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What are the Best Colours to Wear for a Professional Headshot?

Julia Zaetta colourful headshot

Professional headshots are an excellent marketing tool for individuals and companies.  


When it comes to getting a perfect headshot, an important and often overlooked component is the selection of clothing colours that complement either yourself, your brand or both.  


The right colour can draw attention and create a powerful visual effect amongst prospects, clients and future co-workers.  


Before we get started, there are books upon books written up about colour theory, there are also hundreds of books about colour choices for clothing depending on your skin tone and complexion. Whilst this article will not be as in depth as these, we are hoping a few tips will be helpful to you when looking through your wardrobe.  


What Colour to Wear for Corporate Headshots?  


Linkedin says that profiles with a headshot get 21x more profile views however adding some more visual layers, including colour can certainly help make your headshot more memorable.  


  1. Neutral or Solid Colours 


Solid and neutral colours always work well as the eye is used to seeing them and they have little chance of overwhelming the frame. Light neutral shades include white and cream, while dark ones include navy and black.   


  1. Bold Shades around the Neckline  


Darker shades surrounding the neckline, such as the lapel of a blazer or the neckline of a top itself will help you draw focus to the face. This is often preferred over wearing a distinctive necklace, which will normally compete for attention instead of directing attention elsewhere  


  1. Classics Always Rock 


Classic business clothing options for a professional headshot, such as navy, blue and dark grey look good on practically anyone. Classics, however, are very much industry dependent. Lawyers, financial services and other traditional, conservative industries tend to prefer understated, darker outer options whilst artists and designers are not so confined by a monochrome colour palette.  


  1. Black and White Photography 


If you plan to use black and white photography, we recommend you to for contrasting colours and tonality. For example, a bright white-coloured shirt with tie and navy-blue blazer will work well. A pastel top with a light grey jacket wont translate so well into black and white due to the lack of contrast. Once colour has been removed from the image, the tonality of the clothing will also be more like the skin tone so it will lack overall punchiness.   


  1. Deeper Colours Pop 


Instead of picking white, yellow, and other pale colours, for outdoor headshot sessions, consider bringing some deep colours. They will help you reduce the amount of light reflecting from them and ensure you do not appear washed out.  


  1. Avoid Graphics and Patterns  


We always recommend choosing a shirt or blouse of solid colours instead of something with a bold or graphic pattern. For branding photo shoots, it will help you highlight the company logos and slogans, and professional headshots will be more focused on the individual, without creating any distractions.  


  1. While Layering Wear Complementary Shades 


Layers help to add more interest but make sure that the colour combinations that you wear when layering complement each other. We advise keeping the colour combinations simple.  


Look at some of our favourite colour combinations below:  



Goes well with  


Dark brown, purple, light green  




Light blue, red, black, and dark blue  



White, pale green, dark green, and dark red  



Dark purple, dark green, black, and dark blue  


Red, black, grey, and blue  



Peach, dark blue, dark green, and dark red  



Pale green, red, pale purple, and dark blue   


If you have planned to incorporate a pastel shade, add a dark-coloured blazer to preventing it from appearing lighter than it is.  


  1. Consider your Goals and your Industry  


Whilst picking an outfit colour, it is a good idea to keep your industry in mind as more traditional jobs tend to favour a more traditional approach to colour (black, navy, white, grey). That being said, if the goal of your corporate headshot is to stand out in a conservative environment, going against the grain with bright, punchy colours can also be effective.  


  1. Look to Nature for Inspiration 


You only need to look at a flower arrangement, fruit bowl or in the sky at different times of the day to see colour harmonies in action. Reds with greens, green with lavender, soft blue with pink or orange.  


  1. Do you want to create Harmony or Tension? 


Either can be achieved with a deliberate use of colour. Colours closer to one another on the colour wheel will yield a softer look, those directly opposite will provide the contrast, whilst remaining complimentary. Considering the goal of your professional headshot will also help you decide on this. If you are a therapist for instance, going for a monochromatic or analogous colour scheme may be more effective at creating a sense of peace.  


11: Colour Psychology  


Colours also have meanings which can add additional layers to any headshot. There is a reason when many corporate logos focus on dark blue as a core colour. Colour psychology is known to vary from country to country but generally for western countries, the below colour meanings and inferences hold true.  


  • Blue: Dependable, calm, trustworthy, loyal  
  • Black mysterious, ambiguous  
  • White: pure, perfect, innocent  
  • Red: passionate, determined, energetic  
  • Yellow: happy, intellectual  
  • Orange: optimistic, sociable  
  • Purple: Royal, imaginative  
  • Gold: successful, luxurious  
  • Green: Nature, growth  
  • Pink: girly, playful, nurturing, loving  
  • Brown: Earthy, secure  
  • Gray: Cool, unemotional  


12: Flashes of colour  


You can use colours to accent your eyes or a brand colour.  

Referencing your brand colour with a subtle flash of colour can be highly effective and will create a greater sense of balance of a website when headshots are featured on the same page as a logo. Think necktie, belt, earrings, lipstick, pocket square, these are great and subtle ways of referencing a colour without making it too obvious (and cheesy).  


Final Words  


Colour can be a powerful weapon in your corporate headshot shoot and it pays to consider your colours, even if you intend to have black and white business headshots. They make a difference in how well your pictures appear, stand out and ensure that they send out the right brand message.

You can view our recent professional headshots and editorial portraits for inspiration on colour.

Hero Shot Photography

Hero Shot – Linkedin

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