What You Should Wear When You’re About To Be Shot!

Few people truly love having their photograph taken, and even less like having it taken for work or business purposes. Seeing the photographer turn up with a huge camera and studio set-up can be very daunting. Maybe for you, it brings back memories of spotty teenage school photos, or holiday snaps where everyone looked that little bit more polished than you.
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We have all had our fair share of bad photos.

But as a photographer, I see a key part of my job to be making sure you are as comfortable, and prepared, as possible when having your photo taken. So, I have put together some helpful tips on how to make your headshot, or indeed, any photography session, as relaxed and enjoyable as possible.

The question I get asked most often by nervous clients is, ‘what should I wear?’ The short answer would be – whatever you want; but in my experience, that doesn’t go down so well.

A good starting point is to wear what you would wear to work when you’re meeting an important client, or giving a presentation. Think your normal work wear, but a little more polished. After all, your headshot is likely to be the first thing a client sees when looking you up online, and first impressions count!

But there are some additional things to consider when choosing your outfit for a photo shoot. Comfort is key, and while I don’t suggest you wear your pyjamas to a shoot, it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable; because if you’re not, it will show up in your face and posture.

One great thing about having headshots done, is that unless you’re having a full length shot taken, only the top half matters. So, trousers could be considered an optional extra.

Just think what you would wear for that important meeting over Skype where your client will only see your top half.

Life is a Rainbow of Colours

There are a lot of misconceptions about which colours will look good on camera, and which won’t. As a rule of thumb, start with colours that you like, which also compliment your eye colour and skin tone. Most women tend to know this already, but for the less style-conscious amongst us, here are some do’s and don’ts.

Don’t Wear Too Much White: It can make your features look washed out, and it also reflects light, making things look too bright – think the DAZ laundry adverts. For men, a dark jacket will frame and balance out a white shirt. 

Do Go For Solid Colours: Mid-to-dark tones will frame and highlight your features. Bonus points if they complement your eyes.

Don’t Go for Loud Patterns: They can be distracting, and can make the image look busy. Put James May’s shirts back in the wardrobe for today.

Finally, and for women in particular, consider where the image will be cropped. If you’re wearing a low-cut top, or a top with thin straps, it can give entirely the wrong impression when the image is cropped down. I would normally recommend sleeves (either short or long), as bare arms can be distracting in the image.  

It’s Time for Hair and Makeup

Keep it simple: you want to look like you, but on a really good day. Don’t worry about spots or any temporary blemishes, your photographer can always sort these out for you in the editing process. But if you have any permanent distinguishing features, such as birthmarks or tattoos, these shouldn’t be removed, as otherwise you won’t be showing your true self in your headshots.

If you have long hair or glasses, it can be useful to have photos of a few different combinations; some with your hair up and some with it down – equally, some with glasses and some without. This way, you can choose which ones you like best after editing. The important thing with hair, is that it is off your face, so we can see you.

All these ideas are guidelines, as opposed to hard and fast rules, but they will work well for most people. I hope these tips have made you feel more confident about having your photo taken!

Written By: Jonathan Haigh