• sarahrypma

Southwest Michigan Commercial Photographer | Wardrobe Guide for Professional Headshots


It's time to clean the proverbial cyber dust off your website and update your professional headshots but now the question remains, what should you wear? I have been taking headshots of professionals in Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan since 2013 and I put together this guide to help you prepare for a successful session. Here are some timeless looks and tips that have photographed well over the years.


I created an acronym to help highlight the 5 key wardrobe components for you - TILED.


Tailored. Goldilocks didn't want her porridge too hot or too cold, it had to be "just-right". Like Goldilock's porridge, your clothes should be "just-right" too, not too loose or too tight. Maybe you lost or gained weight but you still want to fit into your favorite suit. Before you do, think like Goldilocks and find an outfit that fits you "just-right".

Tip: Take the extra time to iron or dry clean your wardrobe and don't put on your jacket/blazer until just before your session to keep the wrinkles away.



Individualize. Do you have a favorite color or a brand that you want to highlight in your portrait? I have worked with financial planners with a target audience of women-owned businesses (#planlikeagirl) and companies who want to incorporate their branding into a few shots in their sessions.

Tip: If you choose to bring a color option or branded clothing, also bring a neutral wardrobe option, so you can have portrait options to work with across your marketing materials. Check that the color you choose doesn't cast color onto your skin / face, as bright colors have a tendency to cast.


Layers. Layers photograph well and they lend themselves to a variety of shots. Add a clean, crisp blazer or jacket over a pressed collar shirt for a man or over a silk camisole for a woman.

Tip: If you want to incorporate color but don't want to fully commit to a bright color, pair a black or neutral blazer over a colored top for a pop without the punch.



Emphasize. Is there a particular color that makes your eyes pop or that looks good with your skin tone?

Tip: If you don't know the answer to the above question, ask your loved ones which color looks best on you and compliments your eyes or skin tone.



Details. Chipped nail polish, rogue nose hairs, and untrimmed/unshaven face stubble are just a few things you don't want in your portraits...the details matter.

Tip: Book that manicure or haircut (a week or so before your session) and take the excuse to pamper yourself.



Remember: TILED (Tailored, Individualize, Layer, Emphasize and Details)

Overall tips for women:

  • Avoid long / dangling necklaces (they often get cut off in the crop)

  • Pamper yourself (manicure + makeup) before your session

  • Wear a hair product to smooth fly-away hairs or bring one with you to apply in the bathroom just before your headshot

Overall tips for men:

  • If you are wearing a jacket, choose a thicker jacket that lays well. Avoid wearing it until just before your headshot to avoid wrinkles

  • Have a clean shave or trimmed beard / facial hair for your session

  • Make sure your undershirt is not visible under your collared shirt

If you are wearing a tie:

  • Avoid loud, distracting patterns on your tie and check that your tie knot is straight and square

  • Coordinate the width of your tie with the width of lapels in the jacket (don't wear a skinny tie with a jacket w/ wide lapels)

Still not sure what to wear? Think black. There is a reason you can't go wrong with the little black dress (lbd) because black is classic and always en vogue.

For specific wardrobe combinations (tie or no tie) go here wardobe guide .


Are you ready to book your session? Contact me and let's chat.