I’m going to go ahead and give you the TL;DR: the answer is anything you want!
At the end of the day, I don’t subscribe to any Official Rules about clothing, because I want these images to be totally personalized to you: your business, your brand, your art. So wear what you want 🙂 We’ll talk personalized advice during our pre-session consultation, so you have my OK to totally skip this one.
However, I know some of y’all would really like some general guidelines, philosophies, and examples to get you thinking about what to wear to your photoshoot. If that’s you, you’re invited to read on!
Your “First Impression / Professional Event” Outfit:
Here’s a general rule to help you narrow down your Headshot outfit: think of what you’d wear to a Professional Event in your field.
This could be a client meeting, a book reading, album release show, gallery opening, etc – what would that outfit be? What would make you feel really put-together and confident? For a headshot session, you really want to make a good First Impression within your own professional sphere, so thinking along these lines is this is a great place to start.
Your “This Is What I Do” Outfit:
If you’re doing a branding session with me, which is like a headshot session but expanded to encompass more aspects of who you are/what you do, we often photograph multiple outfits. So we’d want to photograph a First Impression outfit, as described above, as well as an idealized version of something you wear while you’re actually doing your work – something that speaks to your professional brand.
I say “idealized version” because let’s be real, I’m currently “working” as I write this in my pjs, and I probably wouldn’t want photos of me in this, uh, outfit. So I’d personally pick an outfit that I’d wear while I’m out taking photos.
This outfit might be more relaxed than my First Impression outfit, but still thoughtfully put together.
Are you literally wearing a suit in your day to day work life? Maybe! Or maybe you’re wearing faded jeans with paint splatters, or something in-between. It’s all welcome in front of my camera.
Color Harmony: Consider the Background / Setting
Where will the photos be taken? What’s the background? I like to think about how the finished photo will look in terms of the “color harmony”, meaning take into consideration all the colors that will be in the image, both in the background, and in the foreground (that’s you).
Say we know we’re going to be in a park with lots of green trees. If you want to stand out in the photo you might not want to wear a green shirt because it’ll visually blend in with the scenery, unless you’re going for a very analagous/monochromatic look – which you might be!
You also might not want to wear bright apple red out in the woods because that’s a really glaring difference from your surroundings, unless -again – that’s the effect you’re going for.
There’s no wrong choice with color harmony, but you do want to make the choice and not let it accidentally happen to you because it can have a strong effect on the overall look and mood of your photos. (We’ll discuss this in a way that’s personalized and relevant to you in our pre-session consultation.)
Bonus: “I don’t want to spend much time thinking about it – what should I wear?”
Solid light blue or neutrals, especially grey, are always a safe bet. 🙂 I totally get that not everyone wants to geek out over color theory. I’ll do this for you behind the scenes by giving suggestions that I think work with your goals during our pre-session consultation.
Need a quick Headshot update? I’m hosting Headshot Mini Sessions THIS Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24, in Baltimore and have a few spots left! Go HERE for more info.
Have more questions? Want to chat? Feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org