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What to wear for my headshots and branding photography

Updated: Apr 28, 2019

What should I wear?

That depends on many factors. Your headshot is your first impression to many who might want to do business with you. What do you want to tell them? If you want to appear strong and professional, a flowy skirt and sweater set might not work. Or, if you want potential clients to see you as a fun, approachable counselor, don't choose a business suit.

African America businessman in a gray suit
A business suit is a good choice for a strong, professional look.

What is your signature style?

What is your go-to outfit for a first meeting with clients? You’ll want to wear something like that for your headshots. You don’t want to look like a completely different person from who your client will meet. Otherwise, it might seem like a bait-and-switch. One of my favorite entrepreneurs ALWAYS wears cowboy boots. And she is perfectly comfortable in them, in-person or in her images. Definitely show the best version of YOU.

Blonde, Caucasian woman wearing a blue and purple top, with arms folded
For headshots, wear what you would normally wear for a first client meeting.

What do you wear when you’re actually doing your work? You should wear those clothes for your branding photography session. Scrubs, branded polo or tee shirts, or athletic wear can represent you in business. Personal trainers and massage therapists don't wear business suits to work with clients. Just as it wouldn’t look right for a personal banker to do business in a tennis outfit.

African American female author sitting at a desk, writing in a notebook, with a laptop computer open next to her
A branded Tee can represent you well.

What is your business?

Bankers, lawyers, and real estate agents often wear a suit or an outfit with a jacket. Therapists, counselors, and mediators put their clients at ease by wearing business-casual outfits. Medical professionals often wear a white coat for portraits. Or, they pose in a professional outfit with medical equipment also in the image. Chiropractors, naturopaths, massage therapists, and nutritionists dress less formally for their headshots. Entrepreneurs run the gamut of what they like to wear in general. My best advice is to choose outfits that you would wear for a first meeting/coffee with a client.

Caucasian female spa owner posing with machines
Wear what you would normally wear to see your clients.

What shapes work best for your body type?

Do you have any “problem areas” (anything that bothers you, even if nobody else notices it)? You should dress in a way that helps to camouflage it in pictures. Try an empire waist to hide a tummy or wide legged pants to balance out wide shoulders. Take a look online for tips to flatter your body (or at least not emphasize the thing that bothers you the most!).

What colors work best for you and your brand?

First, figure out what colors look best on you. Take one of the many online quizzes or go through your closet to compare your wardrobe to your skin tone. Usually, if you like and feel good in color, it is something that looks good on you. Now, compare what looks good on you to what you’re using for your brand. Are they the same? Then you know what colors to wear. Are they kind of similar, like navy blue vs. baby blue? You might want to wear both to represent both you AND your brand. If they are not at all alike, wear the colors that look best on you, with an accent of the color that represents your brand. A navy blue (your best color) scarf with orange (your brand’s color) polka dots is a good choice. (Avoid wearing undesirable colors next to your face.)

African American woman wearing purple and holding a cup of coffee
Wear your brand colors for a cohesive look.

What clothes fit you best?

Oversized or too-tight outfits don’t do anyone any favors. Either one can emphasize the very thing you’re trying to camouflage. Choose items that make you feel great, not those that you have to adjust every time you move. Do some research for your body type. For example, if you’re self-conscious about your hips, try a fit-and-flare silhouette. If you aren’t in love with your upper arms, think about a three-quarter or full sleeve. And make sure you choose the correct underpinnings. Sometimes a camisole and boy shorts can do wonders to eliminate wrinkles in the fabric.

For more information on branding photography, go to

For more information on headshots, go to

What clothing tips do you have for headshots and branding photography?

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