For Men – Grooming, Color and Clothing tips for a headshot session

For Men – Grooming, Color and Clothing tips for a headshot session

Grooming Tips for Men’s Headshot Session

  • Make sure that on the day of your photo session, you get a very close shave.
  • Do not use moisturizer with SPF.
  • A week before the headshot session get a haircut so it looks its best.
  • Trim your eyebrows, ensure no stray hairs (don’t forget between the eyebrows)
  • Trim ear and nose hair
  • Trim and clean fingernails.
  • Bring a comb or hairbrush for touch-ups during your session.

What type of clothes should I wear?

This image will be used to represent you so you need to dress accordingly.
You’ll want to wear attire that is classic and timeless so you can use your photos for an extended time.

Bring 3 different looks;

  • Bring a nice casual shirt or sweater.
  • Bring a sports jacket for a different look.
  • Bring a suit jacket, dress shirt, and tie.

Bring 5 different shirts that are clean and pressed that you have tried on and they fit you well.

The Men’s Wearhouse is very helpful if you don’t know what color you should wear they can answer all of those questions regarding the right fit and colors for men.

These are  just a guideline

It is best to wear long sleeve shirts for your headshot/portrait, without an undershirt.

You also want to be somewhat comfortable in what you’re wearing or your picture will look stiff and unnatural.

Clothing that wrinkles easily will look sloppy and unflattering.

Men wear your nicest fitted shirt. If your shirt is baggy it is unflattering and the camera will only make it look worse.

Also if it is too tight it is not attractive. Invest in a tailored shirt if you can.

What colors photograph best/worst?

Solid colors photograph best, and most people look good in mid-tones (green, blue, medium grey, etc.). You want to wear a color that enhances your skin tone and brings out the color of your eyes.

A crisp white shirt under a suit jacket with a tie will look great, on a medium to dark complexion man. If you are pale-skinned and have light-colored hair go for a crisp beige or light blue shirt.

Avoid wearing clothing with patterns or accessories that distract from your face.

Avoid bright reds, yellows, and oranges as they can be distracting.

Keep this in mind when considering which ties you bring to your session.  Again they shouldn’t be too bold or demand too much attention.

I love a royal blue or charcoal grey suit jacket with a crisp white shirt, they are flattering for the majority of men. Men shouldn’t shy away from pinks and mauves if they have a dark complexion or grey hair.

If you are fair-skinned and haired and have blue or hazel eyes, I would recommend, a light grey or navy blue suit with a pale blue shirt. The tie can have a subtle pattern with both colors in it.

Why hire a professional headshot photographer

Why hire a professional headshot photographer

Everybody knows them — that relative or family friend who’s really into photography but has no intentions of ever quitting their “day job.” It’s a passion or hobby they reserve for evenings or weekends; they show you their photos regularly, and their work is pretty good. They shoot mainly urban and nature scenes and perhaps have had some of their work published. They may even own the latest and greatest in camera equipment and the best lenses and accessories.

If you’re on a budget (and who isn’t), when it comes time to find a headshot photographer, you may naturally consider enlisting your friend or relative. They’ve offered their services to your family many times, always at a reduced rate… but before you choose an amateur over someone offering professional photography, take heed: when it comes to your professional image and career it may be costing you more than you think.  It may be causing you to be overlooked for a higher position, it may be losing you, clients.  Saving a bit of cash instead of professional photography just isn’t worth it. Here are the top reasons to hire a professional photographer:

  • Education

A professional photographer will have had years of training and/or schooling in the art of photography. They’ll know their equipment inside and out. They’ll be able to set their camera to the proper exposure intuitively, without having to stop and fumble through a manual. Being aware of the latest trends in lighting, posing, and guiding expression is something they do every day.

  • Lighting Techniques

Lighting is key to successful photography and is a whole topic unto itself. It can take years for a photographer to master lighting techniques both in the studio and in outdoor settings. A professional photographer can adjust camera settings quickly and fluidly based on diverse or changing lighting conditions. Knowledge of how the camera interacts with light is key to compensating for over- or underexposure, but sometimes photographers must rely upon their experience instead of the camera’s readings. My colleague, Matthew Hamilton says, that a professional photographer should also be adept at creating unique and customized lighting scenes and can expertly supplement natural lighting with their professional lighting effects as needed.


  • Experience

A professional photographer has done it before; they’ve shot a variety of events and portraits and have been exposed to many subjects and conditions. There’s no shortcut to experience, and you take a tremendous gamble with a first-timer or an inexperienced photographer not knowing what to do at various points during your event or shoot. Those in the professional photography world have a lot of experience to draw from; they know intuitively to take extra shots of crucial moments in case anyone blinks or has an awkward expression. They know the ins and outs of posing and can make subjects look natural in any setting. They anticipate angles and approaches for each scene. They have experience in guiding groups of every size for optimal results, interacting fluidly with their subjects to achieve the desired results.

  • Lenses

Professional photographers have an assortment of quality lenses at their disposal as well as the knowledge of which one is best for any given scenario. They’ll have the foresight to be prepared for a variety of situations with a second (or third) camera already equipped with a different type of lens. They know advanced lens-focusing techniques to achieve artistic effects that an amateur would only stumble upon by accident (if you’re lucky.)

  • Lighting Equipment

When it comes to headshot photography, there’s far more to the equation than just a camera and a basic lighting setup. The high-end lights and posing can be crucial to a successful final result. A professional photographer will know ahead of time the kind of lights to set up to enhance you and the look you are going for.  Your friend or relative might show up with a bedsheet and a stool from their breakfast nook; while this could work, you can count on a professional to deliver optimal results.

  • Editing and Software

A professional photographer will also own or have access to the ideal editing software and know-how to retouch and edit your photos, bringing out the very best in each one. The last thing you want is a Photoshop novice trying to retouch photos of your most prized and precious memories.

  • Professionally Invested

A professional photographer is working for you, and they are invested in your satisfaction. You are their client, not their relative or friend, and they will retain a level of professionalism your aunt or brother-in-law may not. They also have the fortitude and commitment to work for long periods without breaks and see the job through so that the best results possible are achieved.

  • The Artist’s Touch

Lastly, a professional photographer does not just “take snapshots”; they facilitate the creation of works of art. A professional will draw from all of their artistic training and knowledge of equipment and gear to deliver the finest-quality photographs possible. An amateur will likely be “winging it” for large portions of your shoot.

There are a lot of ways to save money in life but skimping on a professional headshot for your professional career or business should not be one of them. Invest in a professional headshot photographer to ensure you stand out in the sea of competitors.

What to wear to your headshot session

What to wear to your headshot session

Clothing is the topic I get the most questions about. Try not to get hung up on the wardrobe (pun intended). The most important thing is to bring clothes you love wearing. If you wear something that you don’t feel good in, your discomfort will show in your expression. If you don’t love it, don’t bring it.

I shoot tethered into a laptop during the shoot, so we can usually tell if something looks good or not within a couple of shots. It’s better to bring a few options just in case something doesn’t photograph the way you thought it would. Sometimes it’s the shirt or tie you weren’t planning on bringing that ends up being your favorite look from the shoot!

  • Avoid clothing with distracting patterns and overly bright colors. I love blues, grays, green, and magenta. I think they pop off the background nicely.
  • Be careful with thin fabrics. Studio lights are bright, and it might make them slightly see-through.
  • Be sure to bring appropriate colored undergarments as well.
  • Loose and baggy clothing will make you look unpolished and will be difficult to adjust during the shoot.

A document that shows different necklines of tops and what works best for the shape of faces.

  • Scoop necks can make your shoulders look wider and larger than you are.
  • V-necks and deep plunging necklines tend to draw attention away from the face, which we want to avoid.
  • Properly fitting dress shirts and jackets are essential.
  • Big uneven shoulder pads kill shots instantly.
  • Men don’t wear an undershirt under your shirt.  It will bunch and create wrinkles.

Most jewelry, hats, and scarves can be left at home. You don’t want anything to distract from YOU. If you wear glasses, definitely bring them and any extra glasses you wear. just in case the ones you reflect light badly.

All of that being said, what works for one person might not work for you. So if you’re on the fence about a piece of clothing, just bring it with you. If you don’t bring it, I can’t shoot it!  More is always better.

Feel free to email me to discuss any wardrobe concerns before your session.