The best clothes to wear for portrait headshots

Published on Tue Jan 24, 2017 by

These are my tips on the best clothes to wear for professional actors, actresses, musicians, singers, writers and presenters who are getting new Spotlight style portraits made. While I don't claim to be a fashion expert, I have bags of experience knowing what works well in an image. And, equally as important, what doesn't.

I will suggest a range of different backgrounds for the shoot - from plain white backdrops to alternative solid colours. The key here is to avoid similar colours, in order to avoid clothing merging or blending into the background. I'm sure we've all seen that white shirt against a white background photo, done in a high-key style, making the person look like a ghost!

Solid coloured clothes are my recommendation, in particular creams and dark blues. I would avoid any clothes that have patterns, logos or motifs - they tend to be too busy, distracting and can date an image very quickly. Matching a colour to the colour of your eyes is very effective tip when selecting colours.

Bring three or four tops, with various colours and also various necklines to the shoot. I would recommend for both men and women at least one shirt with a collar. And a tie and jacket for a more formal look. Also things like scarfs and hats can make interesting accessories to your look for some of the photos but obviously not on every single photo. Also schedule that hair cut a week prior to the shoot - it gives it a little time to settle - a lot of gents make the mistake of the day before and it can look a little severe if short. 

I will provide black and white versions of all final images - which some people prefer. And also a variety of crops - ie close up traditional head and shoulders and US style top-half body shots.

Also I always like to try and use something a little different as a background - out of focus walls, or trees or some plants. Having this variation from just one shoot massively increases your chances of getting alternative roles and demonstrations that you have a flexible look. It might make the difference and get you that all important audition.

Finally, I guess the best bit of advice is to look natural - a casting professional wants to see the 'real' you. So avoid too much make-up and don't ask me to airbrush out any wrinkles. Trust me to create some brilliant, honest portraits - give me a call - I am happy to meet up for coffee and talk over ideas for your shoot and provide advice about the best clothes to wear.

Tips on what to wear for a portrait shoot examples



Tags: spotlight, headshot, headshots

Author: David J Colbran

Liverpool photographer David J Colbran at the start of a personal project investigating colours and reflections.

Colour reflection experiments

Inspired by some recent colour and reflection experiments when on a holiday in Newcastle, I've had a delve back through my archive and found some nice image contrasts.

Liverpool freelance photographer details his expertise photographing exhibition and trade stands at the biggest shows around the UK

Exhibition Stand Photography at Trade Shows and Conferences

I have been photographing exhibition stands for many years and just realised I have never really posted about it before. Perhaps a few images in the end of year review, or as part of a bigger conference job. But I've been commissioned recently by a few stand designers and thought I would write some thoughts and highlight some favourite images from the archive.

Liverpool photographer has some portrait images in the business press trade magazine with a law client from a recent commission

Portraits in the press and social media

I had some portrait images in the business press trade magazine with a law client from a recent commission ....

"As a new business, it was very important to me to get the right publicity photographs for my marketing materials. When I met David, he listened carefully to what I was trying to achieve with my brand, and then produced fabulous photographs that were exactly what I needed. He was extremely professional throughout but also nice and friendly. Myself and my clients found it easy to relax with him, which was essential to create the right vibe for the shoot. I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone."

Fiona, Business owner at Wellbeing Therapies by Fiona

Liverpool photography for start-up businesses - image example

Let's start a new project together