Yes, Solid Colors Work Best:
Please avoid patterns and busy prints. They distract from you which is why you are paying me money, to take pictures of you. In 99% of the time, avoid a pure solid white top. This includes men’s dress shirts unless it will be mostly covered by a suit coat or other covering. The white shirt against a white background will give us the “Floating Head” syndrome. This is not the look we are looking for with headshots or portraits. A wardrobe with texture within reason, however, often works nicely. For example most people will want to avoid wide vertical strips as that tends to make you look wider. Checks are not good for your headshot.
Avoid a Bright Colors:
Like white, any bright colors can sometimes distract. Again, we are taking pictures of you and not your clothes. Pastel colours and shades of gray are preferable. Muted colors and earth tones also work well as long as they dont clash with skin tones. If you have not had “your colors done” then think about it. Some colors will be a power color for you and some will just look bad when placed next to your coloring. The better prepared you are, the better the head shots will work for you. David Zyla has a book that is a very good guide for this.
If You are Wearing a Suit Should Also Avoid Solid White or Bright Colors:
Also, please avoid distracting ties, think classic and stylish. Ties can be distracting because, like shirts, they might be brightly colored, contain distracting patterns or prints, or both.
Your Casual Attire Should Include a Selection of Different Tops or Shirts:
The selections (3 to 6) you bring to the shoot should include varying types of necklines, including those with collars and those without. You will want to avoid turtleneck shirts or sweaters since they can crowd the face. Female subjects should avoid necklines that expose much, if any, cleavage. We want to show off your face, not your other assets.
Avoid Short-Sleeved Shirts or Sleeveless Tops:
A short sleeve or no sleeve can risk making your arms look big. Of course, if we are trying to show of a muscular build, that does change the dynamics a bit. But again, for headshots, we are concentrating on the face.
Wardrobe Should Be Clean, Freshly-Pressed, and Free of Wrinkles:
A headshot featuring clothing that appears as if the clothing may have slept in it is generally not a good thing. Treat the headshot much like an interview and be clean and crisp.
Avoid Jewelry or Other Shiny Distracting Things That Compete:
We are not advertising your bling, we are selling your face. Small Earrings or hoops are fine but I would recommend small studs or hoops rather than large hoops or otherwise distracting types of ear jewelry. In general, jewelry in headshots is best when it’s kept at a minimum. Or in the case of items like nose piercings, they should not be in place at all.
8. If You are Female, Wear a Bra:
You would think this is self evident but I find that it needs to be said. Wear the bra for the headshot. Preferably, bras of colors that are invisible through the subject’s outer wardrobe are recommended. This is not the time to wear the black come hither bra with the hot pink dress.
Your Clothing or Wardrobe Should Fit You Properly:
I don’t think much of an explanation is necessary. If the shirt or top is too tight, get one that fits properly and is comfortable. Having the shirt tighten up and bind your arms is not sexy or even pleasant to see. Watching the buttons strain and taking bets as to when they will self destruct is not what you want the decision makers to be talking about when you hand them the headshot.
Do Not Show the Tattoos:
While many of us do not have an issue with ink, we are not selling ink, we are selling your face. The ink can and will be a distraction that you do not want while the decision makers are looking at your face trying to decide if you fit into their plans. So wear something that covers up the tats for the moment.