First of all, you want to be comfortable with your choice so it’s worth setting aside a few minutes in your schedule to make the decision rather than having to rush and grab the first thing you see as you leave for your photo shoot.
You want to appear confident and comfortable in your outfit but the main focus should be your face and eyes so you don’t want to choose anything that will draw too much attention away from that. For this reason, it’s probably best to avoid bold patterns, large logos and anything too cute or fashionable (unless you’re in a high fashion business). Think neutral and classic to create a timeless image.
This might be a bit of an obvious point to make but you also want to make sure that your chosen outfit is clean (like you’d leave the house any other way) but more importantly, neatly ironed. Wrinkles and creases will show in the finished image and might take a little polish off your appearance.
Of course there are exceptions by profession but you don’t normally want to choose anything too bulky as it will draw attention and also can make you look bigger than you are. Slim fitting and tailored is usually the way to go. On the other extreme though, you might want to avoid skin tight and too much skin on show – the brain will always direct the eye is to look at skin tones in the photos first and you want folk looking at your picture to immediately engage with your face rather than your arms or cleavage.
Try to find something in a colour that flatters your skin tone or highlights your eye colour. Clothing shades that are too close to your skin colour can make you appear washed out – there’s a definite school of thought that dark colours on fair skin or light colours on darker skin will emphasise your eyes and smile.
You may consider selecting a color that can help to bring out the colors in your eyes. For example, if you have blue eyes, then you may consider a blue or grey shirt. Or, if you have brown or green eyes, then earthy tones can be very complimentary to your eye color.
It’s worth having a five minute scoot about online at what other people in your industry are doing for their head shots – you’ll soon realise what you think works (and what doesn’t) and it’s a great place to take inspiration from if you need it. As a guideline, you’ll want to dress in the style that you adopt for your daily work – although there probably are exceptions to this by profession – that way, viewers immediately get a strong and unified impression of what you do and who you are.
The good news is that all this consideration really only needs to be applied to the top half of your body as you don’t normally have full length shots taken unless you are in an industry where your body size and shape is a feature. Of course, you’re welcome to include full length shots if you would like them, you just need to ask but under normal circumstances, we’d focus on head and shoulders as many online profile pictures are quite small so you want folk to be able to clearly see your face.
Of course, we’re always happy to help and advise where we can so if you have questions, please just get in touch.