Looking Your Best for Your One-on-One Portrait Session

Every day we get dressed. We put on clothes for work or play. Pants, sweats, dresses, heels.  Blazers, t-shirts, and shirts. We know how to get dressed for business, parent-teacher conferences, or just to run down to the store. But how do we get dressed to stand, sit, and connect with a camera? We want to look like our true selves—full of grace, wisdom, and confidence. 

Below are some guidelines to help out:


Even though we want to celebrate who we are (and not who someone else thinks we’re supposed to be), there are clothing, hair, and makeup choices that will help make your photographs be less about that date-night blouse or gold eyeliner and more all about you and your true confidence.


• For bright eyes and clear skin? Definitely drink lots of water the day before and be well-rested.

• New cuts and hairstyles can be fun but definitely NOT just before your shoot –hair always photographs better slightly grown-out—it’s softer. (Pro-tip: If there’s time in your schedule, consider getting a stylist to blow dry, or set your hair the day of the shoot.) Laurie B Studio offers hair styling services to refresh your hair before stepping in front of the camera: easy up or down-do’s, flat-ironing touch-ups, curling, and some hairspray to finish—(just no wash and blow dry’s).

• Your make-up should be clean and natural with an emphasis on your eyes. (Pro-tip: wearing a layer of translucent powder makes any shine disappear, pores seem smaller, skin looks even-toned). Laurie B Studio offers light makeup services—a natural look and extra-eyelashes can always help you look and feel your best.

No makeup products with shimmer, sparkle, or shine—they detract from the real you on camera. (Pro-tip: also avoid frosts or overly-bright colors)


Now let’s talk clothing. What to bring and what to leave at home — because it may look fantastic behind a podium, in a conference room, or at an event, but less amazing on camera—and we really want to see You.


Bring options. Your favorite and some back-ups. Bring one or two, the one you love and can never get rid of, and a couple other pieces that feel timeless.

Choose your favorite business-oriented outfit that has a classic, season-less, completely timeless look. (Pro-tip: you shouldn’t be able to tell what decade it is in the photo.)

V-necks and scoops always look great. They accentuate the neckline and generally look best on women. So, no ultra-low necklines and no turtlenecks—just some great options in the middle.

Sleeves or sleeveless? Executive headshots tend to look more professional with covered shoulders, but if you'd like to try a sleeveless blouse or shift dress, we’ll make it work. Make sure the top fits well particularly under your arms – not too loose or skin revealing. And bring your favorite blazer, jacket, or sweater as layering options.

Jewelry and accessories. Let’s keep them simple, classic, personal. Highly reflective or flashy accessories distract on camera. Simpler pieces always work better.

We love all things fashion, but certain kinds of clothing can look complicated or dated on film and detract from your portrait.

Leave the big, bold, high-contrast patterns, and neon colors at home—we want to see you and your smile.

No grid-like patterns. Small checks or herringbone patterns can create a moiré effect on camera, but thin stripes look fine.

• No ultra-white unless it’s always been your signature color and it’s layered under a blazer, jacket, or sweater.

Avoid loose or baggy tops and shawls that hide your beautiful shape.

So, shop your closet, swipe on some mascara, push your hair back,

And show up with your true self (and options).



• For bright eyes and clear skin? Definitely drink lots of water the day before and be well-rested.

Drop by your barber a week or so in advance of the photoshoot—remember to trim and groom your facial hair too.

• If your photo session is late in the day, don’t forget your shaver to avoid a five o’clock shadow (unless well-groomed scruff is the look you love)



• Options. Options. Options. Bring a favorite shirt and your killer suit, the one that makes you look sharp and feel extra-comfortable in front of the camera, plus have a back-up at the ready.

Suits—think classic when choosing clothing for your professional portrait. Choose your favorite suit that fits you well. Rich and dark colors like navy blue or gray read best on camera. (Pro-tip: If it pulls across the shoulder or bunches up when you button it, leave it at home.)

Shirts and ties—think simple. When choosing a shirt and a tie that complement each other and your suit. (Pro-tip:ties look best when their tone falls between the suit and the shirt-- so alight shirt, a dark suit, and a tie in a shade somewhere between them. Some ties are shiny – stay away from reflective, shiny silk ties.)

Blazers and sweaters—are a great way to layer and add detail.

• If you decide to go tie and jacket-less—Choose a non-white shirt. (Pro-tip: choose a color or a darker shirt or something with pockets or details—they’ll work better in your portrait).


Leave the big, bold, high-contrast patterns, ultra-bright colors and shiny ties at home—we want to see you and your good energy.

No grid-like patterns. Small checks or herring bone patterns can create a moiré effect on camera, but thin stripes look fine.

Undershirts should be invisible—if you choose to go tie-less, wear a minimalist v-neck or nothing—undershirts are not the first thing anyone wants to see in your portrait.


Follow the hair, makeup, grooming, and wardrobe tips for women and men.

Everyone should wear a similar colors, tones, and styles—it helps to unify the photo. (Pro-tip:whether business formal or business casual, earth tones or jewel tones—everyone keep to a singular group look and feel for best results).

• Details matter. Plan to show up 10-15 minutes early so you don’t feel rushed—but relaxed. Take a few minutes when you arrive to touch up your hair and makeup.Straighten your tie, adjust your blouse, fluff your bangs, and do a last-minute mirror check for your true smile and glowing confidence. We’ll capture your best up close and personal moments.

Additional Tips and Resources for Looking and Feeling Great for Your Session

For Beautiful Skin, Lashes and Brows

Let's Face It Wholistic Skincare in San Rafael, takes getting ready for your photoshoot to a whole other level. Make an appointment with Judi, owner and professional aesthetician, who will help your skin get hydrated and glowing, naturally. She's also a pro at shaping brows to bring out the best in your eyes!

Looking for Your Unique Style for Your Shoot?

Shelley Golden, owner of A Style Experience, is a professional personal stylist and image consultant. Whether you are looking to create a unique look, up-leveling your job, wanting a makeover or need help shopping for the perfect photoshoot clothing, you'll find expert help at A Style Experience.

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