What to Wear for Your Corporate Headshot

One of the questions we get asked most frequently is, “What should I wear for my corporate head shot?”  With the increased importance of having a strong LinkedIn profile for business partners and headhunters to find you, and the greater emphasis that customers have of putting a face to a name that they are dealing with in business these days, it’s now more important than ever before to have a strong corporate head shot.  And with that, of course, comes the dilemma of what to wear.  There is the question of whether to look as formal as possible or to dress down in a more relaxed yet still professional way; there is the quandary of whether to go basic or to add a touch of personal flair to show your style; there is the headache of figuring out if you should wear a tie or not.  There is no ‘right’ answer to any of these questions, and the solution really lies in the industry in which you work, the level of job you have, how you want to be perceived and what types of leads you want to generate from your headshot.  Below, we give you some of our tips on how to dress for your corporate headshot.

This shot of actor Clive Owen by GQ, to us, is a great reference to use as a corporate headshot, in terms of everything from style to body language to expression.  Starting with style, Mr. Owen has selected a classic, yet impeccably fit blue suit.  This is a great choice, because a bit of color is always nice in a headshot, as most people tend to go with black, and the blue is still classic enough that it would not scare off any conservative business leads.  Next, the choice of the striped blue shirt, paired with the patterned tie and checkered pocket square are all excellent touches to give his look a more modern touch.  The final flourish of the small tie bar and his rectangular watch add just enough personal style to his look without going over the top.  Of course, his open and relaxed body language, compared with his engaging and genuine smile add to the brilliance of this headshot.  Overall, an excellent headshot direction for anyone working in a client-facing role.


From afar, this looks like a pretty standard headshot, with the black suit, the crisp shirt (similar to our ‘Zurich’ shirt) and the patterned tie.  However, on closer inspection, you notice that the pattern of the tie features whimsical sailboats, instead of what you might have thought were standard fleur de lis or triangles.  This choice could have been made for several reasons; perhaps he is an avid sailor and wanted to inject a bit of his personality into this look, alternatively he might work in the marine industry.  Either way, the print on the tie is just interesting enough to make you want to learn more, and the overall look is just classic enough that the tie isn’t gimmicky.  And of course, the purpose of a good headshot is to capture attention; this headshot does just that.  An excellent headshot direction for someone working in an upper-management position looking to show a hint of their lifestyle and personality, or for someone working in a niche industry.  (Headshot by Todd Tyler.)

This is a very classic headshot look that you often see on LinkedIn.  The black suit, with the open-collar crisp white shirt is a safe combination.  Lots of people ask us, “Should I wear and suit and shirt for my headshot, even if I don’t work in an industry that requires it?”  The answer is always yes.  It shows you have put in the effort.  Even if you’re a freelancer who regularly works out of a cafe in a tee and jeans or a day-trader who works from home or an athlete that wears a sweatsuit to training, turning up in a suit for your headshot means you take your role seriously.  Go with a simple nice jacket and white shirt look.  These are two pieces you should have in your wardrobe repertoire, anyway.  To add a bit of interest to your look, pick a white shirt in a textured fabric such as our ‘London’ shirt.  This headshot direction works best for people who may not work in an industry that requires them to wear a full suit and tie to work.  (Headshot by Photography Project.)

Just starting out on the corporate ladder?  Freshly graduated and about to hit the workplace?  Get yourself a strong headshot and make sure you dedicate some time to crafting a strong LinkedIn page.  Your first corporate headshot should show that you are willing to put on that suit, put your head down and get to work.  As a corporate young gun, the hard truth is that work is not about you.  You are there to work for your boss, for the company, for the bigger picture.  Plain and simple.  Therefore, your look should be clean cut and straight forward, without making too much of a strong statement.  Go for an impeccably cut black suit, crisp white shirt and a nice tie.  Use the tie as an opportunity to say a little something about yourself, but don’t go overboard.  We would suggest going with a tie in a muted color, though the texture and pattern is up to you.  Go for a more contemporary slim cut suit and shirt (such as our ‘Tokyo’ style) to show you’re a modern thinker.  Get everything tailored so that it fits perfectly; this shows attention to detail and a conscientious mind.  As you progress up the coroprate ladder, get new headshots taken that reflect the level of expertise and experience you have.  (Headshot by Tracy Wright Corvo.)

If you work in a conservative industry, such as corporate banking or are in senior management at an international corporation, this is a great headshot reference for you.  The look is just classic enough that you won’t look out of place in your conservative industry, but also just colorful enough that it sets you apart from others.  The blue suit is a nice choice, instead of black or grey.  And the addition of the sharp green tie is an excellent way to add a bit of color to what might otherwise be a bit of a forgettable headshot.  Finishing off the look with a crisp white shirt and nicely folded pocket square keeps the look classically grounded.  It’s important to note as well that this gentleman is older in age, which is why this green tie also works particularly well; sharper accessories tend to work better on more mature gentlemen or men in more senior roles.  An excellent inspiration shot for a headshot if you work in senior management in a conservative industry.  (Headshot by Ingrid Pape-Sheldon.)