Skip to Main Content
JCPenney Portraits Home
Find a Studio Near Me



What Are the Best Colors To Wear for a Professional Headshot?

Visit our Facebook Visit our Instagram Visit our Pinterest Visit our YouTube Visit our TikTok Visit our Twitter
What Are the Best Colors To Wear for a Professional Headshot?


Whether you’re networking online or sending your resume to recruiters, your professional headshot is often one of the first things people notice. A photograph highlighting your professionalism while showcasing your personality will help create a great first impression.

What are the best colors to wear for a professional headshot? Let’s take a closer look at the dos and don’ts of picking your professional headshot outfit.

Why Clothing Colors Matter for a Professional Headshot

The colors you wear on your professional headshots can say a lot about you and influence how people perceive you:


  • Color can guide the eye when looking at a picture. Bright colors and bold patterns can distract and make your face challenging to remember.
  • Color psychology influences how we see the world. For instance, we associate blue with peace and hope, green with growth, yellow with happiness, and orange with warmth.
  • Wearing the right colors can complement your natural skin tone and hair color for a more favorable result.

What Are the Best Colors to Wear for a Professional Headshot?

No rules are set in stone for picking a professional headshot outfit, but these color recommendations will help you if you’re unsure what to wear.


Blue is a great way to add some color to your headshot without taking risks. A light blue can have the same effect as a neutral, while a dark blue or navy blue piece can create an interesting contrast with a cream or off-white background.

In color psychology, blue evokes calmness, trust, and peace. Wearing blue tells people you are confident, honest, and loyal.

A blue outfit is ideal for cool skin tones. Since blue is the opposite of yellow on the color wheel, a blue top will create a tasteful contrast with blonde hair.  

Blue is a versatile color that you can wear on your professional headshot regardless of your position or industry since confidence and honesty are universal values that all recruiters will look for.


Black is often a go-to darker color for professional attire. It’s simple yet effective. In color psychology, we often associate black with elegance, sophistication, and power in color psychology. Black is often a go-to darker color for professional attire. It’s simple yet effective.

Wearing black will help you project a professional image when going after a management or executive position.


You can make your professional headshots stand out by using black to create contrasts:

  • For women, a black top can bring out gold or silver jewelry for an elegant headshot.
  • Combine a dark jacket with a light shirt to play with colors and textures.
  • Opt for a fitted blazer or jacket. Baggy clothing in dark colors will turn your silhouette into a mass and give the impression that you’re wearing clothes that fit poorly.

Dark Gray

If you’re not sure what to wear for headshots, dark gray is a safe bet. It is one of the darker colors that will look sophisticated and evoke neutrality and intellect.


A dark gray outfit can complement skin tones with cool undertones and go well with any hair color. Dark colors like charcoal gray can be an alternative to black, but you can create a professional result with a medium gray hue.


The downside of picking a gray piece for your headshot is that it can make your picture look dull. If you want to wear gray, add a colorful accessory like a tie, scarf, or jewelry to show your personality. If you wear glasses, the light reflecting off the frame can become a point of focus that will contrast with the solid colors of your gray outfit.


Gray could be an excellent choice if you’re applying for a position that will require you to make difficult decisions since it evokes impartiality.


Red will draw attention to your headshot and infuse it with energy, creativity, and passion. A red outfit can also show that you’re not afraid to take initiative.


This warm color is an excellent pick if you have a warm skin tone and dark hair. Wearing a solid red piece is a bold choice, but it makes sense if you’re going after a position that requires high energy levels.


You can also use red as an accent color to add some visually appealing accessories that will evoke all the qualities mentioned above without taking center stage.


Purple is a somewhat unusual choice for a professional picture and can make your profile stand out. This versatile color can work with cool and warm skin tones, and you can play with different shades of purple to reflect your unique personality.


A lighter shade of purple like lilac can evoke imagination and mystery while we traditionally associated deeper shades like plum with power and influence.


Wearing green for a professional headshot instantly tells recruiters you’re young, enthusiastic, and full of new ideas. We often associate green with nature, growth, and life.


Green will bring out the cool undertones of your skin. It can create a vibrant contrast if you have red or brown hair.


While green can seem unusual in a professional setting, it’s a powerful color to wear in your headshot if you’re applying for a job at an innovative company or working in a creative field.

What Colors Should You Avoid for a Professional Headshot?

Your clothing style can say a lot about you before a recruiter even meets you. Avoid making these common mistakes to increase your chances of getting an interview.

Keep Away From Unflattering Hues

Wearing hues that don’t go with your skin tone can look unflattering:


  • If you have a warm skin tone, prioritize warm colors. Neutrals like cream, taupe, or cappuccino can also look flattering.
  • For people with cool skin undertones, cool colors work best. You can also work with jewel tones and pale hues of warm colors. Wear navy, gray, or white if you need a neutral piece.
  • Neutral skin tones go well with dusty and pastel shades. Avoid bold and bright hues.

You can also use the color wheel to pick colors that will look harmonious with your hair, eyes, and other pieces you want to wear:

  • Create aesthetic color combinations by picking two opposite hues on the color wheel.
  • Pick a main color and use a nearby color as an accent.

No Jarring Patterns

A discreet print can make your headshot stand out, but bold patterns can be too distracting for a professional headshot.

Bright colors, large prints, and bold motifs will quickly become the main point of focus and recruiters will not pay attention to your face.

Steer Clear of Logos

Stay away from logos. Remember that the goal of a professional headshot is to show your personality as well as the qualities that make you suitable for the job you want.

A logo will draw the eye and suggest the brand is more important than your personality.

How To Decide Which Colors To Wear

If you’re not sure what to wear for headshots, these steps should help:


  • Do you have some menswear or womenswear items that people always compliment you on? These hues might be more flattering than others.
  • How do you typically dress for important meetings? Do you have an outfit you wear to impress new clients? These go-to pieces could be an excellent fit for your headshots.
  • Look for clothes that make you feel comfortable and that reflect your personality and sense of style.
  • When in doubt, take mock pictures with different outfits and compare the results.


Read on to learn more about dressing for professional headshots.

Does color choice matter for black-and-white photography?

Color choice matters because wearing a dark color for a black-and-white photo can create a solid shape that isn’t flattering. A color that is too light can blend with the background.

What is color theory?

Color theory refers to a set of rules and conventions fashion designers, artists, and other professionals use to convey messages through colors.

Can the color wheel help to plan an outfit?

The color wheel is a helpful tool for identifying colors that will complement each other or create stylish contrasts.

Final Thoughts

What are the best colors to wear for a professional headshot? There is no single answer since the best color to wear depends on your skin tone and the qualities you want to convey.

It’s also important to work with a professional photographer who will know how to draw attention to your best features. Schedule a professional headshot now to get started!

Share this article:

Get the latest on new products and special discounts right in your inbox.