Professional Portraits: Suggestions for your Corporate Headshot

Triple Self-Portrait, by Norman Rockwell

Triple Self-Portrait, by Norman Rockwell

Before cameras were invented, and even more so afterward,  professionals have sensed the importance of putting their best face forward.   “What price would you put on your head? Your headshot is one of the most powerful business tools that you have at your disposal. A great headshot will communicate professionalism and show how “business ready” you are, it will also enable people to engage with you and actually help you to raise your profile.”- Carl Mauger, LCTH Photography

Suggestions When Having Your Corporate Headshot Taken:


The Self Portrait 1907, Pablo Picasso. Copyright

The Self Portrait 1907, Pablo Picasso. Copyright

Clothing is an important factor in your headshot, but it is definitely  not the focus.  With proper clothing your face commands attention and clothing becomes secondary.  Your clothing should enhance your facial features.  Wearing the wrong clothing takes attention away from where you want it- your face.

  • Dress in the fashion which you feel best represents both you and your company.
  • For a formal business portrait, dress as you would if you were making a presentation to your most important clients or associates.
  • For a more casual portrait, you still want to wear something that looks upscale and smart. Perhaps a blazer, a sweater over a button-down shirt or a blouse.


Self Portrait, 1889 by Vincent Van Gogh

Wear a solid dark suit, a pressed & well-fitting white/light colored shirt, and a tie.  Avoid ties with loud prints & patterns, but you can still allow your personality to shine through with a colorful tie.  Jewel-toned ties make a bold statement without being over the top.


Self Portrait by Helen Anne Petrie

  • Wear a solid suit and a light blouse or simple blouse with a skirt or pants will get the job done nicely. Wear something that looks good from the waist up.
  • Try to pick something that falls well on your shoulders and flatters your neckline. A “V” neckline will have a slimming effect (elongating the face). A scoop neck or crew neck blouse will typically make a face look wider.
  • Darker shades are more flattering and slimming, but remember – black is not always the best color, try navy, dark-gray, chocolate, forest green, deep teal, eggplant or a rich caramel.

{2} DONT’S

Self Portrait, 1986 by Andy Warhol

Self Portrait, 1986 by Andy Warhol

  • Bold stripes, plaids, checks, and polka-dots; they can be confusing, and most importantly to note, do not photograph well. Some simple patterns can work, as long as they’re not too distracting.
  • Light colors such as beige, tan, peach, pink, white, & yellow approximate flesh tones and, on film, appear to washout your face.
  • Solid black tends to photograph flat, and can cause your photo to lack detail and dimension.
  • Also avoid wearing turtlenecks, loud ties, or flashy jewelry.  These divert attention from your face.  Stick with simple and elegant.
  • Avoid wearing short sleeves for a head-and-shoulders portrait.
  • Try not to choose something that’s obviously a summer/winter outfit or anything that’s too trendy.


THE DETAILS: Hair and Make-up for Women

Self Portrait Dedicated to Dr. Eloesser, 1940 by Frida Kahlo

Self Portrait Dedicated to Dr. Eloesser, 1940 by Frida Kahlo

  • If you are doing your own makeup, apply as you might for a formal evening out.
  • For the “I never wear makeup” ladies, you might want to at least use some foundation and light gloss for your photo session.
  • Remember to bring a hairbrush or comb to the photo shoot for any flyaways.

THE DETAILS: Grooming for Men

Self Portrait in Striped T-Shirt, 1906 by Henri Matisse

Self Portrait in Striped T-Shirt, 1906 by Henri Matisse

  • Grooming usually means a clean shave, trimming up a beard, mustache, or goatee, and little tidying up your hair.
  • Shave early in the day to let any razor-burn dissipate or any nicks to heal before the shoot.
  • For a late-day portrait session, if you have a heavy beard, a touch-up shave at mid-day is recommended, especially to mitigate five-o’clock shadow.
  • Avoid cutting your hair the day before your shoot.  It will look like you just got a haircut.


“Teecher” (aka David McCosh) Copyright Matt Collins

  • If you wear glasses most of the time, we recommend wearing them for your portrait.
  • Reflections can cause a problem.  A solution would be take the lenses out of your glasses, or bring an extra frame without lenses.

Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) 1503-1506, by Leonardo da Vinci



…And finally,

SMILE from within! Think of something pleasant, like a fond memory, a walk on the beach, or your first kiss, to put the icing on your corporate headshot.  So what price would you put on your head?  With a professional photographer to help you produce beautiful corporate headshot, the price of your head is sure to increase your business and gladden your future clients.

For more information about our headshot services or samples of our work, please contact The VSI Group at 678-368-4444 or

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