Headshots, What to Wear

Some of the headshot Clients I work with only need a couple of images to use for their social profiles, in publications, and on their website. It doesn’t make sense to do a full-blown photoshoot, which is why I offer a “Signature Headshot” session, to fill this exact need.

But because a “Signature Headshot” is a shorter Studio session, it doesn’t include the detailed In-Home Styling Consultation that full session Clients enjoy. I compensate by doing on-site styling right at the start of the photoshoot, but it also means we are limited in our selection by what you bring to the Studio with you.

I’m a huge believer in being prepared. And while it might seem trivial or simple to select clothing for your headshot, sometimes a little direction goes a long way. Which is why I put together this post.. Below, I outline exactly what you should look for when selecting outfits for your headshot, what you should avoid, and how to think more like a stylist for your session.

*Please note that men tend to have an easier time with selecting outfits (simply because they are limited in what they can wear) and that most of this article was written with women in mind.

Image of a woman CEO’s headshot. Business headshot by N. Lalor Photography. Studio in Greenwich Connecticut.


Wearing form-fitting and figure-hugging tops will make you appear slimmer in your headshot. Stay away from loose white dress shirts and billowy sleeves, they tend to make people appear larger. If a shirt bunches up when you sit down, then it’s not the right thing to wear for your headshot.


Avoid patterns. Not only do they detract from your face, but they can also create optical illusions in camera. This goes for stripes, checks, gingham, and any loud repeated patterns. Sometimes, a very subtle small pattern can work, in which case my suggestion is to bring the particular clothing item with you so we can decide in person.


Textures can definitely add interest. Clothing items with lace, linen, or ruffles can create depth in your headshot without being over the top. Make sure these additional elements are monotone within your outfit.


Consider your arms. If you have nicely toned arms, sleeveless shirts and dresses will work well. Otherwise, choose 3/4 sleeve lengths as they are flattering and slimming for most people.

Casual Studio headshot for a woman. Personal headshot by N. Lalor Photography. Studio in Greenwich Connecticut.


Bring a variety of necklines for variation within your looks. Also bring a variety of colors. Lights, darks, and a color that you enjoy wearing (that brings out your eyes or is part of your style).

Image of a female small business owner, headshot showing personality and warmth, as well as personal style. Business headshot by N. Lalor Photography. Studio in Greenwich Connecticut.


Avoid costume jewelry (unless that’s integral to your personal style). Instead use classic pieces that won’t overpower your portrait. And if in doubt, bring everything you’re considering to the Studio and we can hand-select and style each outfit in person.


Neutral colors work really well in just about every headshot. Navy, gray, off-white are all classic and timeless hues that look great on everyone. Consider bringing a lighter-colored set and a darker option, along with some colors that reflect your personality. If you often wear green when meeting with clients, you should definitely consider it for your headshot as well.

Corporate headshot for male CEO wearing a blue suit. Business headshot by N. Lalor Photography. Studio in Greenwich Connecticut.

Most of all, the clothing you wear for your headshot should make you feel good! Ideally, it should represent who you really are (so select items that you tend to reach for more often than not) while flattering your figure. You should feel comfortable and confident in the clothing you wear, because that will definitely show in your portraits.

And if you’ve ever met a person who looked completely different than their headshot, you know the importance of having an up-to-date photograph that represents you online. If you’ve changed your hair color, got a new haircut, or simply haven’t updated your business profile photo in a while, you might want to consider investing in some new images. For a lot of us, how we present ourselves online is incredibly important and a great business headshot is always a good investment!