What to Wear to Take Great Commercial Headshots in 2023: Showcase Your Style

Are you looking to take great commercial headshots in 2023? When it comes to photography, clothes can make all the difference.

As a result, choosing the right outfit for your photo session is essential if you want to get top-notch shots that truly showcase your style and personality.

But what should you wear when having your commercial headshots taken? We’re here to provide helpful tips on picking the perfect look for this special day so that you don’t step foot into the studio only wishing later that you had done things differently.

Commercial Headshots: What is it?

Commercial headshots, in the simplest terms, are professional photographs primarily used in the corporate world. Think of them as your visual handshake, the digital-first impression people get of you.

They’re commonly used on business websites, LinkedIn profiles, corporate catalogs, and event speaker bios. These photos are about letting your professionalism and personality shine through in a still image.

Now, let’s dive into the exciting part – dressing up for your commercial headshot!

What are the Types of Commercial Headshots?

Before we jump into our fashion guide, let’s briefly identify the three main types of commercial headshots we’ll focus on Lifestyle, Editorial, and Environmental Headshots.

  • Lifestyle Headshots – Their casual and relaxed feel characterizes these. They aim to capture the subject naturally, interacting with their environment genuinely and authentically.
  • Editorial Headshots – This style is all about storytelling. Editorial headshots are often shot on location, incorporating elements of the subject’s work or interests to create a narrative. Ideal for personal branding, these shots are more posed and stylized.
  • Environmental Headshots – With these, the environment plays a key role. Whether it’s your office, an outdoor location, or any place significant to your profession, environmental headshots use this backdrop to provide context and add depth to your professional image.

Why Are Commercial Headshots Important?

Commercial headshots carry significant importance in today’s digital world, and there are several reasons why you should consider having one:

  • First Impressions Matter – A commercial headshot is often the first point of contact in the digital age. A professional, high-quality photo can create a strong and positive first impression, which is crucial in business.
  • It Enhances Your Professional Image – A commercial headshot lends credibility and substance to your professional persona. It signals that you take your career seriously and encourages others to take you seriously.
  • Personal Branding – Your headshot can communicate vital information about your brand. The photo’s attire, setting, and mood can tell a story about who you are and what you stand for.
  • Stand Out from the Crowd – A unique and well-executed commercial headshot can help you stand out from your competition, particularly in industries where personal branding plays a key role.
  • Networking and Connection – A professional headshot can make you more approachable and relatable, fostering connections and facilitating networking.
  • It’s An Investment in Your Career – While there might be a cost involved in getting a professional commercial headshot, it’s an investment in your career that can yield substantial returns in the long run.

A commercial headshot is more than just a photo; it’s a powerful tool for personal branding, connection, and career progression.

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What to Wear for Commercial Headshots: 10 Dress Ideas

While selecting your outfit for a commercial headshot, remember that your attire should reflect your professional role and personal brand.

Aim for a perfect balance that combines professionalism with your unique style. This will help ensure your headshots capture your face, personality, and brand.

Business Professional Attire

Do you want to embody authority and professionalism? Opt for professional business attire. This could be a well-fitted suit in a solid, neutral color like navy or charcoal. For women, a blazer paired with a blouse and a pencil skirt or trousers work equally well. Remember, it’s all about looking polished and in command.

Business Casual Outfit

A business casual outfit could be the right choice if your industry is more relaxed. This could be a collared shirt paired with chinos for men or a blouse and skirt for women. The aim is to look approachable yet professional; you’re not too stuffy, but you mean business!

Casual Ensemble

A casual ensemble works great for lifestyle headshots. Think of well-fitted jeans, a T-shirt, or a simple dress. It’s all about looking comfortable and relaxed. Remember, you want your personality to shine through, so wear something that feels “you.”

Pop of Color

Don’t shy away from a pop of color. A bold, bright color can help you stand out and add an element of energy and enthusiasm to your headshot. Just ensure the color flatters your skin tone and isn’t too distracting.

Monochrome Look

A monochrome look can be striking and sophisticated. Consider a black turtleneck for a Steve Jobs-inspired look or a white shirt for a clean, crisp image. The focus here is on you, not your clothes, so ensure the fit is perfect.

Patterned Top

A patterned top can add visual interest to your headshot. However, avoid busy or distracting patterns. Opt for something subtle, like a checkered shirt or a polka dot blouse. It adds a touch of personality without overwhelming the photo.

Layered Look

A layered look can give your outfit depth and make your photo more dynamic. Consider a blazer over a shirt, a cardigan over a blouse, or a scarf draped over a simple top. Just ensure the layers work together harmoniously.

Textured Clothing

Textured clothing can add richness to your headshot. This could be a silk blouse, a tweed blazer, or a cashmere sweater. It adds depth and dimension to the photo, making it more visually attractive.

Branded Outfit

Wearing a branded outfit could be great if you’re representing a company or a team. This could be a shirt with your company logo or colors that align with your brand. It’s a great way to show your affiliation and team spirit.

Statement Accessory

Lastly, consider adding a statement accessory to your outfit. This could be a bold necklace, a unique watch, or a stylish pair of glasses. But remember, less is more. The accessory should complement your look, not steal the spotlight.

How to Take the Commercial Headshots: Helpful Tips

Here are some handy tips for taking the perfect commercial headshots. Keep these pointers in mind, and you’re sure to create an image that not only looks great but also captures the essence of your professional persona:

  • Choose the Right Photographer: Working with a reliable and experienced professional photographer who understands your needs and can guide you through the process is imperative.
  • Prepare Well in Advance: Plan your attire, hair, and makeup a few days before your session. This will help you avoid last-minute stress and ensure you look your best on the day.
  • Relax! The camera can detect tension, so relaxing and being yourself is essential. A good photographer will help make you feel comfortable during your session.
  • Find the Right Angle: Not everyone has the same “good side.” Experiment with different angles to find what works best for you.
  • Use Natural Light: Natural light is usually the most flattering for headshots. Schedule your session during the day in a location with plenty of natural light.
  • Focus on the Eyes: The eyes are often said to be the “windows to the soul,” they can make or break a headshot. Make sure your eyes are sharp and expressive in your photo.
  • Convey Your Brand: Remember, this photo is about your professional brand. Ensure your headshot reflects your identity and the image you want to project to the world.
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Remember, a commercial headshot is more than just a photo—it’s your professional calling card. These tips should help you make the most of it!

How to Pose for Commercial Headshots: 7 Pose Ideas

Regarding commercial headshots, striking the right pose is as crucial as selecting the perfect outfit.

Your posture communicates much about your personality and professional brand. So, let’s delve into seven pose ideas to help you make a powerful statement with your headshot!

  • The Confident Pose: The confident pose involves standing tall and straight with your shoulders back and chest out. You want to project an image of strength and assurance. Imagine you’re going into a meeting where you’re about to close a big deal. That’s the confidence you want to portray in your headshot. This pose works well for executives, entrepreneurs, and leaders.
  • The Approachable Pose: If you’re in a line of work where building relationships is crucial, the approachable pose is for you. Lean slightly towards the camera with a warm, genuine smile. This pose is about showing that you’re a friendly, caring professional who is easy to work with. Ideal for those in customer service, healthcare, or education.
  • The Thoughtful Pose: The thoughtful pose involves a sideways glance toward the camera with a calm and composed expression. It radiates an aura of deep thinking and intelligence. Suppose you’re an author, scientist, or academic; this pose could help convey your intellectual persona.
  • The Casual Pose: The casual pose involves a relaxed stance with one hand in your pocket or casually placed on your hip. This pose says, “I’m comfortable in my skin and easy-going.” Perfect for creatives, freelancers, or anyone wanting to portray an informal, friendly brand.
  • The Dynamic Pose: The dynamic pose involves some movement, like turning your head or shifting your weight from one foot to another. This pose gives the impression of energy, activity, and passion. If you’re in a field like sports, dance, or fitness, this pose can help convey your dynamic personality.
  • The Engaged Pose: The engaged pose involves leaning slightly forward as if engaged in an exciting conversation. This pose suggests that you’re attentive, interested, and fully present. This pose works well for coaches, consultants, or anyone whose job involves active listening and engagement.
  • The Power Pose: The power pose involves standing or sitting with your legs slightly apart, hands on your hips, or arms crossed. This pose screams, “I’m in control here.” It’s perfect for professionals in leadership roles or anyone wanting to convey authority and dominance.

Remember, the key is to choose a pose that feels natural to you and aligns with your professional brand. Try different poses during your session to see what feels and looks best. Happy posing!

Where to Take Commercial Headshots?

Choosing the right location for your commercial headshots can significantly impact the final result. The ambiance, lighting, and background can all contribute to creating a picture representing your professional persona. Here are seven ideal places to consider:

  • Professional Studio: A professional photography studio offers controlled lighting and a variety of backdrops, making it a top choice for many. You can easily create a range of looks and styles in one place.
  • Office Environment: Nothing says professionalism like an office backdrop. It provides context and can make your headshot feel more authentic, especially in a corporate line of work.
  • Outdoor Locations: Natural settings offer unique, dynamic backdrops. A serene park or an urban landscape could add a refreshing, unique twist to your headshot.
  • Co-Work Spaces: These spaces often feature modern, stylish interiors that can lend a contemporary feel to your headshot. Plus, they suggest a collaborative and innovative vibe.
  • Art Galleries or Libraries: For creatives, intellectuals, or academic professionals, a library or an art gallery can provide an ideal backdrop reflecting their intellectual pursuits.
  • Industrial Spaces: Consider an industrial setting for an edgy, modern look. Exposed brick walls or metal structures can add texture and interest to your headshot.
  • Home Setting: Consider taking your commercial headshot at your home for a personal and comfortable touch. This works incredibly well for freelancers or home-based professionals.
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Commercial Headshots Costs: How Much Do They Cost?

The cost of commercial headshots can vary significantly based on several factors. Understanding these factors is essential to budget appropriately for your professional photography session.

  • Basic Package: A professional photographer offers a basic package from approximately $100 to $200. This typically includes a short session, one or two retouched photos, and limited or no outfit changes.
  • Standard Package: A standard package may range from $200 to $500. It usually includes a more extended session, more retouched photos, and the option to change outfits. It also might provide the option for different backdrops or locations.
  • Premium Package: Premium packages are available for those wanting the full professional experience, often costing upwards of $500. These packages generally include an extended session time, multiple outfit changes, a variety of backdrops or locations, and a larger number of retouched photos.

These are just average estimates, and actual prices can vary based on the photographer’s experience, the location, and the specific services included.

Always communicate your needs clearly with your photographer to understand precisely what is and isn’t included in the package pricing.

Best AI Photographers for Commercial Headshots

Despite the traditional approach of hiring a professional photographer for headshots, AI and machine learning have brought forth innovative tools that can take professional-quality headshots. The following are five AI tools that have been making waves in the commercial headshot arena.

Secta AI

Secta AI is an AI-powered tool that uses advanced algorithms to create professional-grade headshots. The tool boasts impressive features such as facial recognition and automatic editing that can dramatically enhance photo quality.


PFPMaker is an AI-based tool designed to create professional headshots with ease. Its intuitive interface and sophisticated image-retouching capabilities make it a top choice for individuals seeking professional-looking images without the high costs associated with traditional photography.


AirBrush is a versatile app that uses AI to retouch images, making it ideal for creating commercial headshots. The app includes skin smoothing, teeth whitening, and eye enhancement, providing an all-in-one solution for photo retouching needs.


Dreamwave.ai is a powerful AI tool that specializes in creating high-quality professional headshots. By harnessing the power of machine learning, Dreamwave.ai offers a range of features, such as automatic background removal and sophisticated photo retouching, ensuring a stunning outcome every time.


Fotor is an online photo editing tool that uses AI to enhance images and create professional-quality headshots. Its easy-to-use interface and robust editing capabilities make it a favorite among individuals and businesses.


Can I Use Commercial Headshots for Personal Use?

Yes, you can use your commercial headshots for personal use as well. However, communicate this with your photographer beforehand, as some may have specific copyright or usage restrictions.

How Often Should I Update My Commercial Headshots?

It’s recommended to update your professional headshot every 2-3 years or whenever there is a significant change in your appearance. This ensures that your headshot accurately reflects your current professional image.

How Do I Prepare for a Commercial Headshot Session?

Before your session, communicate with your photographer about the look and feel you want for your headshots. Get plenty of rest, hydrate well, and choose outfits that align with your professional brand.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the proper attire is a vital yet often overlooked aspect of taking commercial headshots. The clothes you wear can significantly impact how you are perceived professionally. Opt for clothing items that not only represent your style but also reflect your professional brand.

Solid colors and simple patterns generally work best, avoiding overly bright colors or distracting prints. Ensure your outfit is comfortable and fits well – confidence shows through in your photos.

Now that you’re armed with all this knowledge about commercial headshots, from backdrop costs to what to wear, it’s time to implement it. Whether hiring a professional photographer or using one of the cutting-edge AI tools, you can create a headshot that showcases the best professional version of you.

Don’t wait – elevate your personal brand with a stunning commercial headshot today!