Professional Headshot Attire – Jacket or No?

– Dressing For Success: Professional Headshot Attire –

When it comes to your professional headshot attire, deciding what to wear can be a daunting task. The right outfit can make a significant impact on the impression you make, and the wrong outfit will send a bad signal. There’s science behind the theory of dressing for success, for more on this please check out this article in Scientific American

Regardless of the science and psychology, you’re goint to want to look your best for your headshot, no matter your choices. One of the most frequent questions we get from gentlemen is “should I wear a suit or sport jacket”. The answer is a bit nuanced and depends on factors such as your industry, your experience level, and your style. Not to mention the message you want to present to the world.

In general, a sport jacket or a suit provides a polished and professional look. In fact, not too long ago it was ubiquitous for professional headshot attire. Times have changed and so have fashion norms in the work place. 

Consider Your Industry: Do You Want To Fit In Or Stand Out?

Choosing to dress up or down depends on your industry and purpose of the headshot. Think about what you wear to work for a big meeting or when you are meeting new clients. For example, folks working in law, finance, politics or who hold a c-suite position will usually wear a suit. If you work in a creative field, a more casual outfit may be appropriate.

In any case, it’s essential to ask yourself what’s the norm in your industry. If you want to fit in, look at leaders in your company or industry. You don’t want to be overdressed or underdressed for the occasion. Unless you do. Meaning you may want to separate yourself from the crowd because your headshot is a chance to send a message.

Consider Your Audience: Future Employers, Clients or Investors?

Who will be seeing your headshot? If you’re in need of a headshot for a job search, you’ll want to dress professionally and show that you take the opportunity seriously. On the other hand, if you’re taking a headshot for your personal brand, you will want to show a bit more of your personality and style.

Again, a professional headshot is an opportunity to convey who your are and what you are capable of accomplishing. If you are an entrepreneur, an outside of the box thinker or disruptor, chances  are you don’t wear suits or sport coats. Certainly you’ll want to convey that in you professional headshot attire.

Discuss Your Attire With Your Photographer

Your photographer is your ally when it comes to selecting your headshot wardrobe. They have experience working with a variety of clients and can offer valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t. Take the time to discuss your professional attire with your photographer before the shoot. They can help you decide what will work best for your industry, audience, and desired impression.

Bring Options To Your Headshot Session

If you’re still unsure whether or not to wear a jacket, consider bringing two killer outfits to the shoot. You can use them in different ways to get different looks. For example, you could wear a suit jacket for a more formal look and then switch to a button-up shirt for a more casual look.

If you’d like to see some photos of what others have chosen to wear for their headshot, visit our portfolio page

In conclusion, deciding whether or not to wear a jacket for your professional headshot depends on a variety of factors, including your industry, audience, and desired impression. It’s best to discuss this with your photographer and consider your audience to ensure that you make the right impression. Ultimately, you want to be comfortable and confident in your attire, so choose something that makes you feel your best.

Below is an example of two nearly identical headshots. In the first one, Paul is wearing a sport coat and the next one, just a sweater. Can you tell the vibe has changed? Each of these photos can have a separate purpose, therefore it’s wise to bring options to your shoot. In the end you’ll have a couple of different photos to use on different online profiles.