The question I get asked most is, without a doubt, “What should I wear for my headshot session?” or “How do I pick an outfit for my headshot?” There are two answers to this question– a general answer and a specific answer. The general answer is that you should wear an outfit to your headshot shoot that you would wear to an audition– you want to look like a person, not an “actor.” That means no black turtlenecks, and you don’t need to dress up in a business suit unless you plan on playing a businessman (or businesswoman!). The actress pictured to the right is frequently ‘typed’ as a cop or lawyer and wanted a headshot that showed that without hitting the nail on the head, so we chose a fitted leather jacket. Before you start pulling outfits from your closet it’s best to first identify your type . Check out my blog post on how to figure out your actor type.
Now on to the specifics:
- Once you’ve identified your “type” bring an outfit that best represents it. Look at how your “type” is represented in different mediums. What does your competition wear in commercials, on procedurals, in movies? There are slight variations for every type. Bring a casual option and a more formal option.
- Don’t bring clothes with loud patterns or designs. Avoid writing and logos. That isn’t to say you should be boring– colors and designs are okay, especially for commercial shots, just make sure that what you’re wearing doesn’t distract from you. The viewer’s eye should be drawn to your face, not your t-shirt.
- Bring at least one option that matches your eye color. This can make your eyes pop.
- Focus on bringing a variety of necklines– this is all that will show in the majority of your shots. Girls, avoid spaghetti straps as this can look like you’re in a victoria’s secret ad– unless that’s what you’re going for.
- Avoid bulky or rumpled clothes. No christmas sweaters and no wrinkled dress shirts.
- Don’t worry so much about your pants! Odds are slim we’ll ever see them. Girls make sure you wear something comfortable and durable if you’re shooting with me because we’ll be moving around a lot.
- If there’s one theme here it’s bring a bunch of options! Even if you don’t end up shooting half of them it’s good to have them with you.
Those are some ground rules, now feel free to break them. There are exceptions to every rule– what works for one actor may not work at all for another. Some actors should absolutely wear solid colors and solid colors alone, but others really can work with patterns. Even if it’s not something that ends up working for your primary headshot it could be perfect to round out your promotional shots on your webpage and imdb. The same actress wanted to make sure she got a friendly, approachable shot so she brought her most comfortable plaid shirt as an option. We didn’t spend a lot of time shooting it but in the shot to the left I think it ended up working out for her.
Lastly, if you have any more questions about what outfit to wear for headshots ask your photographer for advice! I always have my clients send me a couple of pictures (preferably their old headshots that aren’t working for them) and give them personalized suggestions in our phone consultation.
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