WHAT TO WEAR TO YOUR PHOTO SESSION: MEN’S EDITION
Selecting The Perfect Look for Your Business or Actor Headshot
The most challenging part of preparing for headshot sessions is trying to figure out what to wear. Overall there are no hard and fast rules, but there are many factors to consider in order to ensure that you look your best. So, gentlemen, this post is for you! Here are all my tried and true tips and tricks for looking your best for your next photo session.
Overall, men often tend to wear clothing that is way too big for them. A collared shirt should always fit snug to the back of the neck, and should never be too baggy. Here in Hawaii, the popular aloha shirt is a business casual staple for professional men’s attire, but be sure to go for the style that has a stiffer or button-down type of collar. The collar that lies flat is not a good look for a headshot. It ends up looking too casual and messy and ruins the natural lines of your neck and chest, distracting from your face, which is the most important part of your headshot. Shirts and jackets (and pretty much all clothes) should be wrinkle-free. Photoshop is amazing, but fabrics with textures and patterns cannot be retouched well. Wrinkles can’t always be removed and they can seriously affect the overall appearance of the shot. Long sleeve dress shirts really need to be well-pressed and wrinkle-free. Or, if you don’t have time to have your clothes pressed, wear a well-tailored jacket over your shirt to solve that problem.
For you gentlemen looking for what to wear for you actor headshots, always bring one dark shirt, one light shirt, one collared shirt, and then one t-shirt. If you want to show off your arms – consider a tank or tighter fitting t-shirt. Please be sure to iron all of your clothes, including your t-shirts. Know if you look better in crew neck or V neck for your t-shirt look. If you’re not sure, bring both. One is always more flattering than the other and we want to make sure to capture all your best looks and angles.
TRACY’S TIP! Iron your clothes. Never bring anything into your photo shoot that hasn’t been recently cleaned and pressed and ready for its close-up. Nothing looks messier than a wrinkled top or ill-fitted collar. It may not seem recognizable to our eyes, but the camera catches everything.
Keep patterns to a minimum. No logos.Ever. If your hair is graying, it may be a good idea to wear darker colors (avoiding light grays) that contrast with your lighter hair so you don’t look washed out. In general, solids are better than patterns. Avoid pastels if you have light skin tone – they can wash you out and the color can wash out in the bright studio lights. If in doubt bring one neutral that is light (think cream, beige or white), one neutral that is dark (think black, brown, gray), and then one bright color option. Consider that the studio background will be gray or white, so your suit jacket or shirt should contrast a bit with one of those backdrops. As we age, lighter colors may be more flattering and fresh than all black as darker colors near face can draw more attention to wrinkles.
Tracy’s Tip! Usually, you can never go wrong with a simple, classic well-tailored button up shirt with a jacket.
Women are not the only ones who have to worry about accessories. Accessories are fun, but be sure to choose accessories that do not overwhelm your face. The point of a headshot is to accentuate your most engaging features, your face, so distracting from that was a giant pair of glasses or a monster tie is not a good choice. If you are having a portrait-3/4 length look taken along with your headshot, be sure to wear a belt. If you are wearing a suit jacket, bring a variety of tie choices to be sure to pick which one best fits with the overall headshot look.
TRACY’S TIP! Simple is always best. While accessories can provide a polished and complete look in person, often these little details can go unnoticed in the images due to long hair or angles. Choose your accessories wisely, and keep it simple.
For larger branding photo sessions, consider working with a stylist to plan your different wardrobe looks. Some clients have had great success with going to Nordstroms and working with one of their stylist in the men’s department.
Some men like to wear t-shirts under their shirts, but for headshots, this is not a good idea unless you really want to add bulk to the overall look of your shot.
TRACY’S TIP! Try your undershirts on with your shirt before your shoot. Make sure it’s fitted and not too bulky while also not showing through your outer shirt. White or nude colors are best.
What NOT to Wear For Your Session
Styling selections to AVOID!
Avoid too loose or baggy clothing, wrinkled shirts or coats, crazy busy patterns, jackets that are too small for you, shirts that are too tight causing your buttons to look like they could bust out at any moment. If you have recently lost weight, then this is the time to buy new shirts that fit. I can’t tell you how many guys come in with shirt collars that are way too big on their necks. Collars need to be stiff and/or have a collar stays put.
Yes, these all probably seem like no-brainers, but you’d be surprised how many people bring these kinds of items to their shoots. Once you’re here, what you’ve got is all we’ve got to work with. That shirt that fit “perfectly” a few years ago might not fit so well today, so be sure to test everything.
Trends may seem fashionable today, but keeping with a clean classy look will ensure that your photos will last years longer and still flatter your best assets.
Contrary to popular belief, there are really no absolutes when selecting a wardrobe for headshots. So please bring anything that feels good and looks good on you.
It’s always my goal to create a truly visionary photography experience for you from start to finish. This includes styling, make-up and hair, and wardrobe. All of my clients have the option to schedule a pre-shoot wardrobe consultation with myself or one of my professional stylists so that we can ensure you look and feel your absolute best for your close-up.
Hello, I’m Tracy Wright Corvo.
I am a headshot and personal brand photographer based in Honolulu, Hi.
I work with industry-leading professionals who approach their work with a creative and innovative perspective. I have been running my portrait photography business since 2005 and have over 20 years of experience as a professional photographer. Are you ready to put your best face forward?