WHAT TO WEAR TO YOUR PHOTO SESSION: WOMEN’S EDITION
SELECTING THE PERFECT LOOK FOR YOUR HEADSHOT
The most challenging part of preparing for a headshot session 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.
THE EXPERIENCE REVEALED
When it comes to your upcoming business or lifestyle photo sessions, there are a number of ways you can prepare in advance to make sure you have the most successful and positive photo experience. Every shoot is different, so what you’ll need to prepare might change based on your unique photography needs, but overall, these are my top photo session tips for women to ensure you look and feel your best during your photo session.
Be sure to choose clothing appropriate for your type of work and industry position. If in doubt, go more conservative with a classic-neckline that’s flattering. Wearing a V-neck gives length and height to necks, while tank tops may flatter toned arms. If you love your arms – tank tops can work nicely, however, long sleeves work better than short sleeves. Add a lightweight tailored jacket over a tank to cover arms and give a more polished look. The neckline is very important! Fitted and tailored clothing works best. Loose or baggy tops will make you look larger and wider than you desire. Photoshop can fix pimples, wrinkles, and shine, but oversized or undersized clothing can ruin a great headshot any day.
ANITA's TIP! Consider modeling your tops for a friend and taking some quick closeup photos with a phone so you can see yourself. Simple is better.
Wear what you think looks best on you and bring two alternate choices. Contrary to popular belief there are no absolutes when selecting clothing for headshots and portraits. If you feel good in what you are wearing your confidence will come through.
- In general, neutral solids are better than patterns.
- Fitted and tailored clothing works best.
- Loose or baggy tops will make you look larger than you desire.
- Try on your top(s) with your bra in front of bright light and mirror to check for transparency. Studio lights may shine through thin fabrics.
- Model your tops for a friend and take some quick photos with your phone so you can see yourself in your tops.
- If you love your arms, tank tops can work nicely. However, long sleeves often work better than short sleeves.
- If you have long dark brown or black hair, your may hair blend into darker clothing, so consider wearing a lighter colored top.
- As we age, lighter colored tops may be more flattering and fresh.
- Darker colors close to face, can draw attention to wrinkles.
- White or Off-White can work nicely unless you feel it washes you out
- Contrasting colors work well together
• Busy patterns, loud plaids or thick stripes.
• Short sleeved tops where the sleeve is loose on arm.
• Shiny fabrics like silk or satin.
• Loose or baggy tops or jackets that are too small and do not button!
• Pastels – the light color washes out in studio light
In general, solids are better than patterns. Avoid pastels, unless worn under a darker jacket, because studio lighting is bright and can wash the light colors out. If in doubt bring one neutral that is light (think cream, beige or white), one neutral that is dark (think black, brown, gray, navy), and then one bright color option. Deep purples look good on every skin tone. Purple is like neutral gray but with a bit of color. If you have long dark brown or black hair and then don't wear black, your hair will blend more into the clothing, so you may want to consider a lighter colored top or jacket. 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.
SUGGESTED COLORS FOR HAIR AND SKIN TONES
General rule of thumbs blues (especially navy blue), darker grays, and deep burgundy (red wine) colors are complementary on all skin tones.
If you have more a yellow skin tone avoid greens and yellow. If you have a rosy skin complexion avoid reds for your photoshoot
FAIR TO MEDIUM SKIN BURNETTES:
- Light, Medium blues
- olive, medium greens
- light medium purples
FAIR TO MEDIUM SKIN BLONDES:
- Medium and Dark Blues
- Medium to dark reds
- Medium to dark greens
- Medium to dark purples
MEDIUM TO DARK SKIN BRUNETTES:
- White & ivory
- Light to medium pink
- Light to medium blues
- Medium to dark reds
- Medium to dark greens
- medium to dark blues
Anita's Tip! Express.com makes great solid colored shirts in a variety of colors and fits, with and without collars.
Wear makeup that makes you feel comfortable and look camera-ready but natural.
- Wear mascara as well as lipstick close to your natural lip color
- Consider having a professional do your make-up for you.
- Anita can book this for you. ( Anita’s stylists do both hair and makeup) If you have a makeup session, arrive with a clean face. You should only use an oil-free moisturizer and an eye cream prior to your session and do not use any sunscreen.
- Sun exposure for 1-2 days prior to headshot session.
- Don’t worry about blemishes. They are easily retouched!
- Don’t wear too much face powder over foundaioon – digital is sharp and too much powder will show and be impossible to retouch.
- Don’t wear sunscreen or any SPF to the photoshoot.
Consider hiring a professional to do your hair when you have your make- up done. This can be particularly helpful if you have unruly hair. Anita can book a session for you. Her stylists all do both hair and makeup for one great price!
- Whether or not you work with a stylist, make sure you wear your hair in a way that you think looks most like you!
- Adding some wave or curl to the hair usually looks great in most cuts look better after one week. It is usually NOT a good idea to get your hair cut or hair colored the day before your session.
IF YOU ARE WORKING WITH A STYLIST
- In most cases, wash and blow-dry hair the night before. If you are gtting an up-do, wash your hair the day before so it is not too soft. This way your hair will better hold the style.
- Apply all the products you normally use and blow dry. If you are getting a blow out in your hair session, wash your hair the morning of your appointment and use your regular styling products, but don’t overdo it.
- If you have long hair and you want to put some curls in it, wash it the night before and then wet it again in the morning, apply products you normally use and then blow dry with your head down. This way your hair won’t be too soft to hold the curl and it will have some volume from the root.
GROOMING YOUR SKIN
It is very helpful to wax and manicure your eyebrows and remove facial fuzz prior to your photo shoot. BUT make sure to do this 3 or more days before your session, just in case you have a skin reaction. Removing hair from the facial skin ensures that your foundation goes on smoothly and prevents applied powder from becoming attached to
those fine hairs, which are very visible in your close-up digital photographs. A drug store depilatory cream will easily remove facial fuzz. Popular brands include Sally Hansen and Oil of Olay. To make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction, conduct a patch test a few days before the photoshoot.
You can also use a traditonal disposable razor and just shave it. Yes, shave it! It is a myth that by shaving the hair it will grow back darker and thicker. Plus, shaving removes the top layer of dead skin sells and exfoliates your skin. This can tighten and plump your skin through constant cellular rejuvenation.
Ladies, please bring bras that do not show through your garments and make sure that they fit. Studio lights are bright and may shine through thin fabrics revealing your lovely little unmentionables underneath. Nude bras are a must for lighter colors. Strapless bras as needed, racer back bras as needed, and absolutely no ruffled or lacy bras if your shirt fabric is thin and tight. Select a bra that FITS and flatters your body. If your bra is too small it can easily make you look overweight, just as a bra that is not supportive enough could also make you look overweight. Make sure you try on your top with your bra and check in bright light with a mirror to see how it looks.
ANITA'S TIP! Bring multiple bra options in case you decide to go with a different wardrobe styling. Being prepared with options is always better than not having the right “equipment” for the job.
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 your face with a giant pair of earrings or a monster necklace may not be a good choice. Most earrings do not show much with longer hairstyles, so choose wisely. Often we end up having to Photoshop out (remove) earrings because the reflection looks odd or the headshot looks odd with only one earring showing. Glass: If you normally wear glasses, we can always do a shot with and without your glasses. Make sure you have a non-reflective anti-glare coating on your glasses.
ANITA'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.
WHAT NOT TO WEAR FOR YOUR SESSION
STYLING SELECTIONS TO AVOID!
Avoid too loose or baggy clothing, see-through tops, wrinkled tops, crazy busy patterns, big ruffles, (sometimes cap sleeves or loose short sleeves do not work well), shiny fabrics, jackets that are too small for you, and shirts that are too tight causing your buttons to look like they could bust out at any moment.
BETTER TO ALWAYS BE PREPARED
Yes, these all probably seem like no-brainers, but you’d be surprised how many people bring these kinds of items to their sessions. Once you’re here, what you’ve got is all we’ve got to work with. That jacket 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 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 with one of my professional stylists so that we can ensure you look and feel your absolute best for your close-up.