Look your best.

The most important thing you can do before your portrait or headshot session is preparing yourself and your wardrobe. If you look your best, you will feel confident and comfortable in front of the camera. Think carefully about the choice of clothing, color combinations, and accessories.


rest well

Having a good night sleep before your shoot will help you look healthy and refreshed, preventing dark circles and bags under your eyes. Get plenty of sleep several nights before your shoot.

If you are unable to catch up on your sleep before the shoot, applying a cold compress to your eyes before the shoot can reduce swelling. I do not recommend using under eye creams as the oils can create reflections (see my comment on lotion below).

Freshen up

I recommend that before your shoot you wash your face to remove any dirt or oil from your skin. If you have naturally dry skin, apply moisturizer the night before the session. I do not recommend applying any moisturizer or face creams on the day of the session as the oils can reflect the lights and create undesirable highlights. Acne and blemishes can be reduced during retouching or with makeup.

If you get a haircut on the day of the shoot, make sure you rinse your hair and wash your face to remove any hair clippings that often linger after a fresh haircut. You should also trim ear, nose, and eyebrow hairs and clean up the edges of any beard or facial hair. For male clients, I recommend shaving just a few hours before the session to avoid 5 o'clock shadow.


Dress for your body type

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for your portrait or headshot session is pick a wardrobe that fits you well and is appropriate to your body type. Poorly fitting clothes can result in an undesirable, even unprofessional look. If you wear clothes that are outdated, in poor condition, do not fit, or, most importantly, do not make you feel confident, consider a shopping trip for an outfit that you feel good about. Even if you return it after, having an outfit that makes you feel confident during the shoot will make all the difference.

Dressing for headshots

Please consider these tips when deciding on clothing and accessories:

  • Common professional attire includes:
  • Suit and tie
  • Suit, no tie
  • Dress shirt and tie
  • Dress shirt, no tie
  • Sport coat with dress shirt
  • Dress shirt with or without tie under v-neck sweater
  • Suits can make you look and feel more confident, even if you don't wear a suit to work on a daily basis. If you own a well-fitting suit, I recommend bringing it.
  • For a more casual look, consider a dress shirt without a tie. However, if you are wearing an undershirt, be sure that it is not visible when your top buttons are undone.

  • Common professional attire includes:
  • Suit jacket with button-up shirt or blouse
  • Button-up shirt or blouse alone
  • Sweater with blouse,
  • Suit jacket with professional dress
  • Sweater with dress
  • Dress alone
  • If you will be wearing a jacket, I recommend you wear one that buttons to create a flattering 'V' shape and prevent the fabric from hanging loose around your body.
  • Avoid blouses and jackets that have too much loose hanging fabric in the sleeves. If the fabric fills the area between your arms and torso, your body will appear larger than it actually is, especially with dark clothes.
  • Jewelry should be simple and professional. Necklaces can be a great addition, especially if you are wearing a low-cut top or deep V jacket. Thin chains are okay but can be hard to notice. Thick or multi-strand necklaces, especially pearls, create more of a visual impact.

  • Suit jackets are recommended for both men and women. Jackets frame your face and are designed to give your body a flattering shape.
  • Make sure your clothes are ironed and free of lint before arriving. I do have a steamer and lint roller, but the more time spent preparing at the studio, the less time there is for photos.



  • Blue is a great color on camera, particularly for those with lighter skin tone or light hair.
  • Try to bring out your eyes with colors in your outfit (accents work well - like a tie or pocket square)
  • Solid colors always work best.
  • Try for contrast like a darker jacket with a lighter colored shirt.
  • A dark jacket with a white shirt will always appear more formal.
  • Blue jackets create a more approachable look.
  • Charcoal to medium gray pair well with most color shirts and ties.
  • Black jackets can hide shape and overpower images.
  • Blue suits have a modern look and stand out in the sea of gray and black formal attire.
  • Ties should always be darker than your shirt and can be complemented with a pocket square if you are wearing a jacket.

TEXTURES & Patterns

Textures show well on camera and can add depth to an otherwise simple outfit. Coarse or rough textures can be seen as masculine and soft textures like silk and satin can be seen as feminine. Contrasting with that masculine or feminine vibe can create interesting visual depth.

What to bring

I recommend that you bring a few combinations of ties, dress shirts, blouses, and jackets. Headshots are usually cropped above the waist so pants and shoes should not be a concern unless you require a full-body portrait. Full portrait sessions may include images that are below the waist, so you may want to consider pants and shoes as well as the rest of your outfit.

Carefully consider any any jewelry or accessories that compliment your look. Please provide your own makeup or hair products to use.

If your company has specifications or requirements for your headshots, please bring those or provide them when you schedule your appointment.

Other TIPS

Many of the style tips here are provided by realmenrealstyle.com. Additional tips can be found on their website.

Browsing high-end clothing catalogs can provide great inspiration.