What to wear for a head shot portrait

I’m often asked what to wear for a head shot portrait. This, like your logo, is part of your brand. It represents you on your social media profiles and on your website.

We want your picture to go well with your brand, but we don’t want you to blend into it. The best photo is one where you look fantastic. Your photos need to stand out, at the same time, we don’t want a clash. So…

Solid colors work best. Avoid patterns. If you want to look classic, avoid clothing trends. We want people to notice your face, not your outfit. Wear a color that makes you look alive and healthy. Sounds funny, but that will depend up on your complexion or skin tone.

Here is one color system of 4 basic groups of colors associated with people’s complexions. See if one of these sets suits you best.

NOTE: The nickname listed has NOTHING to do with the time of year to wear it. It is just a nickname within a popular color-picking system for wardrobes. I only mention this because you may have heard of this color-picking system.

  • Cool, intense colors like magenta or navy blue.
    Nicknamed “Winter”
  • Warm, intense colors like salmon or lime.
    Nicknamed “Spring”
  • Cool, soft colors like periwinkle or lavender.
    Nicknamed “Summer”
  • Warm, soft colors like olive or mustard.
    Nicknamed “Autumn”

Example: My skin works best with Winter. Best color for me is a deep royal blue. I can also get away with Autumn colors because they are deep colors, but look like a corpse in Spring or Summer colors. If I wear a lighter colored top, it needs to be a deeper color than a pastel.

Tips to figure it out

  • We tend to gravitate to colors that work for us. Look at your closet. Which clothes tend to prompt compliments from people. That’s a clue about color.
  • Ask someone who both loves you and has good taste to spend 15 minutes to help you figure out which color looks best next to your face. Drape different solid colored clothes -one at a time – under your chin -could be pants or top or whatever because you’re not wearing them. You’re just checking the color next to your face. Ask this person to help you decide on the best color.
  • Want to find out if your complexion is warm or cool? Use the “Gold and Silver Test”. You can do this with the same friend who helps you with the colors or in front of a mirror. This time we’re simply comparing metallic gold and silver colors. Put a piece of metallic gold fabric or paper near your face, then do the same with a metallic silver piece of fabric or paper. You can see more of a bluish or yellowish tint. Bluish indicates cool undertones in your complexion and yellowish tint indicates warm undertones.

Other How -to Resources

There are lots of opinions out there on this topic. Opinions by nature say more about the person stating them than anything else. Look around, gather ideas, test them out, and then as always trust your own inner wisdom.

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