"The Clothes Maketh the Individual"
Research has shown that the way we dress can significantly impact how others perceive us, both in and outside of the workplace. Our clothing choices can convey information about our identity, including beliefs about our intelligence, influence, power, and income level. These perceptions can, in turn, impact how others view us in terms of trustworthiness and reliability, which can be essential in hiring and networking situations.
In addition to having the right pose and portrait style, the clothing you choose to wear in your headshots can help establish your professional identity and make a great first impression. Since many people will see your headshot before meeting you in person, it’s essential to consider your wardrobe choices carefully.
As you prepare for your headshot session, keep in mind these wardrobe tips and tricks to ensure that your professional portraits are successful. By dressing appropriately and showcasing your unique professional identity, you can make a positive and lasting impression on your network.
Dress Like Your Boss
Dressing appropriately in the workplace can be a tricky issue, as the expected attire can vary greatly by industry. For example, lawyers and doctors are typically expected to dress more formally and conservatively, while those in technical or creative roles may feel out of place in a suit and tie.
If you’re unsure what to wear to work, it can be helpful to look to your boss or another respected leader in your industry for guidance. Observing how your superiors dress can be a reliable indicator of what’s considered appropriate attire in your workplace. By following their lead, you can convey a sense of confidence and professionalism without appearing as if you’re trying too hard. Remember, dressing appropriately is an essential part of projecting a professional image in the workplace.
Avoid Overly-Casual Clothing Choices
While some industries may have an informal dress code, it’s worth considering dressing in more formal attire for your headshots if you want to project confidence and authority. Research has indicated that wearing formal clothing can contribute to feelings of power and control, which can positively impact your posture and overall presence in photos.
Feeling confident and comfortable during your photoshoot is crucial for achieving great results. Consider selecting formal clothing options that make you feel good about yourself and reflect your professional image. Traditional options such as suits, ties, and formal blouses can be a reliable choice for an extra boost of confidence.
Remember, the way you feel behind the camera can significantly impact how you appear in your photographs. By dressing in formal attire and feeling confident, you can create a powerful and professional image that will make a lasting impression on your audience.
Consider Suit Options
Clothing that is traditionally perceived as more masculine, such as trousers, blazers, and dark-hued suit jackets, can significantly impact perceptions of intelligence and ability, particularly for individuals in leadership and management roles. A recent study investigated the relationship between clothing style and hiring recommendations and found that blazers and trousers were associated with being perceived as more forceful and influential compared to other types of clothing. Additionally, suits and trousers in darker colours were more likely to receive favourable hiring recommendations for leadership and management positions.
These findings highlight the importance of clothing choices in professional settings, particularly for those seeking to project a confident and authoritative image. By carefully selecting clothing items that are perceived as more masculine, such as blazers and trousers, individuals may be able to positively influence others’ perceptions of their intelligence and ability.
Avoid Older Worn-Out Clothing
Everyone has one favourite piece of clothing that they’ll wear again and again — but over time, even the nicest blouses and shirts will begin to show signs of wear. This is especially true of brightly-coloured clothing or knitted fabrics, which could fade or show signs of pulling each time it’s washed. So to ensure your clothes make you look tailored and put together, opt for newer clothing or “dry clean only” items that won’t show these tell-tale signs of wear.
Strick With Simple Jewellery
The best professional headshots enhance your natural features without distracting them. For this reason, simple jewellery is a better choice for professional headshots – significantly if your headshot will be cropped close to your face (as most are).
So long as you have the right hair and makeup for your headshot session, the jewellery should be a “finishing touch.” For necklaces, make sure the pendant is visible above the crop of the photo. For earrings, stick with simple metallic or gemstone studs, and wear dangling earrings with caution. Hoop earrings and anything that dangles tends to be caught in hair and gets lost in the photo.
Consider Colour Theory
Colour theory refers to the science of how specific colours influence our moods, thoughts and behaviours – and how certain wardrobe hues can control what others believe about us.
For instance, red conveys confidence and energy, whereas navy blue and black elicit a sense of dominance and authority. Think about what message you want to say in your professional headshots and select colours accordingly.
Dark colours are perceived as more formal, dominant and authoritative
Light colours make the wearer appear more friendly and approachable
Some bright colours convey confidence and energy
Muted colours are conservative and less threatening
High-contrast pairings like a dark jacket and light shirt can create a powerful image that conveys influence and authority
Stick with Solid Colours
Regardless of your portrait style and setting, simple colours and subtle patterns usually look best on everyone. Bold or busy patterns tend to distract from your face and lead to moiré, an unpleasant visual side effect of repeating patterns.
Contrast with Your Backdrop: When choosing colours for your professional headshots, consider your portrait backdrop. Unless you’re getting a company-branded headshot, choose wardrobe colours that contrast with your background, so you stand out. This is especially true if you plan to have black and white headshots – a dark top against a dark background could make you look like a floating head!
Contrast with Your Skin Tone: As a general rule, professional portraits look best when your skin tone, clothing, and backdrop all contrast. When choosing what colours to wear, make sure the colour is significantly darker or lighter than your skin tone, so you don’t look nude from afar.
Wear a Higher Neckline
Keep in mind that headshots are typically cropped closely around your head and face. Therefore, even work-appropriate tops with lower necklines could end up looking more provocative than intended in professional headshots that are cropped closely.
For men who plan to wear a button-up shirt, make sure the buttons won’t connect below the crop of the photo. Women, in particular, are perceived to be less competent if their clothing is considered provocative or revealing, so blouses and tops with higher necklines are best.
Fitted Clothing Works Best
More closely-fitted clothing looks cleaner and less distracting than loose or baggy clothing, especially for formal or business-casual photos.
If you plan to wear a blazer or suit jacket, make sure it fits closely around the shoulders and arms – even if that means it’s slightly too tight. If you’re concerned about your waistline, don’t worry – most headshots are taken with jackets and blazers unbuttoned, as the creases along your ribs tend to show at the bottom border of the photo.
The same goes for collared shirts and blouses. If you plan to wear a collared shirt buttoned to the top, make sure it fits snugly around your neck. Loosely-fitted collars leave distracting gaps that draw attention away from your features.
Right Wardrobe - Right Photographer
While what you choose to wear during your professional headshot session can influence the message conveyed by your photos, the quality of your photographer is of paramount importance. As a professional in the Merseyside or North-West area, selecting the right photographer is crucial to achieving high-quality headshot photos that accurately represent your professional image.
For more information on headshot sessions and to book a session with a skilled and experienced photographer, please browse the rest of this page and don’t hesitate to get in touch. By selecting the right photographer and paying attention to clothing choices, you can ensure that your headshot photos make a positive and lasting impression on your audience.