Plan the perfect outfit (or three!) for your upcoming photo session with a real-world understanding of color theory. All headshot bookings with Duane Furlong Studios, which is based in Scottsdale but handles the Phoenix market. I include unlimited wardrobe changes, so you can test a variety of different colors and find a look that you love.
Prioritize simple necklines and solid colors without busy patterns or visible logos. Then, narrow down your options with these three essential color questions:
What does the color convey?
Every color in the rainbow is linked to emotion and memories, whether they’re personal or universal. Your color choice will carry energy and meaning, so it’s important that the outfit matches what you want your headshot to convey.
- Red Fiery and dominant with associated feelings of passion and intensity.
- Orange One of red’s softer allies – orange has dynamic energy related to change.
- Yellow Cheery, hopeful, and bright across the entire spectrum from pastel to vivid.
- Green Promote stability and perseverance with a nod to nature and growth.
- Blue More than just sadness – it instills freshness, trust, and authority.
- Violet Purple signals luxury and romance with links to vibrant creativity.
- White Convey safety, goodness, and innocence associated with opportunity.
- Black The absence of color appears authoritative, powerful, and sophisticated.
Of course, most of our closets aren’t strictly sorted into rainbows and perfect neutrals. Color gradients like blue-purple and yellow-orange bridge the gap with emotional ambiguity. This list is just a starting point.
What looks best on me?
Confidence! Your headshot outfit is meant to uplift and represent you, so it’s important to wear something that you truly feel comfortable in. Prioritize authenticity and choose a color that you like, even if it technically breaks a few color theory rules.
With that in mind, you may want to choose colors that accentuate and highlight your natural features. If you have a warm complexion, you can bring out the copper or pink-tinged rosiness of your skin with off-white, olive green, red, or brown. Cobalt blue, charcoal grey, crisp white, and dark berry colors are perfect for cool complexions with blue undertones.
What looks best on camera?
Talented headshot photographers can adjust lighting and exposure to enhance any outfit. You should never feel overshadowed by your wardrobe or color choice. However, it’s also important to consider how your top will look under studio lights and fit against the background. Get advice from behind the camera with these five pro tips:
- Avoid extreme, highly saturated colors that take attention away from you, like neon yellow and cherry red.
- Pastel colors and sheer fabrics may look more washed out or lose their subtle color in photos.
- Neutrals are always a great option, but super dark colors may get lost and blend into the dark backdrop behind you.
- Opposing colors look great in person, but it doesn’t always translate on camera for headshots. Layer your look with items on the same side of the color wheel. Navy pairs well with royal blue and ivory is the perfect neutral for pink.
- Deep colors and rich jewel tones always pop on camera. Plus, they look great on every skin tone.
Once you’ve settled on a specific color, it’s best to bring a few different variations. For example, if you want to wear purple, consider bringing light purple, lavender, and dark plum tops to your session. With Duane Furlong Studios (Based in Phoenix), it’s easy to get new headshots that convey the right image. Plan your outfit and find the perfect fit.