YOUR HEADSHOT… Quick Advice to Look Nice

by Amy Fletcher


Many variables go into making a great headshot. Of course the right light and atmosphere (and photographer!) can make a big difference. However, as the subject, you don’t always have a lot of control over those things… especially in a “line 'em up and move 'em through” corporate conveyer-belt style shoot. What you can control is how YOU look.

I generally suggest that my clients style themselves as the BEST version of how they would comfortably look at work. A friend recently summed this up perfectly by suggesting, for a business headshot, you should dress like you are going to an important client lunch.

These specific recommendations below can help you make the most out of your headshot session (at AEFP or anywhere).

Good luck!


"leave the posing for the models"

EXPRESSION: For a basic business headshot, I suggest squaring your face to the camera, chin slightly down (and leave the posing for the models). Do your best to find a natural, relaxed smile. Sometimes photographers will offer (bad) jokes and witty banter to try to catch a smile. If that doesn’t work for you, try thinking of a funny secret you can’t tell anyone… this can usually bring out a sly (but real) smile that works well for photos. To see more samples of natural business headshots, take a look here at the AEFP “Signature Headshots” portfolio.


What to wear and regarding your hair...

ATTIRE: Avoid wearing white or too much black. White can sometimes appear too bright and distracting in photos, even under a suit. Even worse, white doesn’t do great things for your skin tone. Black can be a bit harsh and, depending on the lighting, it can look dusty or brown or blue or just plain strange. Women can sometimes get away with wearing black if the accessories add good color. In general, stay away from drab neutral tones. A splash of color always helps (in the form of accessories, ties, etc).

  • For women: Bold patterns, bright/neon/metallic colors, and fabrics that wrinkle easily are usually NOT good choices. Classic solid colors always look good. Accessories are a plus. For corporate photos, don’t show too much skin. NOTE: If your neckline is too low, it may be cropped out, and that can leave too much to the imagination.
  • For men: I recommend NOT wearing a white shirt (light blue, purple, stripes, etc will look better). I suggest always wearing a jacket or blazer, even if you are going for a more casual photo. The jacket will add nice contrast, and shirts without jackets can look frumpy. Tie choice is key (if you wear a tie, of course)… take a few ties to your shoot if you are unsure.

HAIR: Men, I recommend that you do NOT get a new haircut on the day (or within a few days) of your shoot… New haircuts can sometimes look too new. If you get a new haircut, especially in the summer, your trim may uncover a hair tan line you didn’t know you had. Women, you can go ahead and get a new haircut, if you'd like (but I would avoid debuting a whole new hairstyle).

Most importantly... HAVE FUN!

Next, just for laughs, check out our post about why you should check your teeth before your photo shoot: About your teeth...