What to Wear to Take Creative Headshots in 2023: Showcase Your Creativity

It’s 2023, and photography trends are changing rapidly. Instead of classic postures and poses, more photographers are turning to creative headshots that showcase individual style. This is your chance to make a statement with your look, but what does that mean?

There are so many options for taking creative headshots in this new decade! Whether you go for a modern, retro-inspired ensemble or something completely unexpected, having the right outfit can help set the tone of the photo session and bring out your personality on camera.

If you’re unsure how to dress for success, if you’re planning on taking some creative headshots next month—or at any point throughout this year—we’ve got some essential tips and inspirational looks to help you get started.

Creative Headshots: What is it?

Creative headshots break away from the traditional and formal headshots in corporate offices or actor portfolios. Instead, these headshots are all about showcasing your individuality and character. It is a snapshot that captures your essence, style, and uniqueness.

And there’s more to it than choosing a funky backdrop or a fantastic filter. It’s about authentic expression and personality shining through. The aim? To create a visually striking image that tells a story about who you are.

What are the Types of Creative Headshots?

While creative headshots can encompass a wide range of styles, we can categorize them into several types to help you decide which suits you best.

  • Casual Headshots: These snapshots are perfect for individuals who prefer a natural, relaxed aesthetic. Casual creative headshots often feature light-hearted and candid poses to create an inviting and friendly image. You’re free to wear what you feel most comfortable in—your favorite tee or a simple sundress. It’s all about expressing your everyday, unfiltered self.
  • Themed Headshots: If you’re one for drama and dynamism, themed headshots might be your calling. They revolve around a concept or motif—perhaps a retro vibe, a nature-inspired look, or even a superhero theme! Communicating your individuality and flair through unique settings and attire that reflect your chosen theme is vital.
  • Character Headshots: For actors, performers, or anyone needing to showcase various facets of their personality, character headshots are the way to go. They capture you portraying different roles or emotions, offering a glimpse into your versatility and range. Your outfit, makeup, and expression should align with your character.

Why Are Creative Headshots Important?

Creative headshots hold significant importance, particularly in today’s visually-driven world, where portraits are more than just pretty pictures. Here are six compelling reasons why:

  • Personal Branding: In an era where personal branding is paramount, creative headshots are your ticket to standing out in a crowd. They provide an authentic and appealing representation of your individuality, skills, and values. They’re your opportunity to make a memorable first impression online.
  • Professional Presence: Despite their artistic approach, creative headshots can still project professionalism. They show you care about your image and are serious about your career or passion, whether acting, modeling, entrepreneurship or any other field.
  • Versatility: With creative headshots, there’s no one-size-fits-all. They can be adapted to suit different platforms and purposes – your LinkedIn profile, website, portfolio, or even social media networks. Each platform can have a unique image tailored to its specific audience.
  • Communication: A well-executed creative headshot can communicate much about you without needing words. It can convey your personality, your profession, your style, and even your values. This visual communication can often be more impactful and engaging than text alone.
  • Networking: A distinctive headshot can pique interest and foster connections. Whether you’re a freelancer looking for clients, a job seeker networking with potential employers or an artist reaching out to an audience, a creative headshot can be an ‘ice-breaker’.
  • Confidence Boost: Having a professional, creatively-crafted headshot can boost your confidence. It reminds you of your unique qualities and achievements, providing a self-assured image. And who doesn’t love a reasonable confidence boost now and then?
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What to Wear for Creative Headshots: 10 Dress Ideas

Before we delve into the specific dress ideas, it’s crucial to note that the perfect outfit for your creative headshot should reflect you. It should complement your style, personality, and the image you wish to project.

Remember, comfort is vital – feeling good in what you’re wearing will radiate in your photographs. Let’s explore some dress ideas that can make your creative headshots stand out.

1. The Classic Monochrome

Monochrome outfits never go out of style. You choose a timeless, elegant, and simple outfit when you opt for a monochrome look. This choice allows your personality to shine through without distractions. Go for a chic black dress or a crisp white shirt for a classic, refined look that never fails to impress.

2. The Bold Prints

Are you someone who loves to make a statement? Then, bold prints might be the way to go. These prints can add visual interest to your headshot, whether it’s vibrant florals, geometric patterns, or abstract designs. Just remember, the print should complement, not overshadow you.

3. The Color Pop

If you’re all about expressing your vibrant personality, a pop of color could be just what you need. A bright red jacket or a cobalt blue blouse can make your headshot stand out. So, don’t shy away from flaunting your favorite hues—you might be surprised by the impact it can make!

4. The Professional Chic

Consider a structured blazer or a sleek pencil skirt if you want a professional but stylish vibe. These items offer a sense of authority, competency, and sophistication, perfect for those in corporate sectors or entrepreneurs who want to project a polished image.

5. The Casual Cool

Perhaps you want your headshot to reflect your laid-back, relaxed personality. If true, you can’t go wrong with a comfortable, well-fitted top and a pair of your favorite jeans. Remember, the key is to look natural and at ease, so wear something that makes you feel fantastic.

6. The Retro Revival

Channel the charm of bygone eras with a retro-inspired outfit. Think polka dot dresses, classic suits, or high-waisted trousers paired with lovable vintage blouses. You’ll create a unique, nostalgic look and show off your fun and creative side.

7. The Dramatic Darks

For a sense of mystery or seriousness, consider going with darker hues. A black turtleneck or a navy blue suit can lend a sense of drama and intensity to your headshot, perfect for those looking to project a deep, thoughtful persona.

8. The Ethereal Pastels

Pastel shades can provide an air of softness and delicacy to your image. These soothing colors, whether a flowy pastel blue dress or a light pink blouse, can make your headshot look serene, peaceful, and approachable.

9. The Glamorous Glitter

If you’re not afraid to stand out and shine, a touch of glitz and glam might be your style. A sequined top or a shiny metallic dress can add a touch of glamour to your headshot, perfect for those in the entertainment industry or anyone who loves the spotlight.

10. The Artistic Abstract

For the creatives among us, consider an abstract or artistic piece. This could be anything from an avant-garde design to a top featuring an artistic print. This choice suggests that you are imaginative and unafraid to break the conventional norms.

How to Take the Best Creative Headshots: Helpful Tips

Before we dive into our top tips for creating the best creative headshots, remember that the success of your headshot largely depends on your comfort and confidence in front of the camera. Let’s explore some game-changing tips to help you ace your headshot.

  • Find Your Angle: Nobody’s face is perfectly symmetrical, and one of your sides is usually more photogenic than the other. Work with your photographer to find your ‘good side’.
  • Mind Your Posture: Good posture conveys confidence and competence. Stand or sit straight, roll your shoulders back, and keep your chin up for an impressive headshot.
  • Master the Squinch: Ever heard of the ‘squinch’? It’s a technique that involves squinting your eyes ever so slightly to create an engaging and attractive look. Practice it!
  • Use Natural Light: Natural light is more flattering than artificial light. Aim to take your headshot outdoors or in a well-lit room with large windows if possible.
  • Relax Your Face: Don’t force a smile; it can look unnatural. Instead, think of something that makes you happy or chuckle to relax your face.
  • Choose a Professional Photographer: A professional photographer has the skills and tools to ensure your headshot is of the highest quality. Don’t skimp on this!
  • Retouch, But Stay Real: Post-photo editing is okay, but don’t go overboard. It’s essential to look like your headshot on any given day. Your headshot should be a professional but true reflection of you.
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How to Pose for Creative Headshots

Now that we’ve covered what to wear and some practical tips for taking creative headshots, it’s time to discuss posing. Positioning yourself in front of the camera can make a huge difference in how your headshot turns out.

Here are some pose ideas that can add character and depth to your creative headshots:

  • The Classic Front Facing: This is the traditional pose where you face the camera directly. It exudes confidence and openness, perfect for those who aim for a more professional and straightforward look.
  • The ¾ Turn: This pose involves turning your body slightly away from the camera while keeping your face towards it. This adds depth and interest to the photo and can be more flattering for some face shapes.
  • The Over-the-Shoulder Glance: Try the over-the-shoulder glance for a more casual and playful vibe. This involves turning your body away from the camera and looking back over your shoulder. It gives off a sense of mystery and intrigue.
  • The Leaning Forward: If seated, leaning slightly forward can be effective. It shows engagement and draws the viewer into the photo. Just remember to keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
  • The Thoughtful Look Away: Looking off to the side or above can create a thoughtful or aspirational vibe. It suggests you’re focused on the present and thinking ahead.
  • The Casual Cross-Arms: Crossing your arms can convey a sense of authority and confidence, which is great for entrepreneurs, leaders, or anyone needing to project a strong image.
  • The Relaxed Hands-On-Hips: Placing your hands on your hips is a relaxed, casual pose that can help you look more at ease and friendly. It brings a sense of poise and can also help define your figure in the photo.

Where to Take Creative Headshots?

Your location is crucial in setting the tone for your creative headshots. A well-chosen backdrop can add depth and context to your photos, enhancing the overall visual appeal. Here are seven ideal places to consider for your next creative headshot session:

  • The Great Outdoors: Natural settings with plenty of light make for excellent photo locations. Consider a lush park, a serene beach, or a vibrant flower garden. These settings can infuse a relaxed, earthy vibe into your headshots.
  • Urban Landscapes: City streets, old brick walls, graffiti artworks, or even modern architecture can provide a dynamic, gritty backdrop that speaks of resilience and ambition.
  • Art Galleries: With their abstract art pieces and sophisticated ambiance, art galleries can lend an artistic and refined edge to your headshots.
  • Cozy Cafés: If you want a more casual and comfortable feel, consider taking your headshot at your favorite café. The warm and cozy ambiance can help to convey a friendly, approachable image.
  • Historic Buildings: For a touch of elegance and grandeur, historic buildings, with vintage charm and intricate architectural details, can make a stunning backdrop.
  • Local Landmarks: Show off your local pride by choosing an iconic landmark in your city. Not only does this create a connection with your local audience, but it also adds an interesting story element to your headshot.
  • Your Workspace: If you’re a professional, your workspace could be an ideal location. This creates an authentic feel and gives viewers a glimpse into your world.
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Remember, the location you choose should resonate with your brand and personality. So, choose a place you feel connected with that tells your story in the best light.

Creative Headshots Costs: How Much Do They Cost?

The cost of creative headshots can vary significantly based on several factors, including the photographer’s experience, the location, the number of edited images you need, and the time the session takes. Let’s break down these costs to give you a clearer picture:

  • Emerging Photographers: If you’re on a budget, consider hiring a photographer just starting. These photographers often charge between $100 – $200 per session.
  • Mid-level Photographers: Mid-level photographers have more experience and can provide a higher quality service. Expect to pay between $200 – $500 for a session with them.
  • Top-tier Photographers: If you’re looking for the cream of the crop, a top-tier photographer with a well-established reputation is your best bet. These photographers typically charge upwards of $500 for a session.

Your headshot is an investment in your brand or career. While it’s important to consider your budget, the quality of the final product should be your primary focus.

After all, a good headshot can open doors, so paying more for a photo that shines may be worth more.

Best AI Photographers for Creative Headshots

The technological world keeps opening up new possibilities, and photography is no exception. Numerous AI (Artificial Intelligence) tools available today can help you take the perfect headshot without needing professional equipment or a photographer.

These AI tools use image recognition and processing algorithms to enhance photos, adjust lighting, apply filters, and more. Here are some recommended AI tools for male headshots:


The AirBrush AI tool offers an easy-to-use interface and a variety of editing features such as skin smoothing, teeth whitening, eye brightening, and body shaping. Its distinct feature is the range of makeup applications that can enhance creative headshots.


Fotor is an AI tool known for its simplicity and effectiveness. A few simple adjustments can transform a regular selfie into a creative headshot. Its features include photo effects, frames, stickers, text editing, and color splash.


StudioShot is an AI tool renowned for its ability to create studio-quality headshots from ordinary photos. It provides a range of editing features, including background removal, color correction, and facial retouching. It’s an excellent tool for creating creative headshots.

Aragon AI

Aragon AI uses Artificial Intelligence to create and enhance creative headshots. It offers automatic background removal and replacement, skin smoothing, eye enhancement, and more. The tool is designed to make your photos look like they were taken in a professional studio.


PFPMaker is an AI tool designed explicitly for creating profile photos. It uses AI algorithms to enhance your photos, apply filters, adjust lighting, and more, resulting in creative headshots. It’s a simple yet powerful tool that can significantly upgrade your profile picture game.


How Often Should I Update My Headshot?

Headshots should ideally be updated every one to two years or whenever your appearance changes significantly. An up-to-date headshot ensures that your image is current and reflects your appearance. Keeping your headshot updated is especially important for professionals as it helps to maintain a consistent and authentic personal brand.

How Do I Prepare for a Creative Headshot Photoshoot?

First, choose a photographer whose style and vision align with your desired outcome. Then, determine the location, outfits, and props you need. Plan for hair and makeup and get plenty of rest to ensure you look your best on the shoot day. Most importantly, relax and be yourself.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the right outfit for your creative headshots is as crucial as selecting the perfect location or hiring the right photographer. What you wear can significantly influence how you are perceived, setting the tone for your brand image.

A well-chosen outfit complements your features, highlights your personality, and enhances the overall impact of your headshot. From casual to formal, your clothing should resonate with your brand’s character and the message you wish to convey.

Remember, colors can evoke emotions and impressions; choose colors that flatter your complexion and align with your brand’s tone. Avoid distracting patterns or logos that divert attention from your face. Instead, opt for solid colors with simple, timeless designs. Accessories can add a touch of individuality, but they should not overpower the image.

Ultimately, comfort is vital. Wear clothing that feels good, fits well, and makes you confident. When you’re comfortable, your confidence shines through, leading to more authentic and engaging headshots.

Are you ready to step in front of the camera? Embrace your uniqueness, let your personality shine, and create a headshot that does justice to your personal or professional brand.