Tips to Making a Great Professional Headshot for Men
May 5, 2020 | By: Tracy Allard
A few key items play a major role in the making of a great headshot that you'll be proud to have displayed on your company's website or LinkedIn. Whether it's a session in the studio in Carrollton, or on location at your place of business in the greater Dallas - Fort Worth metroplex, the concepts hold true for both.
Dress for your industry. If you're in a traditional one like finance or legal, think classic. Pick your favorite suit that is preferably a dark color like navy blue or gray. Even if it's your favorite, if it doesn't fit you well, it won't look good on camera. Choose a suit that doesn't bunch up when you button it, or sit down in it, and a shirt and tie that match each other and the suit. If you're in a more creative field such as advertising or tech, smart casual is a good choice and wouldn't look out of place as a suit and tie might.
Avoid bold, distracting patterns or colors. Clothing with tight grids or a small herringbone pattern can have a moiré pattern effect on camera (think of that anchorman's tie that was moving and grooving as he read the news), so stay away from grid-like patterns. Thin stripes that are a little further apart are okay.
Ties look best when their tone lands between the suit and the shirt, so a light shirt, a dark suit, and a tie in a shade somewhere between them. Try to stay away from really reflective, shiny silk ties. You're welcome to bring 2-3 shirt and tie options and I can help you decide what will look best on camera.
I don't recommend dying or cutting your hair right before your headshot session. Freshly colored hair can look fake and unnatural on camera and cause the viewer to look at your hair more than your face. A new haircut also looks better after a week or two, and hair color looks more natural, so lather, rinse, repeat for a few days and then scheduled your session.
If you have a beard, trim it evenly so it’s nicely groomed. If you’re going clean-shaven, get a good shave that morning. The best rule of thumb for facial hair is to commit to your look - either a beard, mustache, or nothing at all. Anything scruffy or stubbly in between is not advisable. Darker colored beards tend to be accentuated in photos so I suggest trimming so it's not too thick.
If you don't wear a tie, avoid an all white shirt as without a jacket and tie to break it up, your shirt will be competing with your face for attention.
If you wear a button-down shirt, it's best to wear a jacket or sweater of some kind to layer the look. If not, choose a darker color shirt or something with pockets or details to avoid it looking like a head floating on a blank, boxy shirt. You should unbutton a button or two, so don't wear a crew-neck T-shirt underneath. If you normally wear a T-shirt, choose a v-neck.
A logo shirt is fine if it's appropriate for your industry, your position and the intended use of the image, such as a "meet our team" page of a website.
Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography is a Certified Professional Photographer with the organization Professional Photographers of America; a designation held by fewer than 2,500 photographers nationwide and a hallmark of consistency, technical skill, artistry and professionalism. Penny Whistle specializes in corporate headshots and personal portraits both in her studio located in historic downtown Carrollton as well as on location in Coppell, Southlake, Flower Mound, Denton, Frisco and surrounding communities in Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas.