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What to Wear For Acting Headshots? (Wear These 7 Things)

Want to get your acting headshots absolutely right? But not sure what to wear for acting headshots?

For acting headshots, you should strive to go for something that doesn’t take the focus of your face. Wear solid and non-flashy clothes.

However, there is a lot many things you can do when it comes to clothes for headshots. And here we are going to look at the fashion options that you can use while getting your acting headshots.

Also Read: How To Make A Portfolio For Acting?

What To Wear For Acting Headshots?

Though headshots may be all about your face, you should not undermine what to wear. Each color and clothes have their own feel. Since, each person is different, not every combination works for all. 

So here I am going to list out what all you can try and what kind of combination works the best. 

1. Top

For headshots, you don’t have to worry about the bottom. Just concentrate on finding the right top for the headshots. 

When you say top, there are a bunch of things that come to our minds. The top can be a t-shirt, shirt, sweatshirt, tank top, etc. 

For acting, in my experience, solid t-shirts or sweatshirts are the best. Be it, man or woman, solids are the way to go. Especially if you are young, go with any dark color tops. These two colors complement any face type or skin type. And doesn’t take away the focus from your face. 

Important to note, when you are going with a t-shirt, avoid v-necks if you are a man. 

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However, if you want to go with another option, you can always go with shirts if you are a man and vests if a woman. They too work fine for a headshot. 

2. Color

More than the type of top you wear, it’s the color that makes an impact on the headshot. Professional photographers say it doesn’t matter which color you wear, always go for the darker shades for the headshots. Never use the lighter shades. 

Using darker shades doesn’t mean you have to choose only black or brown clothing, go for different colors but they should have a darker tone. The lighter tones tend to reflect light as result headshots will look washed out. 

The reason being darker colors create contrast and your face is well highlighted. Always choose a color that is in contrast with your skin color.

Please look at this picture to see which color you should go for while shooting for headshots:

Acting headshots color pallete

I would suggest going for headshots with different options. Always carry 4-5 different colors with you so that you can actually see on camera which looks the best. 

Don’t carry different shades of one color. It has to be 4-6 different colors. And as I suggested earlier colors have to be on the darker end. 

One more suggestion I have is if you are too confused about which color suits you, just go with black. It is my go-to option. I always carry a headshot with some black-colored clothing. 

3. Jewelry

Should you wear jewelry in headshot? My answer to this question is yes. You should wear appropriate jewelry for the headshot because it adds to the character. 

Jewelry is a good option for a woman to enhance their look. However, what you wear should not take away the focus from your face. It has to add a bit of enhancement and not more than that. 

For men, I recommend not to go with any kind of jewelry. Using an earring or a chain in your neck you will be type cast by the casting agents or directors. Director won’t be able to imagine you in different characters

But what kind of jewelry should you wear for acting headshots?

Don’t use heavy jewelry like a heavy diamond necklace but use simple chains and pendants. 

Find some elegant pendants that are simple in design and improve your overall look but don’t take away the focus from your face. 

My personal favorite is these star and moon pendants (click to look them up on Amazon). They look so elegant and have a simple design. You will love it and they look good on anyone.  

Another reason for getting simple jewelry is that you will be wearing solid tops. This kind of simple jewelry is a good combination with simple tops. 

Look at these examples to get some idea:

jwelery for acting headshots

4. Layer

The first factor I mentioned on what to wear for acting headshots, is tops. Layers are subcategories of tops but they give you a much different look. 

And layer clothing includes shirts, hoodies, jackets, sweatshirts, etc. This could add a little more flavor to your acting headshot. 

Many photographers suggest wearing layers for acting headshots if you are a skinny guy or girl. Also if you wear jackets it gives you more of a professional look. It is good to have a headshot with a professional look if you are trying for an audition as an anchor or presenter. 

However, there is a big no-no when it comes to wearing layers. You don’t want to wear a huge sweater that makes you look bulky. Wear something that makes you look good. 

The best way to choose layers to wear for acting headshots is to see how big your shoulders look when you wear a layer. The reason being that’s the only feature that is visible in the headshot. 

I suggest layers only for men because for them having a broad shoulder is a good idea. For women, go with off-shoulder as they look much better on you. However, you still want to wear some layers, go with jackets but nothing that matches your skin. Go with black or any other dark color jacket. Waistcoats are also a great option for women. 

5. Pattern

I know sometimes solid clothing might bore you or requirements are such that you want to show how you look in different patterns. Yes, you can go for the patterns. 

But which?

I suggest going for small or mid-sized patterns. A small uniform pattern will also work. For men, you can go for check shirts. But remember there should not be too many colors. 

Even printed shirts or t-shirts with small prints can look good in headshots. However, the base color of clothing should be dark and prints can be of contrast or lighter shade of the same color. 

Another thing about patterns is that there is usually something written over the t-shirt. It can be either a brand name or some kind of quote. A small logo or cool quote on the left of your chest is fine. But you don’t want anything written across your chest in big letters. 

If you are wearing polo t-shirts, generally there is something other than written on the left of your chest. It is acceptable. But still, let me tell you it is better to avoid them. You should not endorse anything via headshots. I don’t want your casting agent to know what brand you wear or what kind of movement you support via your clothing.  

6. Makeup

Makeup plays a huge part when you are shooting your acting headshots. If it is done right, it can make you look great in headshots. Especially for women, make-up has to be absolutely perfect. 

However, since these are acting headshots, you don’t have to use too much makeup. If you do modeling, it is fine and good. But for acting, it is always a great idea to show what you look like. 

And nowadays, films are realistic and makers like to keep the characters real. For that they want their actors to use a minimum or no make-up at all. 

Since in movies or TV cameras are a major factor you want the make-up to be camera friendly. So what kind of makeup can you consider to be camera-friendly?

For women, you want to use three things: lipstick, eyeliner, and brown pencil. That’s it! 

What these three things do is highlight your features like eyes, lips, eyebrows, and cheeks. However, many casting agents nowadays ask for headshots without makeup so I would suggest getting a few headshots without makeup too. 

For men, I won’t suggest any heavy makeup. Yes, you can use something that evens out our skin tone. But I have asked many casting agents about makeup for men in headshots and auditions in general. Most of the agents agree men should not wear any kind of makeup for headshots. Show what you are. Don’t try to hide anything.  

Most of the time you get hired because of the defects that you have on your face. Casting is generally based on how fit into the character naturally and not how good you look in your photos.  

7. Hair

It is not always what you wear for acting headshots, but also how you carry your hair. Once, a professional hairstylist told me that hair provides personality to your face. 

The type of hairstyle you do shows your personality. I think if you do it right you can have different headshots with different looks. 

Trying different hairstyles will definitely give you a variety of headshots. Especially if you have good and long hair. I think you should take advantage of it. 

One of my friends who is a casting assistant always tells me whenever you get a haircut, get a headshot too. Because whenever you get a haircut, your looks change.  So it is always best to keep your headshots updated too. 

You might also be thinking, can I color my hair for acting headshots?

Why not?

If you want to try different looks and want to show what you look like with different hair colors, you should go for it. 

Final Thought

I have tried to answer your question on what to wear for acting headshots in a simple way. If you keep these points in mind you will be able to sort out your headshot issues. I suggest getting a headshot every 4-6 six months or whenever you change your look. 

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