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A Gentleman's Guide to Photo Shoot Prep

Updated: Feb 2, 2023



Ok, I admit, my target clientele is women. But does that mean I won't photograph men? Absolutely not! In fact, I do quite a few headshot sessions for men each year. Both corporate and individual headshots alike! Since most of my tips and tricks up to this point have been tailored to my female audience, I thought it was time to show my male audience some much needed love! Fellas, if you are concerned or confused about what to wear or how to prepare for an upcoming photo shoot, I've got you covered! Get ready to learn about what colors photograph well, backdrop considerations, what styles are common for headshot photos and how to prepare for the big day.


Color

There is some science and psychology behind what the colors you wear mean and what they portray, but we are not going to get into that today. Guys, I will keep it simple for you; it's best to wear solid and neutral colors. Here are some examples:

  • Navy

  • Gray

  • Green (Army, Olive or Dark)

  • Dark Purple

  • Brown

  • Beige

  • Black

If you plan to wear a dress shirt and suit jacket, one should be a light neutral (think cream, beige, white, light blue) and the other should be a dark neutral (think black, brown, gray or navy). For example, a light blue dress shirt pairs nicely with a navy suit jacket. You could also do the reverse and wear a black dress shirt with a gray suit jacket.


Backdrops

When selecting what color you are going to wear for a photo shoot, it is very important to consider what backdrops will be used. Let's look at a few examples:

White Backdrops

  • Wear solid colors.

  • Recommended colors: Neutral or Jeweled Tones. (i.e. dark grey, black, navy, sapphire blue, deep purple, emerald green, red)

  • Avoid patterns. (i.e. subtle tie patterns or subtle pinstripe suits are the exception)

  • Avoid wearing white. (unless it's a white dress shirt paired with a suit coat).

Black Backdrops

  • Wear solid colors.

  • Recommended colors: Darker Colors. (i.e. black, gray, dark blue, dark red, dark green, dark purple)

  • Avoid bright colors.

  • Wearing white is doable if the shots will be in B&W or if a white shirt is paired with a suit jacket.

  • Avoid patterns. (i.e. subtle tie patterns or subtle pinstripe suits are the exception)

Gray Backdrops

  • Wear solid colors.

  • Recommended colors: Most colors! The richer/deeper the color the better.

  • Avoid wearing the same shade of gray as the backdrop. (i.e. if the backdrop is a lighter gray and you want to wear gray, wear a dark shade of gray.)

  • White can work if the backdrop is a darker gray.

  • Avoid patterns. (i.e. subtle tie patterns or subtle pinstripe suits are the exception)

Natural or Urban Backdrops

  • Wear solid colors.

  • Recommended colors: Most colors! The richer/deeper the color the better.

  • Don't wear the same color as the backdrop (i.e. if you are in a grassy field, don't wear the same shade of green or if you are in front of a brick wall don't wear the same shade of brown.)

  • Avoid patterns.

  • Dress for the weather if outdoors.

Style Options

The nice thing about headshots today is that most of the time you have the flexibility to choose what you wear. With that said, the advice I give any client (male or female) is to dress for your industry or job role. Additionally, I recommend choosing outfits that you feel the most comfortable or confident in. If you are uncomfortable or wearing something that doesn't fit quite right (too small or too large) it will show up in photos. I have broken up style recommendations under two categories below; business casual and corporate.

Business Casual

  • Long-Sleeved dress shirt and dress pants or jeans.

  • Suit Jacket, dress shirt and jeans.

  • Simple, solid color sweater and dress pants or jeans.

  • Sweater w/dress shirt underneath and dress pants or jeans.

  • Long-Sleeved dress shirt, sweater vest and dress pants or jeans.

Corporate

  • Suit and tie.

  • Suit jacket, dress shirt and dress pants.

  • Shirt with company logo.

  • Uniform.

Photo Shoot Prep Tips

In order to ensure you look your best, you are less stressed and are ready for the big day, below are some tips I give all male clients.

  • Get your hair trimmed a couple of days prior to the shoot

  • Shave the day before the shoot to avoid any cuts appearing in the photo (or be really careful shaving the date of the shoot!)

  • File or cut your nails (Yes, men, you need to do this too! Fingers often appear in photos)

  • Decide what you are going to wear at least one day prior to the shoot and have it out and ready to go.

  • If you are wearing a suit jacket in photos, do not drive to the shoot in it to avoid wrinkles and lint.

  • Drink plenty of water in the days leading up to your shoot.

  • Get plenty of sleep the night before to reduce the appearance of bags under the eye.

What to Bring to a Photo Shoot

Following are a couple of things you will want to bring along with you the day of the shoot or at least have handy in your car in you case you need them.

  • Comb or hairbrush

  • Kleenex

  • Lip Balm/Chapstick

  • Lint Roller

  • Water

Gents, consider yourself educated and informed! And don't shy away from booking photo shoots with me even if my company name is Women in Bloom Photography!

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