Tips on dressing for a successful headshot portrait

How to prepare for your headshot portrait?

Surprisingly, a headshot photo may contain more than just your head! But let’s start from the top on how to prepare yourself for the portrait session. These are general guidelines for any kind of headshot, always know what kind of impression you want your headshot to make on the viewer, professional? confident? serious or friendly, unique or compatible with company policy? A headshot for an accountant is very different from one for a musician.


  1. Do wash your hair the day before or same day, consider getting your hair styled at a salon, manicure or pedicure as appropriate
  2. (Men) Shave on the day of the sitting
  3. Wear the least amount of makeup you normally do to start the session and add more.  Women should use some lip color and mascara if your eyelashes are light-colored. Wear day makeup for casual and traditional poses. Fancy or night makeup are for special cases.
  4. Wear turtleneck or clothing with collars. V-necks are good.
  5. Solid and dark colors are better than patterns, florals in general
  6. Generally best colors to wear are black, off white and red in a professional headshot
  7. Tailored suit and pencil skirt slim the body
  8. Create a waist with a belt or nipped-in waist
  9. Try on the clothes at home to be sure they fit and are clean, wrinkle-free.
  10. Bring multiple outfits.
  11. Some jewelry is good, necklace, earrings, a brooch or pin. They should add accent but not grab attention.

Avoid the following:

  1. Dye, cut, change hair style only a few days before the sitting
  2. Sleeveless tops, very low neckline tops or t-shirts
  3. White or shiny fabric (they add pounds)
  4. Faded jeans add width


As your Professional photographer, I highly recommend you talk to me to discuss your portrait needs so you will have a successful headshot.  call me at 831-426-1400 or email me any time to get started on looking your best in your headshot.