the most is “What should I wear?”  It is easy to overthink your clothing choices for your headshots, but this guide can help!

Rule One: Love the Clothes You Bring

What you wear can completely change the way you feel, which will change how you present your self on camera, and in day to day life. If you don’t love the clothing that you’re wearing, you’re not going to love the shots. 

Here’s a great example – I was doing a session for someone who wanted update his LinkedIn headshots. He told me he wanted to do a couple with a tie that he had brought. He put it on and got back in front of the camera.  Everything we were doing before the change was flowing and smooth and now he looked uncomfortable.  I stepped out from behind the camera and asked, “Do you ever wear a tie?”

“No.  I hate them.”

He took it back off and it was like a switch flipped.  He was right back at ease.

Think About The Ways Your Clothing Changes Your Mood

I know that I feel very different when I wear jeans and a T-shirt as opposed to a suit (and I love wearing both).  Think about the “vibes” you want to present in your headshots. You may want different headshots for situations. Your LinkedIn profile may want to portray a different feeling than your Facebook profile, which may be different than what goes on your website, which may be different than something you use for a speaking engagement.

Actors, we want to work a good range of vibes for your portfolio that shows some age range as well as some attitude range. For example, we may want to go light and fun all the way to something with attitude and edge.  That way when you are posting your headshots on your social media, website, your agent’s site, IMDB, Actors Access, etc, casting directors can imagine you in a host of different roles.

Dress for the Job You Want

The idea of “professional” attire has changed greatly.  In many situations, the “suit and tie” is no longer the standard attire for business.  It is useful for you to have an idea of your industry and the type of places you want to work or clients you want to attract, then dress the part.  

Actors, dressing for the job you want is a much bigger range for you.  You could be playing a part one day that has you as a doctor and two weeks later you could be playing a construction worker. (I have seen this happen for my clients!). That doesn’t mean we need to shoot you in a lab coat and a hard hat, but we do need a good range in your clothing that helps casting directors to see you in what they are casting.

General Guidelines for Headshot Clothing

You should absolutely overpack when coming for your headshot session. I would always rather you have way more choices in the studio than not enough. 

  • Simple solid colors are great
  • Avoid busy patterns and logos
  • Avoid things that are poofy, frilly or boxy
  • 7 shirts of the same style but different colors does not make 7 different looks 
  • Don’t worry about being seasonal. Light jackets and layers are fantastic
  • Make sure the clothing you bring fits you correctly – if you haven’t worn it recently, try it on beforehand!
  • Bring your clothes freshly washed (or dry cleaned) and be sure they are ironed – if something is missing a button or has stains or tears, don’t bring it. 
  • If you are unsure about something, bring it

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