Professional Head Shot What to Wear Guide for Woman

Having trouble deciding what to wear for your professional business head shot session?

A good business head shot helps you communicate in a nanosecond who you are and what you do.  It is someone’s first impression of you.

Take a few minutes to think about the tone you want to project in your business head shots.  Depending on the culture of your company, you may want to come across as hip, friendly or creative.  Or if you work in professional services, you may prefer to project an air of formality, knowledge and trustworthiness. The location of the photo shoot (in a studio or on location) will also have a bearing on your best camera-ready outfit.

Remember the focus for the business head shot is your face.    Everything – the background, lighting and clothing – should be kept simple to frame your face. Follow the KISS principle (keep it simple, sister) and you’ll be fine.

  1. Color

Plain colors are your best choice.  Patterns or prints distract and date your photo.  Choose mid- tone colors in blue, green, wine and purple because they are universally flattering.  Avoid wearing tops in flesh tones (cream, beige, pastels, peach or yellow) as they will blend your face into your clothes. Unless you’re feeling super confident, pass on bright red or orange. Stark black and white are not good choices either because they play havoc with the camera’s exposure or the studio backdrop. With that said, a black blazer/suit jacket on top of a colored top is a polished look. For other options, substitute black with richer neutrals like chocolate, navy, maroon and forest green.  A fail-safe tip is to pick a top that accentuates your eyes. That’s why jewel tones work so well.

Depending on your color complexion, here are a few examples of options that will work:


Light blue, pink, lavender, turquoise


Purple, persimmon, red, royal blue.


Teal blue, butter yellow, mint green, coral.


Bright purple, sunny yellow, clear red, hot pink.


Turquoise, copper, purple, moss green.


Ocean blue, red, soft pink, grey, royal purple (not pictured).

2. Neckline 

A modest v-neck is universally flattering because it lengthens the neck and displays the décolleté. Opt for blouses with sleeves.  Fine to medium gauge knits work really well too because they introduce textural interest.   If you choose to wear a jacket, pair it with a collarless top.  This is modern and keeps the neckline simple and sleek. Crisply ironed shirts by themselves frame the face really well.

3. Jewelry 

In keeping with the KISS principle (keep it simple, sister), choose simple earrings and necklaces.  They keep the focus on the face. Big statement jewelry will date your photos.

4. Pose

When you’re in front of the camera, angles are your friend because they create shadows, that if used correctly can make you look even slimmer.   Don’t sit face on to the camera.  Turn one shoulder closer to the camera so your body is at an angle.  Here’s my favorite trick to avoid a double chin.  Jut your head forward (a bit like a tortoise) and tip your chin down.  This feels ridiculous, but works because it makes the jawline tighter.

5. Smile

At the end of the day, the key to a wonderful business head shot is your smile.  It might take you a few moments to relax in front of the camera.  Once you’re comfortable, stare straight down the barrel of the lens and think of someone you love.  That feeling shows up as beautiful smile in your mouth and your eyes.

And if all else fails, Pinterest!

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