Make The Most Of Your Headshot

A great headshot is no longer just required for formal business publications, as most people have a social media profile, and there are two key ingredients to this – a great photographer, and YOU. The ‘you’ bit requires you to be well groomed, wear a nice smile, and the right colour and style of ‘top’.

Getting the right colour is a two-sided coin – on one side: what makes you look and feel good, and on the other: what will make you look ‘attractive’ to your client, buyer, prospective?

When it comes to headshots black is not necessarily the most flattering colour
When it comes to headshots black is not necessarily the most flattering colour

It’s really important to get the colour right as wearing the right colours will ensure you look healthy, whereas some colours can age us or make our skin tone look ashen. It is said that the best colours are the ones that look “good on you” and those colours will be ones which compliment your skin tone, eyes and hair colour.

Your choice of colour should not be so strong as to detract from your face, so in general if you have pale

colouring – stick to softer colours, if you have strong/deep colouring – the colour you wear should follow suit, and don’t wear a warm colour like orange if you have a cool complexion and vice versa.  One idea is to go for a colour similar to your eye colour, but be careful of a colour too close to your skin tone as you may look naked!

Headshot in dove grey tie front
A great example of colours that work for the client

The colour you wear will make a statement, for example red may come across as too strong, aggressive and direct… if this is what you want to say about yourself and your business, go for it. Black is another colour that doesn’t always send out the right message as it can be too harsh when most headshots are about giving some a glimpse of you – the person. If your picture is formal, consider navy or charcoal instead, and give some life to these – ladies with a scarf or necklace (nothing too fussy) and gents with your tie.

Other considerations include:

–        The background you are being pictured against: for example colours are likely to look harsher against a white background

–        Texture: something sparkly for example will reflect and rougher fabrics tend to look more matt.

–        Where the image will be used, e.g. will it compliment or conflict with the web page it’s going on.

At the end of the day – it’s your headshot: it may be used in multiple places and it should last you for a while so make sure you are wearing what best reflects who you are.

My top three tips are:

  1. Get your colours done, if necessary, and wear the right colour and shade for your colouring – it can make all the difference between a good photo and one that shows you at your best.
  2. Think about what signals your colour choice is giving off.
  3. Carry a few different colour options with you… you may find a colour looks different on camera from how you perceive it.


Written by Denise from Damson Belle Image Consulting. You can also follow her on Twitter @DenDamBelle