September 20, 2023

Professional Headshot Styling Tips:

A Scottsdale Photographer’s Guide

In the world of professional photography, especially in Scottsdale, Arizona, a headshot is more than just a photo—it’s a representation of your personal and professional brand. As a seasoned Scottsdale photographer, I’ve captured countless headshots, and I understand the importance of presenting oneself in the best light. Here’s a comprehensive guide to ensure your headshot stands out:

1. The Essence of a Great Headshot

A headshot should exude professionalism while also showcasing your personality. It’s essential to wear clothing that boosts your confidence, complements your physique, and aligns with your industry.

2. Color Choices Matter

Opt for colors that enhance your skin, eyes, and hair. Solid colors are preferable as they draw attention to your face without distractions. Neutral tones like gray, black, navy, and soft blues are timeless. However, if you’re feeling daring, jewel tones can add a vibrant touch.

3. Structured and Timeless Clothing

Trends come and go, but classic pieces remain evergreen. Choose structured outfits that flatter your body type. Avoid fabrics that wrinkle easily, such as linen, and stay away from boxy styles that might not be flattering.

4. Layers and Accessories

Layers, like blazers and vests, can add depth to your headshot. However, when it comes to jewelry, less is more. Simple pieces that don’t overshadow your face are ideal.

5. Grooming is Paramount

Men should consider getting a fresh trim, while women should opt for makeup that accentuates their features without being overpowering. A general rule is to wear about 25% more makeup than usual. Ladies, consider wearing your hair down for a more relaxed look.

6. Tips for Men

A crisp button-up shirt, with or without a tie, paired with a jacket, can never go wrong. Pay attention to details like grooming your eyebrows and ensuring your eyes look bright and clear.

7. Planning for Branding Sessions

For those looking for a more editorial feel for personal branding, consider multiple outfits and backgrounds. Bring a mix of neutral and vibrant colors, and don’t forget to layer for varied looks.

8. Group Photos

For team photos, coordinating colors can create a cohesive look. However, for larger groups, it’s essential to allow individuals to choose colors that best suit them.

A headshot is a powerful tool in the professional realm. With the right clothing, colors, and grooming, you can ensure your headshot is a true reflection of your personal and professional brand.


  • Ladies – 3/4 or full length sleeves  are almost always more flattering than short sleeves. If you have toned arms & shoulders, sleeveless can work well.
  • Some women feel sleeveless tops may show too much skin, so in this case, a higher neckline is suggested, or bring a blazer.
  • Avoid very strong patterns like bold, wide horizontal strips (those add weight)
  • Avoid busy animal prints, large polka dots or geometric, block patterns. Avoid logos.
  • Avoid linen, it wrinkles upon touch and clothing wrinkles are rather difficult to Photoshop out
  • Heavy tweed blazers, or boxy double breasted ones may add to the appearance of weight
  • Avoid very low cut tops, or deep v-necks if you prefer cleavage not to show
  • Neon colors photograph weird and will completely distract from your face
  • To minimize your neck/jowel or chin area, consider a scarf, cowel neck top, or statement jewelry, or we can pop your shirt collar up
  • To minimize weight, choose darker solid colors, or layer with a dark, fitted blazer over a top

Outfit Planning for Lifestyle Branding Sessions

Because personal branding photo shoots are designed to capture various looks, you can opt for several outfits and backgrounds. Most people want approachable, lifestyle feeling photos with more of an editorial look for their branding and social media. 
Here are some suggestions in planning for these sessions:

  1. Bring several outfits/options! I can help you choose from your wardrobe what might photograph best.
  2. Bring layers – blazers, jean jackets, other outerwear, scarves, jewelry, etc.
  3. Bring a few staple accessories that could work well with your different looks.
  4. You can maximize different looks by changing just the top items (jeans or pants can be paired with different tops to give a variety of looks)
  5. Bring both neutral colors and jewel or pastel tones that look good on you.
  6. Consider getting your makeup and hair professionally done if you are able, but if you are not, just apply 20-30% more to compensate for the camera washing you out a little. I suggest a stronger eye – somewhere between day time and night time looks.