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What to Wear for Headshot & Personal Branding Photos | Arlington Heights Corporate Photographer

Updated: May 23, 2021

If you have an upcoming headshot or branding session and are not sure what outfit might look best for you (or how to coordinate your team), I've got you covered! In this post, I'll give you styling tips and things to consider when choosing what to wear for your next business photo:

Traditional vs. Contemporary Headshots

Arlington Heights headshot photographer

The first thing is to decide whether you would like a traditional or contemporary headshot.

Traditional headshots are usually taken with studio lighting and a solid colored black, white, or grey backdrop. I bring this set up to your place of business so it is super convenient for your whole team!

Most clients choose to dress in business or business casual attire for these classic headshot photos. Keep in mind if you have a dark background like black or grey, you may want to wear a shirt that is a different color to give your photo a pop or you could wear a dark top which gives a sleek vibe to the photo.

Arlington Heights headshot photographer

Contemporary headshots have an environmental backdrop and can be taken outdoors, at your

place of business, or indoors at an alternate location. One could say that contemporary headshots have a more relaxed feel; however, you could wear either casual or business attire for these photos.

If you need frequent photos of yourself for your business social media account, contemporary headshots can be taken as part of a personal branding session where we can take a variety of environmental photos. For more tips on how to define your brand image and make the most of your personal branding session, CLICK HERE. You may choose to update your contemporary headshots frequently with seasonally relevant photos as well.

Outfit Do's & Dont's

If you need an outfit for your upcoming headshot or personal branding session and are not sure where to start, consider these suggestions to look your best.

Arlington Heights Corporate Business Photographer
Arlington Heights Corporate Business Photographer


  • Do wear something that fits comfortably, makes you feel confident, and represents your style.

  • Do try on your outfit in the mirror before your session to check for any bunching, pulling, or visible undergarments showing.

  • Do wear solid colored shirts / blouses or minimal patterns

  • Do pick neutral, gemstone, pastel, or brand color palettes for your top

  • Do add accessories like earrings, necklaces, and hair pieces

  • Do layer your top with cardigans, blazers, and suit jackets

  • Do dress for the weather if your session will be outdoors

Arlington Heights Corporate Business Photographer
Arlington Heights Corporate Business Photographer


  • Don't wear a sleeveless shirt / blouse

  • Don't wear bold patterns like cheetah, large polka dots, or zebra print (unless this relates to your brand)

  • Don't wear bright colors like neon which can be distracting from your face

  • Don't wear clothes that are ill fitting or uncomfortable

Team Headshots

You can choose whether you would like your team team to all dress the same (for example wearing suits or uniforms) or prefer that the headshots have complimentary but differentiated outfits. If you would like your team members to show their different styles, we can still create a coordinated look when all the photos are put together by following some styling guidelines.

Arlington Heights Headshot Photographer Anytime Fitness
Arlington Heights Headshot Photographer Anytime Fitness

The first guideline would be to choose a color palette with a few choices that might compliment one another well. My favorite example of this is everyone on the team chooses a gem stone color. Dark blues, deep purples, emerald greens, and burgundy offer a rich pop of color and are not distracting. Other complimentary combinations include white, black, and / or grey as well as your brand colors! For example, if your brand colors are purple and white like Anytime Fitness, you may want to incorporate those colors into your team's outfits as the shirt color, an accessory in the photo, or in the background. Accessories like earrings, jewelry, and hair pieces are a great way to showcase individuality while sticking to team wardrobe guidelines. One example may be if your team will all be wearing black collared shirts, you may want them to add their own accessories to show some of their personalities and preferences.

Arlington Heights Headshot Business Photographer
Arlington Heights Headshot Business Photographer

I hope you found these tips helpful in planning what to wear for you headshot or personal branding session.

Contact me for any additional assistance and to discuss your unique business needs.


Jessica M. Photography is an Arlington Heights, IL personal branding, headshot, corporate event, and business photographer. She services the Northwest Suburbs including Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Northbrook, Barrington, Schaumburg, Mount Prospect, Glenview, Deerfield, Vernon Hills, Park Ridge and more throughout Lake and Cook County in Illinois.


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