Whether you are coming in for professional headshots
or acting headshots
, what you wear can make-or-break your photo. You want the main focus of your headshot to be you, not your clothes. Below are some general guidelines for all headshot sessions – further down, you’ll find some specific tips for each. Most importantly, if you have questions, just ask!
General headshot Clothing Guidelines
- You are better off not wearing jewelry.
- If you love it bring it! Wear what makes you feel YOUR best.
- If you don’t love it don’t bring it. You will be uncomfortable and you might not like your photos down the line!
- If you are unsure about something, go ahead and bring it. I will tell you whether it works.
Headshot Session Grooming and Makeup
If you usually wear any kind of makeup in your daily life, consider hiring a makeup artist for your session. I work with The Beauty Patrol, the best team of artists in the area. They stay with us the entire session and because I shoot tethered, they are able to see how the makeup looks in real-time and can make adjustments on the spot. (For more on that, see Shooting Tethered Explained) They will also change your makeup throughout the session to ensure you have a deeper range of looks to choose from.
Wear your hair like you would on your best hair day. Hairstyles are a very personal thing and you need to love it and feel comfortable. If you are working with my makeup team, they can help with light styling. If you need significant styling help, let us know when you book your session. If you have longer hair, bring some hairpins or elastics with you so we can get some looks with your hair both up and down.
Gentlemen, if you want to be shot with both facial hair and without, be sure to bring you shaving equipment with you, because we can do both. If you only go clean-shaven, try not to shave just before your session to avoid redness. Be sure to take care of any other unwanted hair such as nose or ear hair or overgrown eyebrows.
A Few Specifics For Actors
Bring at least 7-10 outfit options with you. We will probably shoot 2-4 on you, but it is important to have options. What does “outfit” mean? Typically, a complete look – shirt, pants (or dress/skirt), shoes, accessories. However, you might only need to bring a couple of options for pants, but several shirts that would work with both pairs – more on this below. If you usually wear certain undergarments or hosiery with an item of clothing, be sure to bring that along too.
Think about the kind of roles you are going to be auditioning for what would be appropriate for them. That’s not to say that if you are going to be auditioning as a doctor you should be wearing a lab coat and stethoscope – rather, think about what a surgeon would wear out of the OR or what a trial lawyer might wear to court. You’re not looking to put on a costume, you’re looking to give an idea of how easily you could “look the part”. When in doubt, dial it back and leave it to the casting director’s imagination.
You need a range of variety in your clothing, too. You can go from Girl/Guy-Next-Door to business professional to full bad-ass mode over the course of your session with a few quick wardrobe changes.
Keep it simple. You don’t want wild colors or prints; they can be distracting and take the focus off of you. Neutrals are best and try to avoid the color red as it tends to not read well on camera.
Avoid poufy sleeves and big collars. Texture can be good; however, embellishments like studs or sequins can be difficult to work with.
Don’t worry about being seasonal in your headshot. Bring tank tops, sweaters, light jackets. Layers can work really well in photos, and your “look” can be changed entirely just by adding a jacket.
Try to have a variety in the items you bring. Seven collared shirts in multiple colors would fall under the same look. It’s great to have color options, but also bring different styles. For example, you might bring three button-down shirts or blouses that work with any of your pant/skirt options, as well as a couple of t-shirts, tank tops or polos, along with a blazer, jacket or cardigan. That set of garments would give you a great range from casual to dressy and also allow for easy layering.
A Few Specifics for Business Headshots
We will probably be using 2-3 looks, so bring at least 4-7 options. You might choose to bring several shirts or blouses in a range of colors, and pants/skirts that work with all of them. If you regularly wear dresses to work, those are a great option, too.
The world of business has changed dramatically, and not every job requires a suit and tie. I regularly see jeans and other very casual looks from business associates. I suggest for business folks, think about the job that you want for the job that you are currently doing. If you have a wardrobe you wear to work every day, then those items are what you should bring along. If you don’t yet have a professional wardrobe, or if you’re working towards a career change, you might need to do a little shopping before your session.
If you’re bringing suits or similarly formal attire, bring a couple of casual options as well. Try to avoid loud colors and prints or large jewelry. Neutral tones are great.