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Tips For Successful Headshot

Professional headshot at Noran Shine Photography is an easy and comfortable way to get your perfect portrait for websites, social media, modeling and advertising. Book your session or request a free consultation and receive your digital retouched portraits next day after the photo session. 

We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you dress your best and prepare for your headshot session. 

Key Elements To Consider While Preparing For Headshots

Let your photographer know the requirements of your company, if there are any, for background color, style, wether it should be a half-body, full body or head only photo. We have variety of backdrops, including white, black, any color or texture. Or you might want to go outside for a photo session with nature on the background, or go to your preferred location. All these details will be discussed during our free pre-session consultation. 

You don’t need to practice poses or expressions before, you’re meeting with professionals skilled at eliciting natural expressions through engaging interactions. 

General Recommendations About The Headshot Outfit

Apart from getting a good night’s sleep, preparing your outfit beforehand will help alleviate some of your stress. The goal is to wear flattering clothing that isn’t distracting, as the main focus should be your face. It’s crucial that your clothing fits well, reflecting your current size and is comfortable for you. 

Remember, opting for something new isn’t always the best choice. The way you feel behind the camera will impact how you appear in your photos, so consider clothing options that make you feel good about yourself.

Avoid Overly-Casual Clothing

Even if you work in an industry where informal dress is the norm, consider donning more formal threads for your headshots if you want to appear more confident and authoritative. 

If you don’t have specific requirements for your company, dress like your boss or another industry leader you respect. Search for the images of the professionals in your industry.

Wear Newer Ironed Clothing

You don’t need the latest fashionable or trendy clothing items for corporate headshots, but you can’t look ragged. Go with neat clothing and ensure it is ironed and prepared the night before. 

Wear a Higher Neckline

If your headshot is destined for a corporate website, keep in mind that headshots are typically cropped closely around your head and face. So, even work-appropriate tops, with lower necklines, could end up looking more provocative than you intended. 

Try Longer Sleeves

Sleeves help minimize skin blemishes and keep a viewer’s attention on your face 

Avoid Thin Shoulder Pieces

It’s recommended to wear clothing with something that covers your shoulders for corporate headshots. Visually, more material on your shoulders will slim the rest of your figure and can reduce the apparent width of your shoulders in headshots. 

Add Layers To Your Outfit

Layering your clothes adds versatility, looks stylish, and can create a slimming effect. Layering can be done with suit vests, blazers, cardigans, sweater vests, jackets, ties, watches, jewelry, belts, pocket squares, scarves and other accessories. As with anything else, layering should be done in moderation.

Should You Wear Glasses in a Headshot?

If you wear eyeglasses, you should include them in your headshots so you look the most like yourself. 

If you don’t wear glasses, but want to show a range for modeling or acting headshots, you can bring along a non-prescription pair to wear for a few of the photos. 

This goes without saying, but before your session, make sure the glasses are completely spotless! Otherwise, you may end up with visible smudges, resulting in an unprofessional shot. 

Additionally, make sure that your outfit coordinates with the color of your frames for a clean, cohesive look.

What Is The Best Color To Wear For a Headshot

Contrast Colors

As a general rule, professional portraits look best when your skin tone, your clothing and your backdrop all contrast.

Before determining your outfit’s color palette, consider what color the background will be. You can select clothing that helps you pop off that background. If it’s white, you should wear shades darker than bright white for contrast and to ensure you won’t be washed out. 

On the other hand, if the background is dark, you can go with lighter colors that help you stand out, or you can stick with dark for a moodier look, however we recommend you don’t wear black on black as you can risk looking like just a floating head! 

Make sure the color is significantly darker or lighter than your skin tone so you don’t look nude from afar.

Consider Color Theory

Color theory refers to the science of how certain colors influence our moods, thoughts and behaviors – and how certain wardrobe hues can influence what others believe about us. For instance, red conveys confidence and energy, whereas navy blue and black elicits a sense of dominance and authority. Think about what message you want to convey in your professional headshots and select colors accordingly.

  • Dark colors are perceived as more formal, dominant and authoritative

  • Light colors make the wearer appear more friendly and approachable

  • Some bright colors convey confidence and energy

  • Muted colors are conservative and less threatening

  • High-contrast pairings like a dark jacket and light shirt can create a powerful image that conveys influence and authority

Avoid neon colors, it reflects off your clothing and onto your skin, and can create unnatural color casts on your skin.

Stick with Solid Colors

Regardless of your portrait style and setting, simple colors and subtle patterns usually look best on everyone. Bold or busy patterns tend to distract from your face and can lead to an unpleasant visual side effect of repeating patterns.

Avoid Logos, Patterns or Images.

Additional Tips For Women

Choosing a Top

When you’re trying to identify what type of top to wear, the neckline is definitely something to consider. 

There are dozens of necklines to choose from: U-neck, V-neck, cowl, high neck, square, halter, and more. Aim for a style that best suits your body shape. For example, if you have a larger bust, a U-neck will enhance your figure while providing coverage. V-neck will make your neck look longer and your face slimmer.

Our favorite tops for headshots include structured button-up shirts with a collar, fitted crewneck or U-neck long sleeve tops, lightweight knit sweaters with a V-neckline, crewneck, or half turtleneck (you don’t want to cover your entire neck as your face will look larger).

Consider Adding a Blazer

If you’re in a more formal field, it’s common to wear a collared shirt and pair it with a blazer. We recommend choosing a blazer with a tailored fit that won’t look too oversized or bunch-up in the photos. 

Choosing Accessories

Jewelry: Necklaces and earrings present an opportunity to showcase your personality and add in some shape and color. However, unless you’re in a creative field, try not to get too wild with the jewelry and stick to more dainty, simple and modest jewelry in silver or gold are always good choices.

Avoid overly long necklaces, as they will likely be cropped out from the photo and it may look awkward. 

Hats: You can also absolutely wear hats for more creative or artistic headshots, especially if a hat reflects your personal style. Just be sure the hat is tipped up slightly to prevent a harsh shadow on your face. 

If you choose to wear a hat we recommend you style your hair and take some photos without the hat first, then put on the hat near the end of the photoshoot so you can choose between either option. 

Makeup In Moderation

Makeup is a great way to accentuate your lovely features in your headshots. However with so many contouring how-to videos online these days, it’s not difficult to overdo it in your photos. We want prospective clients to recognize you from your headshots, so if you don’t typically wear a face full of makeup, your headshot session is probably not the time to start experimenting. 

How Should You Style Your Hair For A Headshot

Hair is another critical factor to consider when preparing for your photoshoot. You want to look recognizable in your photos, so consider styling your hair the way you wear it on a regular basis instead of going to a hair-stylist the day of and getting a brand new do. 

Be sure to tame frizz and correct any errant strands with a hot tool or styling products. Also, be sure to bring along a hairbrush to your session to tame any flyaways.

Additional Tips For Men

Haircuts and Grooming Prior To Your Session

Men thinking about haircuts should book their trims for at least 4-5 days prior to their session to avoid the freshly cut hairstyle. 

Avoid making drastic grooming changes right before your session, such as shaving a beard, to prevent any rash or discomfort. Your goal is to look like your authentic self.

No Undershirts

A loose or floppy undershirt hidden under your collared shirt screams unprofessional. Additionally, when photographer uses flash for your corporate headshots, you may see the undershirt underneath your main one, which will look very tacky. 

Favor A Suit Profile

There’s a reason that suits are still part of today’s fashion after all these years. A suit profile helps broaden the shoulders and narrow the waist, which makes you look better. A well-fitted suit is typically very clean, has an inherently professional look, and can slim your profile. 

Consider Your Accessories

Watches, glasses, ties, and hats can all be worn for your headshots but we recommend going for subtle options that won’t grab too much attention in your photos. 

Day of the Session

If you’re confident about your outfit choice, wear it to the session. But it’s always a good idea to bring a few options with you, including some accessories that you might use. Let your photographer help you choose the right outfit(s) based on the look you’re trying to achieve and the job you’re trying to land. If you want to take extra precautions with a piece of clothing that wrinkles easily, bring your freshly ironed clothes with you in a clothing bag and change at our studio before your session starts.

Post-Session Process

We shoot tethered. That means you would be able to see your photos right away. After the session we’ll pick your best photos, they’ll be professionally retouched and delivered to you the next day with the link to download. If you need large and small sizes (for the website), don’t forget to mention it during your session.

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