Selecting the Perfect Look For Your Business Headshot or Branding Photoshoot

The most daunting aspect of getting ready for a headshot session is deciding what to wear. While there are no strict rules, various factors need consideration to ensure you present your best self in front of the camera. 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.

The only exception to the no-rule rule is that whatever you choose to wear make sure it feels like YOU and is a style that you're comfortable in.

  • Generally: Solid colors look great

  • Contrasting colors
  • Wear something fitted. Not too tight, not too loose


In general, men often opt for clothing that is two sizes too big. It's essential that a collared shirt fits snugly around the back of the neck, avoiding excessive bagginess. In the Bay Area, a buttoned-up shirt is a go-to for professional men's attire. However, it's crucial to choose a style with a stiffer or button-down collar. A flat collar can give off a casual and messy look, disrupting the natural lines of your neck and chest and diverting attention from your face – the focal point of your headshot.

Ensuring that shirts, jackets, and all clothing items are free of wrinkles is paramount. While Photoshop works wonders, fabrics with textures and patterns pose challenges for retouching. Wrinkles, in particular, can be nearly impossible to eliminate, and they will significantly impact the overall appearance of the shot. For long-sleeve dress shirts, a well-pressed and wrinkle-free look is a must. Alternatively, if time is of the essence, consider wearing a well-tailored jacket over your shirt to address any wrinkling concerns effortlessly. This not only maintains a polished appearance but also ensures that your headshot captures you at your best.


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 a 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 navy blue or gray), and then one bright color option. Consider if we shoot in the studio, 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 the face can draw more attention to wrinkles.


Usually, you can never go wrong with a simple, classic, well-tailored button-up shirt with a jacket.



If your skin tone is more yellow, avoid greens and yellow. If your complexion is rosy, avoid reds for your photoshoot.


  • Light, Medium blues
  • olive, medium greens
  • light-medium purples
  • Grays


  • Medium and Dark Blues
  • Grays
  • Medium to dark reds
  • Medium to dark greens
  • Medium to dark purples
  • Grays


  • White & ivory
  • Light to medium pink
  • Light to medium blues
  • Medium to dark reds
  • Grays


  • Medium to dark greens
  • brown
  • medium to dark blues
  • Grays


Women are not the only ones who have to worry about accessories. Accessories are fun, but 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 may not be the best choice unless that is a part of your personal style. 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.


Simple is always best. While accessories can provide a polished and complete look in person, these little details often go unnoticed in the images due to long hair or angles. Choose your accessories wisely, and keep them simple.

Consider working with a stylist to plan your different wardrobe looks for more extensive branding photo sessions. Some clients have had great success going to Nordstrom and working with one of their stylists in the men's department.


Some men like to wear t-shirts under their shirts, but this is not a good idea for headshots unless you really want to add bulk to the overall look of your shot.


Try your undershirts on with your shirt before your shoot. Ensure it's fitted and not too bulky while also not showing through your outer shirt. White or nude colors are best.


If you have recently lost weight, 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 stay 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 a clean, classy look will ensure that your photos will last years longer and 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. 

  • Avoid too loose or baggy
  • clothing wrinkled shirts or coats
  • Crazy busy patters
  • 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.

In conclusion

Creating the perfect look for your photoshoot is a crucial aspect of ensuring stunning headshots, especially in the dynamic world of branding photography and corporate headshots. In the vibrant landscape of San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area, where professional images speak volumes, selecting the right attire becomes paramount. From choosing well-fitted collared shirts to understanding the significance of necklines and the impact of textures on retouching, these considerations play a pivotal role in achieving a polished and professional appearance.

Remember, there are no rigid rules – it's about aligning your wardrobe choices with your industry position and personal style. Whether you're preparing for a headshot session or a corporate branding photoshoot, the emphasis lies in feeling confident and your authentic self.

As you navigate the diverse photography needs unique to the Bay Area, these insights aim to guide you toward a wardrobe that complements the professional vibe of your industry. Now that you have a deeper understanding of what works best for headshots, branding photography, and corporate portraits, you're well-equipped to step in front of the lens and capture the essence of your professional identity.

For tailored headshots, impactful branding photography, and striking corporate portraits in San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area, let your wardrobe choices tell a story as compelling as your career journey.