What Should I Wear for My Headshots?

One of the most frequently asked questions I’m asked by clients when booking a headshots session is the age-old dilemma of “What do I WEAR?!”

Well, don’t panic!

Let’s start with my Three Personal Rules for what to wear for your headshots session.

  1. Comfort AND Style.  My personal first rule for what to wear to a headshot session is to wear what you’re comfortable in but ALSO that you feel you look GOOD in. I’m sure I didn’t HAVE to emphasize the latter, but ya gotta cover your bases so no one shows up in sweatpants, right??
  2. Don’t Distract from your Head!  Secondly, I always tell actors to avoid any outfits that will distract from their face, for example;  overly bright colors (read: any of the neon family), patterns or logos, or a color too similar to their own skin tone
  3. More is More.  My third basic rule is to BRING OPTIONS! You really can’t bring TOO much… especially if you’re seriously indecisive or have an extensive wardrobe.  I especially like having options because if something’s not working, you can change.  Plus, you never know when you might want to extend your one-look headshot shoot into a four-look comp card session!

Now, here are some more General Guidelines to help you with What to Wear / What to Bring to Your Headshot Photo shoot session.

  • Bring a range of looks from Casual to Semi-CasualBusiness to Formal
  • If you’re only shooting ONE look at your headshot session, make selections in the Semi-Casual/Semi-Professional (jeans = generally, OK, depending on your targeted role(s)
  • For the majority of headshot clients – a pair of simple, clean jeans & a nice shirt are perfectly acceptable shoot attire.
  • The IDEAL outfit is the “Normal Everyday Outfit that you Would Wear to an Audition” outfit.

In fact, I’ve been told by modeling agents in the past to wear the SAME exact outfit to the subsequent callbacks – Agents and Casting People see A LOT of talent, so anything you can do to help them remember you is a plus!

  • When it comes to color… I LIKE IT! I have no problems with people who wear bright-ish (within reason; see above No Neon rule) shirts or colors that are known to POP out their eyes.  Some photographers will say not to wear solid Black or solid White, but I think it really depends on you & what works well with your eyes & skin tone.
  • Try for Interesting necklines – I know it can get boring choosing solid, non-attention grabbing colors, so one trick is to go for shirts with interesting necklines (flattering ones, of course!)
  • If you’re trying to “change your look” or break out of the mold of your typical roles, it’s a good idea to Dress the Part(s) and take new photos – as many casting people (as most all people) are very visual.. that’s why you’re at the casting or go-see in the first place!  They often need to physically see you in the role to SEE you in the role.For example:  If the role is for a menacing villain, but your typical every day style AND your headshots are very clean cut – it might be difficult for the casting personnel to picture you in the role enough to even call you in for the audition!
  • For Actors who go out for Background Work regularly and/or are typically cast in “Character” roles, my suggestion would be a “comp card” or modeling portfolio shoot with a variety of looks (2-5) to showcase themselves & make themselves more easily marketable by their agencies and in general. You (and your Agent) can also use these comp cards to promote you for great paying print work!
  • My Final General Guideline for headshot garb (which applies to my headshot sessions, not sure about other photographers) is “Don’t worry about shoes!!” – I rarely, if ever, shoot feet and I’d rather you be comfortable since we’ll probably be walking around outside.

There ARE a few foot factors you may want to consider, though.

  1. Heel height.  Sometimes you need the right shoes to make the pants sit right.
  2. Sometimes the shoes make the outfit.  Confidence in how you look will exude from the photos, so if the shoes help you feel more “in character” in the outfit, then bring your snappy shoes.

Well, there you have it!  Now don’t let having “nothing to wear” stop you from following your pursuits & attaining your goals.  Remember, as an Actor, your Headshot is your business card and without it, you’re just not taking your Business very seriously.

Feel free to check out my headshot photography or contact me directly with any questions, comments, or feedback.