What to Wear to Take Great Artist Headshots in 2023: Find Your Perfect Dress

In the modern world of digital art, having an impactful artist headshot is essential to creating a memorable presence.

Whether working on your portfolio or applying for job opportunities as an artist, showing off your unique style and attitude through a great headshot helps you stand out.

When planning the perfect photoshoot for your next artist headshots look, we should choose clothing that best represents who we are as artists.

In this post, I’m excited to share my top tips on what to wear when taking fantastic artist headshots in 2023!

Artist Headshots: What is it?

Artist headshots are more than just a simple picture – they are your opportunity to introduce yourself to the world, your canvas to express your creativity and individuality. Think of it this way: artists create art expressing their thoughts, feelings, and imagination.

Well, an artist’s headshot is a piece of art that showcases the artist behind the creation. It’s an intimate look at who you are, providing a glimpse into your personality and style.

From the way you position yourself, the expression on your face, to the attire you choose, every element contributes to this narrative.

What are the Types of Artist Headshots?

Before we dive into the different types of artist headshots, it’s worth noting that the style you choose will depend heavily on your artistic flair and the message you want to send to your audience. Now, let’s get to know the variety!

  • Commercial Headshots: Commercial headshots are clean, professional, and straightforward. The focus is typically on the artist’s face, with a classic and simple background. These headshots aim to project trustworthiness and reliability – excellent for artists planning to work with corporate clients or galleries.
  • Creative Headshots: Do you have a streak of free-spirited creativity that you want to showcase? Creative headshots are your go-to! They’re less formal and more expressive than commercial ones, with more room for artistic elements and experimentation. Creative headshots can feature unique backgrounds, props, or unconventional clothing, mirroring the artist’s unique style.
  • Character Headshots: Character headshots depict a specific persona or role. This type of headshot is great for artists who often take on roles in their performances or works, allowing them to showcase their versatility and range. It’s all about transforming into a character and letting that persona shine through the lens.

So, the choice is yours whether you’re aiming for a professional look, a burst of creativity, or portraying a character. Remember, your headshot is your calling card – make it memorable!

Why Are Headshots Important for Artists?

Headshots hold immense importance for artists, serving as a cornerstone of their professional image. Here are five compelling reasons why every artist should invest in a high-quality headshot:

  • Personal Branding: Artist headshots are powerful tools for personal branding. It’s a visual representation of who you are and what you do. It can convey your style, creativity, and personality, helping to differentiate you from other artists in your field.
  • Visibility and Recognition: Consistent visual identity across various platforms can enhance visibility and recognition in the digital age. A great headshot used across your website, social media profiles, and portfolio helps create a cohesive and memorable brand image.
  • Professionalism: A high-quality headshot signals professionalism and dedication to your craft. It shows that you take your career seriously and are invested in presenting a polished image.
  • Boosts Confidence: Last but not least, a fantastic headshot can boost your confidence. Knowing that you’re putting your best foot forward — visually speaking — can give you the confidence to take on new opportunities and challenges.
  • First Impressions Matter: Your headshot is often the first visual connection that potential clients or employers have with you. A professionally captured and thoughtfully styled headshot can help make a strong first impression, setting the stage for successful interactions.
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What to Wear for Artist Headshots: 10 Dress Ideas

The suggestions below help you find a style that best represents your artist persona. Remember, your outfit should reflect your unique style and artistry, so don’t shy away from showcasing your individuality. Don’t feel bound by these tips; use them as a starting point to create your perfect look.

1. Classic Black or White

The timeless black or white attire never goes out of style, rendering an air of professionalism and elegance. These colors are highly versatile and can work for commercial and creative headshots. Remember, it’s all about you, the artist, and sometimes, the simplicity of black or white can let your personality shine through without any distractions.

2. Bold Colors

You’re an artist, after all! Feel free to express your vibrant creativity by opting for attire in bold, vibrant colors. A striking red or a deep blue can make your headshot pop and grab attention. Plus, bold colors can evoke certain emotions or moods, allowing you to create a headshot that genuinely represents your artistic spirit.

3. Patterns

If you’re aiming for a creative headshot, why not incorporate patterns? Stripes, polka dots, or even more intricate designs can add fun and uniqueness to your headshot. However, be cautious with this choice; the pattern should never overshadow you. Go for patterns that complement your style and personality.

4. Denim

When you want a casual yet chic look, denim is your best friend. A classic denim jacket or shirt can add a touch of informality to your headshot, perfect for artists who prefer a relaxed, down-to-earth vibe. Plus, denim pairs well with almost everything, giving you room for creativity with accessories.

5. Blazers and Coats

Blazers and coats are the way to go for artists looking to project a sense of sophistication and professionalism. They’re ideally suited for commercial headshots and can be customized to your taste. Remember, it’s about projecting a confident image, so choose a blazer or coat that makes you feel empowered.

6. Graphic Tees

Graphic tees are a great way to inject your personality into your headshot. They’re perfect for artists with a modern or pop-art style. Let the world glimpse your artist’s soul through a tee that speaks volumes about your creative mindset.

7. Cultural or Traditional Attire

If your cultural heritage heavily influences your art or you simply want to honor your roots, consider wearing traditional attire. This choice can make your headshot deeply personal and allow you to connect with viewers on a cultural level.

8. Dress Shirts

Dress shirts are a classic choice that straddles the line between formal and casual. Whether solid-colored or patterned, a well-fitted dress shirt can make you look polished and professional. This is an excellent choice if you want flexibility in your headshot’s tone.

9. Statement Accessories

Sometimes, it’s not about the clothes but the accessories. Do you have a signature hat, scarf, or jewelry that defines your style? Incorporating these into your headshot can make the image distinctly “you.” Remember, the goal is to create a picture that tells your story.

10. Thematic Costumes

Finally, consider thematic costumes if you’re taking a character headshot or want to have fun. These could be related to a project you’re working on or something that showcases your artistic style and spirit. Just ensure that the costume doesn’t detract from your face and expression.

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How to Take the Artist Headshots: Helpful Tips

Taking the perfect artist headshot can seem daunting, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here are seven handy tips to guide you through the process and help you capture a headshot that genuinely reflects your artistic persona:

  • Choose the Right Photographer: Selecting the right photographer is crucial. An experienced photographer will understand your needs, guide you with poses and expressions, and ensure the photo session is relaxed and enjoyable.
  • Natural Light is Best: Artists thrive on authenticity, and nothing beats the authenticity of natural light. Outdoor settings or spaces with ample natural light can lend a warm, realistic quality to your headshot.
  • Play with Angles: Experiment with different angles to find what works best. It could be a side angle that beautifully captures your profile or a front shot that raises your confidence. Don’t be afraid to play around.
  • Use a Clean Background: A simple, uncluttered background ensures focus stays on you. While creative backgrounds can be fun, they might distract from your main subject.
  • Express Yourself: Your headshot should be alive with emotions. Let your feelings shine through, whether it’s a thoughtful look or a radiant smile.
  • Dress Comfortably: Comfort is critical. Dress in clothes that make you feel confident and at ease. The more comfortable you are, the more natural your photos will look.
  • Relax and Be Yourself: Finally, remember it’s all about capturing your unique spirit. Don’t worry about posing perfectly or looking like someone else. Just relax and be you. After all, that’s the person everyone wants to see.

How to Pose for Artist Headshots: 7 Posing Ideas

Posing for artist headshots can be a creative and fun process. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find the pose that captures your innate artistic spirit. Here are a few pose ideas to get you started:

  • The Classic Straight-On: This traditional pose involves looking directly at the camera, projecting confidence and directness. It’s perfect for those wanting a classic and professional headshot.
  • The Thoughtful Gaze: This pose involves looking away from the camera, giving a sense of introspection. It’s perfect for artists whose work is introspective or deep.
  • The Over-The-Shoulder: This pose involves looking back at the camera over your shoulder. It creates a sense of intrigue and mystery.
  • The Action Shot: This pose captures you in creating your art. Whether you’re painting, sculpting, or performing, this pose communicates dynamism and passion.
  • The Candid Laugh: This pose captures genuine joy or laughter. It shows the viewer your human side and the enjoyment you get from your art.
  • The Close-Up: This pose focuses on your face, capturing fine details and expressions. It’s perfect for those who want to emphasize their unique features and expressions.

Where to Take Artist Headshots?

Choosing the right location for artist headshots can make a difference. It’s not just about finding a pretty backdrop; it’s about capturing a space that complements your artistic style and personality. So, let’s explore some ideal places where you can take your artist headshots:

  • Art Studios: Your creative workspace can be the perfect setting for your headshot, imbuing it with a sense of authenticity and personal touch. Surround yourself with your tools, materials, and artworks to tell a visual story of your artistic journey.
  • Urban Landscapes: Graffiti walls, grungy alleyways, modern architecture, and urban landscapes can add an edgy, contemporary vibe to your headshot. They’re perfect for artists who draw inspiration from city life.
  • Nature: If the beauty of the natural world inspires you, consider having your headshot taken outdoors. Forests, beaches, fields, or gardens can provide a serene, organic backdrop for your photo.
  • Historic Sites: A historical site can be a fitting location if your work is heavily influenced by history or culture. Old buildings, heritage sites, or museums can infuse your headshot with a rich, nostalgic atmosphere.
  • Galleries and Exhibition Spaces: What better place to capture an artist than amidst their exhibited work? These spaces speak volumes about your commitment and success in your artistic career.
  • Home Studio: If you have a home studio, it could be the perfect intimate setting for your headshot. It’s comfortable, personal, and reflects who you are as an artist.
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Artist Headshots Costs: How Much Do They Cost?

The cost of artist headshots can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the photographer’s experience, location, the complexity of the shoot, and the number of edited final images you require.

  • Basic Package: On the lower end, you might expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 for a basic package. This includes a short photo session, one outfit change, and a small edited image selection.
  • Standard Package: A standard package could range from $300 to $600 if you want a more comprehensive service. This usually provides a longer session, multiple outfit changes, a variety of poses and backgrounds, and a more extensive selection of professionally edited images.
  • Premium Package: For a premium package offering a fully customized experience with an experienced, high-end photographer, you could be looking at anywhere from $600 to over $1000. This might include a full day’s shoot, unlimited changes, various poses, backgrounds, and a comprehensive package of final, edited images.

The quality of your headshot is an investment in your artistic career. It’s one of the key ways you present yourself to the world, so it’s worth carefully considering your needs and budget. Always check what’s included in the package before booking to ensure it meets your expectations.

Best AI Photographers for Artist Headshots

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve, several AI-powered photography tools have emerged to revolutionize how artist headshots are captured. These AI tools offer a unique blend of convenience, customization, and quality, making it easier than ever for artists to create standout headshots. Here are five notable AI tools for taking artist headshots:


AirBrush is an AI-driven tool that allows users to edit their artist headshots effortlessly. With a range of features for retouching, this tool is perfect for artists who want to enhance their photos while maintaining a natural look.


Fotor is a comprehensive photo-editing tool that uses AI to improve the quality of images. It provides various features, including filters, effects, and beauty retouching, providing artists with the control they need to create perfect artist headshots.


Dreamwave.ai is an AI-powered tool that enables users to create professional-quality headshots. Its machine-learning algorithms can perform complex image-processing tasks, resulting in high-quality photos highlighting the artist’s personality.

HeadShot Pro

HeadShot Pro is a dedicated AI tool for creating professional artist headshots. It uses deep learning to enhance photos, providing artistsa fast and convenient way to create stunning headshots.

ProPhotos AI

ProPhotos AI is a versatile tool that uses AI to streamline taking and editing headshots. It offers a range of features, including automatic retouching, allowing artists to produce high-quality artist headshots quickly.


Are Artist Headshots Worth It?

Yes, artist headshots are worth it. It’s an investment in your career as an artist and can significantly impact the public perception of you and your work.

How Long Does a Headshot Session Usually Last?

A headshot session typically lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the photographer’s style and the complexity of the shoot.

Can I Use Selfies as My Artist Headshots?

While selfies can sometimes turn out great, they’re not typically suitable for artist headshots. Hiring a professional photographer or using an AI tool to capture high-quality photos that reflect your unique brand and style is best.

How Many Final Edited Images Should I Expect from My Headshot Session?

The number of final edited images you’ll receive can vary depending on your chosen photographer and package. On average, most photographers provide around 5-10 final edited images per session.

Wrapping Up

The choice of attire is critical for a memorable and effective artist headshot. Your outfit should reflect your style and complement your artistry and personal brand. Consider opting for solid colors that enhance your complexion and avoid overly flashy or patterned clothing that may divert attention from your face.

Comfort is key; choose clothes that make you feel confident and relaxed for the most authentic representation of yourself. Remember, your headshot visually represents your brand, and your attire is an extension.

So, choose wisely and let your personality shine through. Now that you’re equipped with all this information, it’s time to book that photo session or try out one of the AI tools mentioned above.

Remember, a good headshot is a game-changer in your artistic career; it’s your visual handshake. So, don’t wait; get the perfect artist headshot that will set you apart today!