Do and don't version of what to wear for professional photographs

Choosing the Right Outfit for Professional Photos

Choosing your outfit can be one of the toughest things to do when preparing to take your professional head shots, and it can be fairly stressful. How do you make the right impression in your photo? 

Here are some tips on what type of outfit to pick:

Choose an outfit that's a bit dressier than you would typically wear to work. Just like in an interview or a first meeting, you want to make the absolute best impression you can. Choosing an outfit that is slightly dressier than you wear on your typical workday is ideal. An outfit significantly dressier than your normal work attire could create an impression that isn't true to your typical look though, so be careful not to go overboard. 

Choose something you're comfortable in. Make sure your clothing is comfortable enough to pose and move around in. Something too constricting, itchy, etc. will make you uncomfortable and unhappy and it will show in your photos. If you choose clothing you enjoy wearing, you'll be happier and more confident.

When choosing your clothing, consider what colors are most flattering with your hair and skin tone. Consider the setting to make sure the colors won't clash with your location. Use prints sparingly. If you do use prints, use a large, simple pattern and limit it to one piece of the outfit. Make sure your pattern has a classic look so that it doesn't date your outfit. If you work in a more creative field, wear something with a slightly-bolder color palette. Avoid wearing a bright color near your face to ensure the color won't reflect back on your face and create a strange color tint. 

When picking the style of your outfit, aim for classic, timeless styles. Avoid fashion trends with unusual hemlines or patterns that may not stay in style for long. 

If you intend to wear makeup or accessories, plan to use them sparingly - though feel free to show off your personality with these additions. Choose clean, simple styles that don't overwhelm your look.

Overall, you want to pick an outfit similar to one you would wear to a job interview or formal meeting with a client. You want to make sure that the impression you make gives people a realistic expectation of who you are, while also looking your best.

Related articles: 

A Photo Guide to the Do's and Don'ts of Professional Head Shots

Cracking the (Dress) Code

Professional Photos

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portrait of Kat Merriman