Headshot photography clothing advice is so important for your clients. People who want headshots generally need them for professional purposes. They choose their go-to interview clothes, or business clothes that they feel comfortable in. However, these aren’t always the clothes that photograph best.

Headshot photography clothing

These are the guidelines I give my clients before headshot sessions:

First, avoid small patterns. They are likely to produce the moire effect. The worst clothes I’ve seen for creating moire are men’s shirts with small plaid or stripes. The pattern in the jacket below is ok, however. It’s minuscule & doesn’t have much contrast.

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Second, avoid black or white clothes. When setting exposure on camera for skin tones, white might blow out and black might go so dark as to lose detail.

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I also like my clients to wear a splash of color. However, super bright, nearly neon colors tend to blow out in well exposed images.

Also, look at how the jacket fits my client in the photo below. It’s fitted, rather than loose or comfy. Fitted clothes look the most flattering.

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Make-up needs to be slightly stronger than normal. However, I don’t care for contouring when I shoot headshot clients. Contouring is the application of highlights and shadows using very light and dark makeup. It’s suitable for actresses or beauty pageant contestants, but not everyday women who don’t want to look overly made up.

Bright lipstick is especially important! Nudes and pale pale pinks often look washed out.

Women often ask about jewelry in our headshot photography clothing conversations. My client chose a couple of “statement” type necklaces for this shoot. And they are gorgeous! However, photographers need to confirm that the necklaces are lying smoothly multiple times throughout the shoot – they like to bend and turn in strange ways.

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And for the photo above, we decided that no necklace was needed. Her neckline is beautiful and the collar of the jacket added plenty of interest. Sometimes, simple is better.

Finally, I encourage my clients to text me photos of the clothing they’ve chosen before the shoot. That makes the session itself go more smoothly and gives them more confidence about their choices.

Headshot Photography Clothing Checklist

  1. Avoid small patterns that can cause the moire effect.
  2. Don’t wear large amounts of black or white.
  3. Do wear a splash of color.
  4. Clothing should be fitted rather than loose or baggy.
  5. Make-up should be slightly stronger than normal. Lipstick should be bright. Contouring isn’t necessary.
  6. Jewelry – make sure it lies smoothly during the shoot. And consider whether jewelry is absolutely necessary for every photo.
  7. Clients can send you photos of the clothing they are considering. This helps the shoot itself go more smoothly and gives them an extra boost of confidence.

Next time you do a headshot session, offer up this headshot photography clothing advice before they even ask. That will increase your professional appearance and remind the client that he or she is in good hands.

A day of headshots is a great way to bring in some extra money. And everyone needs them, right? Check out these other tutorials for help with your headshot shoots: