Styling Tips for a Successful Photo Session

Whether it’s for an individual or corporate headshot, or an actor headshot, preparation is key to a successful headshot experience. It is important to have the right clothes and accessories and to take proper care of the skin, hair, and lips.

Business Headshots for Men

The focus should not be on the clothes. Choose a clean and well-pressed suit jacket, a crisp shirt in neutral colors, and ties that go well with both. The shirt should fit perfectly – neither tight nor loose. Ill- fitting or brightly-colored shirts or ties are distracting to the eye. Patterned ties should have a current style or look. A lot of YouTube videos are available to help with tie-tying skills.

headshot tips from cincinnati headshot factory
The focus should be on your face - not your clothes - in a business headshot.
business headshot tips for women
Keeping clothing and jewelry basic will allow you to build and mix for different looks during the shoot.

Business Headshots for Women

For women, always have the basics and build up or mix and match from there. Prepare a fitted top, preferably long-sleeved, in black, white, and gray. Tank tops make a great base layer and make changing in the studio easier. Minimize patterns and bright colors since these can be a distraction. Jewelry should be minimal. Wear stud earrings. Avoid wearing necklaces since these generally do not work well with headshots.

Actors and Casual Style Headshots

The same basic rules apply even for laidback and casual headshots. It is always best to work with solid and neutral colors. Black, white, and gray are staple selections. Colors should compliment the skin tone – whether it’s warm, cool, or neutral. Bring shirts, turtlenecks, jackets, tank tops, and even hoodies for fun, mix-and-match options.
headshot tips for actors and casual style photos
Keep things neutral and complimentary for Actor and Casual Style Headshots.

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Personal Grooming Tips

Make up

Makeup is not recommended for men unless one has oily skin. Just apply light powder or an anti-shine mattifying gel if necessary. Make sure that skin is moisturized and lips are not chapped. Avoid using a moisturizer with SPF since this makes skin look shiny under studio lights. For women, makeup should not be overdone – just light, clean, and fresh. Avoid strong or heavy eyeliner and heavily-penciled eyebrows. Color should compliment the skin tone and should not be distracting. Make sure that lipstick color stays within the lips’ outline. Foundation on the face and neck should match. Bring a makeup kit along to the photo session for easy and convenient touch-ups.


Hair needs time to settle into a new haircut so take this into consideration when scheduling a headshot experience. Bring straightening or curling tools to the shoot to easily adjust hairstyle, if necessary. For men who want to do photos with facial hair and without, schedule enough time to shave at the studio and change looks. Use a new blade and moisten face with hot water to avoid razor burns that might show in photos. Use quality shaving cream.