11 Fashion Tips for Better Business Portraits

Business portrait of a Caucasian woman and man in front of a hand painted Oliphant backdrop.

Business Portrait Fashion Tips For Women and Men

  1. For business portraits, choose an outfit that you would wear when meeting one of your best clients.
  2. To hold attention on your eyes and flatter your face wear conservative clothing. Mid-range and darker, solid colours such as blue, brown, gray, red, green are best for both men and women.
  3.  Avoid busy patterns, large amounts of white and very bright colors. You want to draw attention to your face and use your clothing as a frame.
  4. Simple, classic styles will not look dated as styles change. Suits tailored from structured fabrics such as wool and linen work well. Single-breasted suits or jackets tend to lay better when you are sitting for a portrait.
  5. Avoid fabrics that wrinkle easily.
  6. A good fit is important for your suit and shirt. The camera will show if your clothing is either too tight or drapes poorly on your body.
  7. If you have an afternoon appointment, bring a fresh shirt to wear.
  8. If you prefer casual clothes, scarves, capes, hats or props, bring them along. You are also welcome to bring several clothing choices to your session and let me help you choose which outfit will photograph best.

2 Tips for Men’s Business Portraits

  1. White or light pastel shirts worn by themselves tend to look washed out and draw attention away from your face.
  2. A better choice for business portraits is a business jacket with an open shirt or a sweater.
Headshot of a businessman wearing a suit in a corporate office to illustrate an article about business portraits.

2 Tips For Women’s Business Portraits

  1. Metal jewelry works well. Necklaces should be short and go with the neckline of the blouse. Earrings need to separate from hair. Brooches can be attractive but need to be large to show up in print.
  2. Women with long hair should choose a jacket that is a different tone from their hair; otherwise, the hair and jacket tend to run together when the photo is printed.
Business portrait of a woman in a beautiful downtown corporate office. Photographed by Brett Gilmour in Calgary.

When To Use These Tips

The 11 fashion tips for business portraits are suitable for portraits used in corporate communications, advertising material and online profiles such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

Brett Gilmour is a commercial and advertising photographer with extensive experience photographing web and print campaigns of people and architecture for editorial and corporate clients. He has been awarded the Gold Nugget Award for architectural photography 3 times. He is the Past-President of the CAPIC, Prairie Chapter; a former Co-Chair of the Calgary Marketing Club and was juror of the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

This article may be reproduced in entirety as long as URLs and copyright information remain intact, and a link is provided back to this article. © Brett Gilmour, all rights reserved. For editorial use contact Brett Gilmour.

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