What to Wear to Take Great Executive Headshots in 2023: Showcase Your Elegance

Are you an executive looking to take your headshots to the next level to stand out from the competition and get noticed by recruiters, potential employers, and industry peers?

Taking great executive headshots is no longer a matter of simply turning up with a simple or non-existent outfit; it’s about being stylish while maintaining that professional image.

In this blog post, we’ll provide some down-to-earth advice on what kind of clothing will work best when taking executive headshots in 2023—allowing you to showcase your elegance and professionalism. Read on for inspiration tailored towards executives!

Executive Headshots: What is it?

An executive headshot is more than just a photograph—it’s a powerful tool for personal branding.

It’s your chance to make a first impression, convey confidence, and express your unique professional identity. In a way, your executive headshot is like your business card on steroids.

It’s not just about capturing your facial features but about presenting the entire persona behind the professional. Think of it as a visual handshake! So, while you’re busy climbing the corporate ladder, remember that exceptional executive headshots are your ally.

What are the Types of Executive Headshots?

When it comes to executive headshots, it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Different contexts require different headshots to ensure you’re putting your foot forward. Let’s delve into some of the types you might consider:

  • Corporate Headshots: These are the bread and butter of executive imagery. Striking a balance between approachable and authoritative, a corporate headshot ideally features you in a polished, professional outfit, typically in a business setting. Consider the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, for instance. Their headshot on the company website is likely a finely-tuned corporate headshot, capturing their physical features and leadership prowess.
  • Theatrical Headshots: If you’re in the entertainment or creative industry, a theatrical headshot is for you. While it still communicates professionalism, it leans towards showing your personality and range as an artist. Think of a director or a novelist. Their headshot might evoke more personality, giving you a sense of their creative style.
  • Commercial Headshots: These are perfect for those involved in marketing or sales roles, where a friendly and approachable image often works best. Picture a real estate agent; their headshot might focus on making them seem trustworthy and approachable, with a warm smile and casual yet professional attire.
  • Editorial Headshots: These headshots are less about capturing an individual and more about telling a story or conveying an atmosphere. These are ideal for magazine features or interviews, where the surroundings are as much a part of the image as you are. An example could be a tech startup founder, pictured in their vibrant, bustling offices, embodying the energy and innovation of their company.

Each type of headshot has its unique strength, and the best one for you depends on your professional goals, industry, and personal brand. So, consider all these factors before you step in front of the camera!

Why Are Headshots Important for Executives?

Headshots serve as pivotal tools in constructing and conveying an executive’s professional identity, and the importance of these cannot be overstated. Here are six key reasons that highlight their significance:

  • First Impressions Matter: Your headshot may be the first point of contact between you and potential clients, recruiters, or industry peers. A well-executed headshot conveys professionalism, attention to detail, and commitment—qualities highly desirable in an executive.
  • Personal Branding: An executive headshot is critical to your personal brand. It visually represents your professional persona, encapsulating your skills, experiences, and strengths in a single frame.
  • Establishing Trust: A professional headshot can help foster a sense of trust and reliability. It assures others you are serious about your role, enhancing your credibility within your industry niche.
  • Online Presence: In the digital age, your online persona is just as important as your offline one. A quality headshot enhances your digital profile on LinkedIn, your corporate website, or industry forums.
  • Visibility and Recognition: A unique and recognizable headshot can improve visibility in a crowded corporate landscape. It aids in establishing a memorable visual identity, setting you apart from the competition.
  • Reflecting Evolution: As an executive, your style, achievements, and roles may evolve. Regularly updated headshots can accurately reflect your current professional status and growth trajectory.
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What to Wear for Executive Headshots: 10 Dress Ideas

Before we delve into the specific dress ideas for your executive headshots, we must note a few general principles. Regardless of the type of headshot you’re getting, your attire should reflect your professional identity, align with your personal brand, and make you feel confident.

The goal is not to follow the latest fashion trends but to look timeless, approachable, and professional. Plan your outfit and try it on to ensure it fits and is comfortable. Now, let’s jump into some dress ideas for your executive headshots.

1. The Classic Suit

When it comes to executive portraits, you can’t go wrong with a classic suit. The suit radiates authority and professionalism, whether a traditional two-piece or a sleek three-piece. Choose a color that complements your skin tone—navy or charcoal are fail-safe options. Remember, it’s not just about wearing a suit; it’s about wearing one that fits YOU perfectly. A well-tailored suit communicates attention to detail and sophistication.

2. The Blazer and Dress Shirt

Try a blazer and dress shirt combo if a full suit feels too formal. It’s a versatile choice that strikes a balance between professional and approachable. Opt for a solid color blazer (avoiding overly bright colors) paired with a crisp, white dress shirt. This ensemble conveys an image of modern, relaxed professionalism ideal for YOU.

3. The Sweater Over Shirt

Consider a quality sweater over a collared shirt for an informal yet polished look. This creates a warm, approachable vibe perfect for roles where connection and trust are essential. Ensure the sweater is in good condition—no pilling or loose threads. It’s an outfit that says you are approachable, trustworthy yet professional.

4. The Statement Dress

If you prefer dresses, go for a knee-length, tailored dress. Avoid overly bright colors or bold patterns; instead, opt for neutral tones with perhaps a hint of color. The aim is to look elegant and professional without diverting attention from your face. This choice tells the world that YOU are confident, stylish, and powerful.

5. The Chic Turtleneck

A high-quality turtleneck, especially in black or deep navy, can denote sophistication and intelligence. It is a sleek, modern choice that pairs well with a tailored blazer. The chic turtleneck is a look that says YOU value simplicity, elegance, and are forward-thinking.

6. The Button-Down Shirt

A simple, well-pressed button-down shirt can be an excellent choice for both men and women. Choose solid, subdued colors like white, blue, or grey for a clean, minimalist look. This ensemble is straightforward yet professional, showing that YOU are focused, efficient, and mean business.

7. The Smart Casual

For a more casual industry or a ‘commercial headshot’, a smart-casual outfit might hit the mark. This could be a good-quality polo shirt, a casual jacket over a tee, or a stylish blouse. The main goal is to look put-together yet relaxed and let your personality shine through. This says you are approachable, friendly, yet professional.

8. The Statement Blouse

For women, a statement blouse can be a fantastic option. It adds a touch of personality and flair without compromising professionalism. Opt for solid colors and avoid overly loud patterns. This choice embodies your creativity, while still saying YOU are a serious professional.

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9. The Dark Jacket and Light Shirt

A common, yet effective, approach is to pair a darker jacket or blazer with a lighter-colored shirt. Not only does this provide a nice contrast, but it also frames your face nicely. This classic and safe choice communicates that you are a reliable, steadfast executive who values tradition and stability.

10. The Iconic Black Dress

For women, the iconic black dress can be a powerful choice for an executive headshot. Similar to the LBD (Little Black Dress) in its versatility and class, it’s simple, stylish, and unarguably professional. The key is finding the proper cut and fit for your body type. It says you are a confident, competent leader ready to take on the world.

Tailoring your outfit to your personality, role, and industry is essential for effective executive headshots. After all, these photos are an extension of your professional identity.

So, take the time to plan your outfit, and invest in a quality, professional photographer. The result will be a headshot that looks great and feels authentically you!

How to Take the Executive Headshots: Helpful Tips

Before diving into the practical advice, it’s important to note that the success of your executive headshot hinges not only on your outfit but also on your comfort in front of the camera and the skill of your photographer.

These elements together contribute to a high-quality, professional, and authentic headshot. Now, let’s explore some tips to help you get the most out of your executive headshot session.

  • Choose the right photographer: Seek a professional specializing in executive portraits. They will know how to properly frame, light, and capture you at your very best.
  • Practice your pose: Look at other executive headshots and practice their poses. The right pose can convey confidence and approachability.
  • Mind your expressions: Your facial expression should match your professional image. Practice smiling, looking serious, and anything in between to see what best reflects your brand.
  • Don’t overlook makeup and hair: Consider hiring a professional makeup artist and hairstylist for the shoot. They can help you look polished and put together.
  • Consider your backdrop: Whether it’s an office setting or a plain color, ensure the background doesn’t distract from your face.
  • Prepare in advance: Avoid last-minute stress by preparing your outfits and grooming routine. This will help you feel relaxed and confident on the shoot day.
  • Stay true to yourself: Your headshot should authentically represent you. Don’t try to be someone else. Your uniqueness is your greatest asset.

How to Pose for Executive Headshots

Regarding executive headshots, your pose can communicate as much as your outfit or backdrop. The right pose can evoke confidence, approachability, and professionalism. Here are 5 pose ideas to consider for your next executive headshot:

  • The Classic Head Tilt: This simple, easy-to-master pose involves a slight head tilt to the left or right. It’s a classic move for communicating attentiveness and interest, ideal for roles requiring strong communication or interpersonal skills.
  • The Power Pose: Stand straight, with your shoulders back and chin slightly raised. This pose exudes confidence and command, perfect for leaders and executives.
  • The Thoughtful Pose: In this pose you slightly touch your face, mirroring a thinking expression. It suggests deep thought and intelligence, perfect for conveying expertise and thought leadership.
  • The Approachable Pose: Try a relaxed stance with an open posture for a more approachable, friendly vibe. This pose is ideal for roles that require teamwork and collaboration.
  • The Forward Lean: This is a pose where you lean slightly forward towards the camera. It conveys engagement and interest, suggesting you’re someone who takes initiative.

Where to Take Executive Headshots?

Choosing the right setting for your executive headshot can significantly impact the final results. It can set the tone, reinforce your brand, and add depth to your image. Here are six ideal locations to consider for your executive headshot:

  • Professional Studio: This is a classic choice. A professional studio has controlled lighting and backdrop options, ensuring a clean and distraction-free image. This is the place to go if you are after a traditional, polished look.
  • Your Office: What better way to show professionalism and dedication than a headshot from your office? It provides a glimpse into your work environment and makes the photo more personal and authentic.
  • Outdoor Setting: If you’re in a more relaxed industry, consider an outdoor setting. A park or urban landscape can add a natural, relaxed vibe to your headshot. Just be sure the location doesn’t distract from the main focus – you.
  • Cityscape Background: A cityscape can convey a sense of dynamism and ambition. Imagine having a city’s skyline or a bustling street as your backdrop. This suggests that you’re a forward-thinking professional thriving in a fast-paced environment.
  • Co-working Spaces: These spaces often have modern, stylish interiors that can create a vibrant and contemporary backdrop for your headshot.
  • Historic or Iconic Buildings: If you want to evoke a sense of tradition and grandeur, consider a historic or iconic building as your backdrop. This could be particularly effective in law or finance, where tradition and prestige are valued.
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Executive Headshots Costs: How Much Do They Cost?

The cost of professional executive headshots can vary widely based on factors such as the photographer’s reputation, the location of the shoot, and any additional services like hair, makeup, and post-production editing.

  • Budget Range: For tight budgets, you might find options in the $100 – $300 range. You can expect a basic package from a less established or beginner photographer at this price range. It may include a single look and minimal photo editing.
  • Mid-Range: For a mid-range budget of around $300 – $600, you will likely get services from a more experienced photographer. This might include multiple outfit changes, backdrop options, and more comprehensive post-production editing.
  • Premium Range: If you’re willing to invest more, professional headshots from top-tier photographers can cost upwards of $600. These high-end packages typically include a complete service with professional hair and makeup, multiple outfit changes, various backdrops, and extensive post-production editing to ensure your photos are picture-perfect.

Best AI Photographers for Executive Headshots

As technology advances, AI-based photography tools are becoming increasingly popular for their convenience, affordability, and impressive results.

These tools use artificial intelligence to perfect lighting, angles, and photo retouching, making them ideal for executive headshots. Here are five notable AI tools that can assist you in getting that perfect executive headshot:

ProPhotos AI

ProPhotos AI is an innovative tool that offers a range of features for optimizing your executive headshots. It utilizes AI algorithms to adjust lighting, correct imperfections, and suggest the best poses.

Aragon AI

Aragon AI stands out with its advanced AI capabilities designed specifically for professional executive headshots. Its smart technology ensures every photo meets high-quality standards and the unique needs of professionals.

HeadShot Pro

HeadShot Pro uses AI technology to create professional executive headshots. It offers several customization options, allowing you to adjust your photo’s backdrop, pose, and overall look for the desired effect.

ProfilePicture AI

ProfilePicture AI is an excellent tool for creating professional headshots. It uses AI to recommend the most flattering poses and compositions and can even retouch your photos to enhance your best features.


StudioShot leverages AI technology to provide a virtual photography studio experience. Its features allow for light adjustments, background changes, and professional-grade editing, ensuring your executive headshot conveys the perfect message.


Can I Take My Executive Headshots?

While taking your executive headshots is possible, hiring a professional photographer is recommended for optimum results. They have the skills and equipment to ensure top-quality images, proper lighting, and the best angles. However, if budget is a constraint, consider using AI-based photography tools that can help enhance the quality of your DIY headshots.

How Often Should I Update My Executive Headshots?

Your executive headshots should be updated whenever there are significant changes to your appearance. This could be a major hairstyle change, weight loss or gain, or aging. If your appearance remains relatively constant, a good rule of thumb is to update your headshot every 2-3 years.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the proper attire for your executive headshots can make a huge difference in how you’re perceived professionally. Your clothing can be a powerful tool in conveying your competence, reliability, and attention to detail.

Whether it’s a sharp business suit for a corporate headshot or a more relaxed ensemble for a creative industry, selecting the right outfit is crucial to preparing for your session. Remember, less is often more – a simple, well-fitted attire in a solid color can emphasize your best features without distraction.

Avoiding overly trendy items ensures your headshot has a timeless appeal, maintaining its effectiveness for years. Take your executive headshots to the next level by investing in a professional photography service or utilizing advanced AI photography tools.

These resources can help enhance your photo’s quality, offering various customization options and ensuring optimal lighting and angles for a polished, professional result. Now is the time to elevate your brand with a top-notch executive headshot.alking to [AUDIENCE]. Include a call to action for readers to leave a comment.