Does your Headshot Paint a Thousand Words?

by Jennifer Beever

In talking to my graphic designer, Trish Weber, we stumbled upon the topic of tips for taking great business photos for marketing purposes. Many business people are more casual that ten years ago, but I thought this would be helpful for those of you who want to put your best foot forward.


  • If business casual:  Medium to dark shirts with collars.  No T-shirts or loud patterns!
  • If you wear a suit:  medium to dark suit or sport coat, worsted wool, smooth texture (not fuzzy), well-fitting, especially at the back of the collar.  Button at the waist, as you will be seated.  White shirt, pressed, good fit.
  • Fresh shave and haircut.
  • Eyeglass wearers: non-glare lenses, metal frames without lenses, properly adjusted so they’re not crooked.
  • A friendly and confident smile.


  • If you wear makeup: apply it as if you’re going out on the town (especially eyes).  Bring loose powder to reduce facial shine.  Medium to dark lipstick (not pearlescent).
  • If you wear a suit:  smooth fabric shirt, dress, or suit.  White V-neck blouse with a collar is most flattering with a suit.
  • If business casual:  Avoid patterns or words on t-shirts.  Long-sleeve, medium to dark colored shirts are better.  No low, scoop, or boat-neck shirts (unflattering).
  • Pastels are risky!
  • Simple jewelry.
  • Hair: having a “bad hair day” is the number one complaint of photography subjects!  Have your hair done or take extra care in styling.
  • Eyeglasses (see above).
  • A friendly and confident smile.

For me, the smile is the key. When I ask myself, “Do I want to do business with this person?” I want to see a smiling face (and I always notice smiling eyes). What do you think? What kind of headshots do you like best? Please comment.


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