Dress To Impress: What To Wear for A Professional Headshot


Christina Morillo via Pexels


Aug. 18 2023, Published 1:15 p.m. ET

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Taking a professional headshot is important to your career; however, many people need help getting it right. If you want to make a positive first impression on recruiters, hiring managers, or clients, you totally can. With the help of a handful of tips, you can learn exactly what to wear for a professional headshot so you can highlight your best self.

What Not To Wear For A Professional Headshot

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Source: Pexels

Part of taking an appropriate headshot includes understanding what can be deemed inappropriate. And even though bodycon dresses are popular on social media, they have no place in a professional setting. From bedazzled blazers to flamboyant prints, here are ideas for what NOT to wear when taking a professional headshot:

Distracting Colors, Prints, and Patterns: Avoid wearing clothing with bold colors, prints, and patterns, as they can detract from your face and message.

Casual Attire: Depending on your career, casual attire — i.e., tops that are cut too low, baseball caps, or sunglasses — is a no-no. Instead, remain professional by wearing a clean blouse, shirt, or suit.

Too Many Accessories: Wearing too many accessories, such as multiple earrings or layered necklaces, is distracting and can divert attention away from you and onto other candidates.

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Setting And Background Considerations

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Source: Pexels

When taking a professional headshot, you should find an appropriate setting or background for the picture. A white background is always a safe option, but you can incorporate neutral colors, such as navy blue or gray.

Also, ensure the setting you select is relevant to your career. For example, a kitchen or dining room setting is probably not a good idea if your job is in tech. Instead, opt for a related background, such as an office, so employers can better envision you in your role.

Lighting plays a vital role in creating the perfect headshot. If you have little to no natural light, invest in quality light fixtures such as lamps or ring lights to cast the proper lighting over your best features.

What To Wear For A Professional Headshot

When it comes to deciding what to wear for a professional headshot, there are many options available. And because of this, it can be challenging to know what to wear to stand out from the others in the candidate pool. To learn what to wear for a professional headshot, here are five tips to consider:

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1. Ensure your clothing fits.

An essential part of selecting what to wear involves finding clothing that fits you well. This way, you can avoid appearing sloppy and unprofessional to the head honchos.

2. Wear solid colors.

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Source: Pexels

As previously mentioned, colors, prints, and patterns that are too distracting can do more harm than good. Ditch the brand logos and striking patterns for solid colors to remain the focal point.

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3. Groom yourself.

Prepare for your headshot by ensuring you look neat, clean, and ready for the job. Your hair should be neatly styled and your makeup fresh and minimal.

4. Apply Makeup Sparingly

Source: Pexels

Speaking of makeup, your makeup also plays a powerful role in how others — especially employers — perceive you. Keep your makeup on the lighter side to make a positive first impression. Overarched brows or dramatic eyeshadow designs are not suitable for a professional headshot.

5. Smile

As cheesy as it sounds, smiling is one of the most important things you can wear in your professional headshot. A nice smile can point to a person being friendly and approachable, which can help you attract potential clients or employers.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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By: Brittni Williams

Brittni Williams is a talented wordsmith who enjoys book clubs, SEO, and boba milk tea.

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