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



What to Wear for Professional Headshots?

Visit our Facebook Visit our Instagram Visit our Pinterest Visit our YouTube Visit our TikTok
What to Wear for Professional Headshots?

If you’re trying to get a new job, then updating your resume and CV and writing cover letters can seem like the most time-consuming part of the process. They are essential to applying for employment, but so is your professional headshot. 


In every industry, you will need a professional headshot. Headshots leave a good impression and help potential employers remember you out of the hundreds of applicants. However, it’s hard to know what to wear to impress your employers and look unique but professional. 


Here is a complete guide to what you should wear for professional headshots. 


What is a Professional Headshot?

A professional headshot is a simple, clear photograph that gives the viewer a good idea of what the subject looks like. They are usually just the upper half of the body or from the shoulders up. It focuses on the head and face of the person, blurring the background to emphasize the person. 


Professional headshots feature most prominently in visual businesses, such as the arts, acting, and modeling. However, business headshots have become more popular to give a good impression of the candidate and reveal a bit more about their personality. 


Why are Business Headshots Important?

No matter what industry you are going into, it can be helpful to have professional headshots. Your potential employers will see that you are accomplished and willing to put effort into your appearance and job application. Although they aren’t necessary for most applications, headshots are the finishing touch that can get you the job. 


By providing a headshot without being asked, you will stand out from the crowd and improve your chances of being remembered (and therefore hired). However, the headshots must be professional, or else they could damage your chances more than help them. 


Headshot Outfit: What to Wear for Professional Headshots?

Before heading to the photographers, you should have a professional, business-like outfit. Here is a guide on what to wear and how to prepare for a professional headshot. 



When you get pictures taken, your hairstyle should be simple, professional, and not block your face. A clean-cut hairstyle can show your personality without distracting the viewer from your face. 


If you get your hair cut for your pictures, it’s best to do it a few days before. You can let the fresh cut look soft and ensure that you like the style before getting professional headshots. When you style it for the shots, ensure it doesn’t distract or block your face from the photographer. 



One of the most vital parts of a professional headshot is choosing colors that work with your complexion. You should wear solid colors that complement each other and don’t clash. Of course, the colors should work together as well. 


One of the most important parts of picking out colors is ensuring they don’t distract. The colors should be solid and not patterned or striped. The point of a headshot is to draw attention to your face without being too distracting or loud. 



If you wear makeup in your headshots, make sure you wear natural makeup. You should wear something that matches your natural skin tone and that will look similar to what you will look like on a day-to-day basis. Wearing makeup that looks natural will give interviewers a good idea of what you will look like on the day. You want your headshot to reflect your personality and appearance when you go to work. 



Once you’ve chosen colors and decided what hairstyle and makeup you will wear, it’s time to pick out clothing that works well for a headshot. This step is crucial because you don’t want to present yourself as unprofessional or too casual. 


Use a lint roller on your clothing to ensure it is free from hair, pet fur, and dust. Even though you will likely end up with shots of just the upper half of your body, you should dress in a complete outfit.



You might consider putting on a blazer, jacket, or sweater over your top. This is excellent and adds a deeper dimension to your style. It can help a headshot achieve a professional but not dull look. However, you should layer your outfit carefully so that it doesn’t look like too much. 


You can layer with blazers, jackets, hats, ties, cardigans, sweaters, and more. If you want a variety of headshot photos, it’s a great idea to bring layers and switch between them for various photographs. Then you can decide which combinations look best. 



Headshots are essential for showing your personality as well as your professionalism. You can walk this line well with accessories, whether that is simple jewelry, a watch, or another accessory. However, it’s important to be tasteful and not over-accessorize. 


Wear accessories that reflect your personality but that you also might wear to work on any given day. Stay as professional as possible as you accessorize, and avoid brightly colored, large, or distracting pieces. 



When prepping for a headshot, the keyword in your head should be contrasting. You should choose an outfit that creates a natural contrast between the background and the setting. When you get to a photographer’s studio, you will be given the choice of background. This can depend on your color of outfit. 


Of course, the outfit should provide a contrast with itself as well. If you have a light blouse, choose a dark jacket. Everything should work well together and work well with your skin tone and hair color. 



Headshots are meant to show your personality and your professionalism. However, your primary goal should be to show your interviewers a bit of your personality. It’s easier to do this in a picture than in any resume or cover letter, and a good headshot will reveal a little more about you. 


If you wear clothes you love, do your hair and makeup in a style you like, and express yourself through a headshot, the right company is bound to see it and understand who you are and why you would make a great asset to that company. Don’t be afraid to add a little personality! 


What Not to Wear for Headshots

Of course, for all the steps you should take to make your headshots work well, there are quite a few you should avoid. Here are some things you should avoid in headshots to keep it professional. 



Don’t wear strong patterns like stripes, polka dots, or large-scale patterns when picking out your outfits. Although patterned looks can be great at showing someone’s personality and dress sense, they are also distracting to the viewer. 


The end goal of a headshot is to get your interviewer to remember your face. They won’t be able to do this if they are distracted by your brightly patterned shirt. Instead, wear solid colors that won’t distract and that accentuate your face instead.


Logos and Pictures

In the same way, logos or pictures aren’t ideal for clothing. If you have a t-shirt or button-up with a logo on it, hide the logo and make sure that the shirt looks solid color. It is distracting and will not help any company to remember who you are. Instead, they’ll remember the logo on the shirt. 


Pictures, whether printed or sewn on, are the same. If you have two similar sweaters and one has a cross-stitched animal on it, wear the plain one instead. It might seem boring, but it will not distract from the most crucial part of the photo – you. 


Shiny Clothing

Of course, not all distracting clothing has images or is patterned. Excessively shiny clothing, such as gold, satin, or another shiny material, can be just as distracting in a headshot. If you have a gold or silver shirt, make sure that it’s dull enough that a camera flash won’t pick up any shine. 


Any shine in a picture should come from tasteful accessories or jewelry. A simple gold or silver necklace will accentuate your face nicely, whereas a gold shirt will outshine the rest of the photo. 


Extra Tips to Dress Appropriately

Before we discuss where to get your headshots taken, you should remember a few things about your industry and how to dress for it. Talk to a professional or discuss with your photographer before your meeting to ensure you’ve dressed appropriately and are ready for your headshots.


While almost every industry would benefit from professional headshots, your outfit will vary depending on what clothing you decide to wear. An office job or corporate interview might require a more business-like outfit, with a suit or skirt. 


However, more casual attire can be worn for jobs in the arts or services industries. As long as you do the research and know what you want to apply for, you should be prepared for any interview with the proper attire and headshots. 

Overly Casual

When choosing your outfit, ensure it’s not overly casual. Even if you are applying for jobs in a more casual job market, you don’t want to come across as unprofessional or unprepared for a job. 


If you think your job market might be more casual or you don’t know whether your outfit is professional enough, always go less casual. It’s better to be more professional than necessary, so you never come across as unprofessional or unprepared. 

New Clothes

Of course, wearing new clothes will help your headshots look nicer and more professional. You don’t necessarily have to buy a whole new wardrobe for your headshots, but a few new pieces will help you look more professional. 

Where to Get Headshots?

Of course, the best way to ensure great professional headshots is with a professional photographer. A good headshot photographer can tell you what poses, outfits and accessories work for you and will have knowledge of the industry. 


Photography studios are often a professional, cost-effective, and time-efficient way to get your headshots done.

Final Thoughts

Remember, the most important thing about your headshot is that it reflects your personality. You want to wear clothing that doesn’t distract the viewer, but that emphasizes your strengths, personality, and professionalism. 


The best idea we can give you is to find the best photographer and have a few outfit choices. A good photographer can help you make decisions and choose the perfect combination. 

Share this article:

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