Female Business Headshots: How to Dress, Tips and More

By
Ivan Martinez

Introduction

In the digital era, headshots often are the first impression a potential client will have of you, and as a woman, there are unique details that you need to take care of to make the most out of the photo that you’ll likely use in your social media, LinkedIn profile and company website. 

You need to look professional and approachable, while also looking stylish, showcasing your personality, and styling your hair and makeup in a natural-looking manner.

Regardless of your field of work, whether it is real estate, law, medicine, financial venture, etc., you’re likely going to need a headshot. Continue reading to learn how to look your best in it!

What Should I Wear for a Professional Headshot?

Wearing the right outfit is fundamental for a professional portrait. Remember that this will be the first impression some (or even most) of your potential clients are going to have of you, and wearing a professional outfit that makes you look trustworthy and approachable is going to do wonders for your image. Let’s look at some tips to choose the ideal outfit for your headshot session:

Color

When choosing your clothes, it’s better to pick solid colors that are flattering to your skin tone—which will help you stand out, whether it is in your social media profile photo or in the company website. Try to avoid pastel colors since they will blend with the background if it is light-colored, and they can make your skin look washed-out. Also, avoid using a completely black outfit—it can make you look dull.

The best colors to wear are natural, rich, and darker colors—such as navy blue, dark brown and forest green—or jewel tones, like sapphire, emerald and ruby. These tones are considered to be universally flattering and they will make you look lively and stylish in your headshot photo.

Opting for a solid color or a subtle pattern is better than choosing a bold pattern for your outfit. The focus of the business portrait should be your facial expression, so your clothing shouldn’t be a distraction from that.

Fit and Neckline

If you want to look your best in your corporate headshot you should make sure that your clothes are well-fitting—they shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. A good tailor can help you achieve this. 

Another thing to consider is the type of neckline you’ll use, and the optimal choice will depend on how the headshot photographer will frame the photo. However, it is discouraged to use low-cut tops that show too much cleavage, since they can be deemed unprofessional. While high necklines, such as a turtleneck, aren’t recommended because they can make you look uptight.

Generally recommended necklines are v-neck, scoop, crew neck and boat neck. These generally look great, but you have to be conscious of how the photos are going to be framed and cropped, so it doesn’t look like the neckline goes lower than it actually does. This is something that you can discuss with your professional headshot photographer during your photoshoot. 

Sleeve Length 

Sleeveless tops or tops with short sleeves usually don’t translate well in  professional portraits. Your best option is to avoid them, and go for a top with long sleeves that looks more professional.

Don’t Use See-through Tops

It’s important that your undergarments are not seen through your top in your headshot photography. Using a see-through top may be seen as too casual for a professional headshot.

Business Jacket or Blazer

Using a business jacket or a blazer will give you a more corporate look and a sense of formality. Not using one, on the other hand, will give you more approachability and make you look more casual. Your choice in this will depend on what look you are trying to achieve, and a stylist can help you make that decision.

Additional Tips

To make things easier for you the day of your photo session, set aside the clothes you plan to wear the night before. That way you don’t have to rush to get your portrait taken.

Dress with intention. Your outfit should match the company you work for, or your personal branding: that way people can easily identify you and what you do.

How Should I Style My Hair?

A hairstyle can make or break a female headshot. Your hair is one of the first things, if not the first thing, that people will see when they look at your portrait. Hiring a hair stylist can go a long way in achieving that look that will make clients want to work with you; they can also help you change hairstyles during the photoshoot, in case you change your mind once you are in front of the camera. Here are some things you may want to consider for your headshot:

Should My Hair Be Up or Down?

There are various factors to consider when deciding this. Longer hair can be more difficult to position when you wear your hair down.  However, ponytails and buns can also be hard to position, but they can make your headshot look more original.

If you want to try different hairstyles during your photoshoot, it’s advisable that you wear your hair down, and then try an updo afterwards—this prevents your hair from looking frizzy. Flying hairs can be challenging to edit out when retouching, even for the most seasoned editors. 

Also, try to avoid getting a haircut the same day or the day before the photoshoot. Most haircuts need a couple days to settle, and for the person to be comfortable and confident with their new look.

Natural Look

You should strive for a natural look, a look that you would use in real life, so potential clients can recognize you. A look that’s too dramatic or over-the-top can take the spotlight off the focus of the headshot, which is your face.

Makeup and Beauty Headshot Tips for Women

There are a lot of details that go into getting perfect women’s business headshots, which go beyond clothing and hairstyle. Here are some additional professional headshot tips that can help you get the best headshot possible:

Wear Makeup

You need to consider some things when you put on makeup for a professional headshot. You need to keep it light and natural-looking, maybe something you would wear to work or to a work-related event. Apply your makeup in a place with good artificial lighting or with natural light, so you know how your face is going to look in your business headshot.

Steer clear from products that add shimmer to your skin, they reflect light and can look unflattering in photos. If you have oily skin, keep a translucent powder nearby to reduce shimmer, and make your skin look even.

Hiring a professional makeup artist will make your life easier in this aspect, since you won’t have to worry about these details. You can be confident that you will look stunning in your headshot. However, it is important that your makeup is completed before the photoshoot starts, so things can go according to schedule and you don’t miss out on natural light.

Accessories

When choosing accessories, consider wearing smaller earrings: large earrings can look clunky, and get in the way of your hair when trying to position it for the photoshoot. Large earrings are only recommended if you work selling jewelry, or if jewelry is a big part of your personal branding.

If you opt to wear a necklace, it shouldn’t be thick or heavy. Wearing a smaller and thinner necklace is recommended for corporate headshots, since it won’t take the focus away from your face and it can be a nice addition to your outfit.

Glasses

If you wear your glasses frequently, and they are a part of your usual look, you should use them for your headshot. However, they need to be spotless: any mark or dust will appear in the final photo.

If you choose not to use your glasses for the photoshoot, you should take them off at least half an hour before the photoshoot, so you don’t have marks on the sides of your nose.

That’s everything you need to know to have a spectacular headshot that will get you plenty of clients, the only thing you need to do now is hire a professional headshot photographer. Ivan Martinez Photography is here to help with that! I, Ivan Martinez have over 36 years of experience in the field of professional photography and I am exactly what you need to take your professional headshot to the next level.

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