How To Select A Killer Outfit For Headshots and Personal Branding Photos

Exclusive Interview with Style Me Tay

One of the most common questions I get before a photoshoot is, ‘What should I wear for my headshot session?’ I’d be lying if I said choosing the perfect outfit for your photoshoot was a simple task. For this post, I interviewed Raleigh-based personal stylist and business owner, Taylor Puryear, to uncover some industry secrets and outfit selection tips! I’ll be sharing Taylor’s insights on how to dress for personal branding photos and important things to consider when selecting an outfit for headshots. Let’s jump in!

Personal stylist Taylor Puryear of Style Me Tay wears camouflage cargo pants and oversized white sweater as she positions a necklace on model wearing lightwash jeans a black bodysuit and oversized olive green blazer

Q: Would you mind introducing yourself and sharing a brief overview of your approach to personal styling?

A: Hi! Thank you for having me. My name is Taylor Puryear, and I am a personal stylist and shopper based in Raleigh, NC. From a young age, I’ve been obsessed with following the latest trends and designers in the industry, later realizing that something that is a passion of mine doesn’t come as easy for others. I [was repeatedly] approached by (now) clients to advise them on what to wear, and suddenly, StyleMeTay was born. Each and every one of us is unique, and I believe clothes are a way to express our individuality. I take my client’s wants and desires and put my personal spin on them. My ultimate goal is to make each client feel like the most confident version of themselves!

Q: When it comes to picking the perfect outfit for headshots, what’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give a client?

A: I’ve always been a big proponent of the idea that what you choose to wear in your headshots is ideally your first impression, and we want to make a great one! My tried and true advice is to stick with solid colors, form-fitting clothing, and simple jewelry. After all, you are the most important part of the photo, and we want no distractions.

Sara Coffin wears denim corset shirt and black leather pants outfit for headshots during a photo studio photoshoot

Q: Is there a different approach you’d take to styling someone for a personal branding photoshoot versus a headshot session?

A: Definitely! The rules I follow for professional headshots don’t apply when it comes to personal branding. With personal branding shoots, the look you want to achieve depends on the story you want to tell. You are the author of your own story. I always advise my clients to wear their brand’s colors and outfits that fit their brand personality.

Dressing For Your Brand Personality

Okay. Pause for some quick examples of this because I love Taylor’s point about dressing for brand personality. I’ve photographed many different types of luxury service providers, and the photos always turn out best when clients wear outfits that reflect their brand’s ~vibe~. For example, a luxury realtor might choose business-professional attire, such as what they’d wear to show a premium listing or attend an important broker’s open (think: blazer, dress pants, or midi shift dress). Similarly, an interior designer may opt for an edgier or more colorful outfit pairing to communicate their artistic side while still keeping things business-casual-esque.

Q: Renting versus buying your outfit? Thoughts?

A: I love the idea of renting outfits. I have closets full of rentable items for my clients because I believe they shouldn’t have to purchase an entire head-to-toe look to only wear once. However, I also believe in building your wardrobe with staple pieces. So, if you are someone who needs a good base, purchasing staples is something I will always recommend. 

Taylor’s List of five must-have staple pieces:

  1. Medium wash straight leg Jean 
  2. Well tailored blazer 
  3. White button-down 
  4. A good, basic tee
  5. Leather jacket 
Black clothing rack holds various pastel colored Alo Yoga workout clothes on clear hangers

Q: What would you tell clients asking about the best color to wear for a professional headshot?

A: For professional headshots, I believe in sticking to neutral colors so your headshot is timeless. While I love color, sometimes color can age your headshots quicker than you’d like. Naturals—like black, tan/nude, white, and navy—are always a good choice.

Q: What are your tips on accessorizing your outfit for personal branding photos?

A: Heels are always a must! Jewelry is a fun way to dress up a look – have fun with it! 

Q: How many outfits do you recommend bringing for a personal branding session?

A: Three outfits is the perfect amount!

Note: Three outfits is usually a sweet spot, and I’d also advise you to consider your photoshoot duration when pulling outfit choices. For an hour-long session, I recommend preparing two primary looks with a third alternate if you have time for it! For a 2 hour session, three looks are definitely doable and will give your photos much more versatility!

Personal stylist clasps a necklace on  models neck inside a photo studio

Q: What’s the main thing you recommend staying away from when choosing an outfit for headshots or a personal branding photoshoot?

A: Unflattering clothes! Know your body and dress for your body type. If you are uncomfortable in something, it’s probably not the best choice for you. This is when hiring a personal stylist comes in handy!

Q: What should a client expect to invest in a personal styling consultation for a headshot or personal branding session? What about the price of purchasing or renting outfits?

A: You should expect to spend roughly $250+ for a personal styling session, depending on the level of detail and number of outfits. I always say that personal styling is like Instacart, but for fashion. The convenience and ease of having outfits selected, fitted, accessorized, and available on site for you is just the tip of the iceberg. You’re getting the expertise of someone who will not only show you what to wear but also how to wear it.

Typically, a good budget for buying new clothes would be anywhere from $75 to $250 / piece. Of course, luxury items are more.

Past Work With Style Me Tay in Raleigh, NC

Taylor has been my go-to girl for styling clients since 2022, and I have learned so much from her over the years. Taylor and I recently collaborated on this amazing creative editorial project styling @laurenmbrown in downtown Sanford.

I also worked with Taylor for my rebrand photoshoot back in November 2022, and a full year later, I’m still obsessed with the outfits she put together for me.

Benefits of Working With A Personal Stylist

Consulting with a personal stylist is something I recommend to all of my portrait clients. It can feel really overwhelming to put together the perfect outfit for headshots or your personal branding session, and most people don’t know where to begin. The true value of working with a personal stylist lies in their ability to make you look and feel your absolute best on camera. When you’re confident in how you look, you carry yourself differently and pose differently, and it all shows up in the photos. Outfits that are flattering, compliment your skin tone, and reflect your personal brand make a huge difference in the quality and longevity of your images!

Two women wearing jeans and collared blouses face each other during personal branding photo session by Sara Coffin Photo

Hiring A Personal Stylist For Headshots or Personal Branding Photos 

In September, I had the honor of shooting a personal branding session for Taylor and her business partner, Kayleigh’s, new personal styling and hair business venture, Purkey.

Taylor’s background in personal styling combined with Kayleigh’s speciality in luxury hair extensions and coloring makes this dynamic duo your perfect glam squad. Purkey is a salon and style lounge concept that offers virtual and in-person outfit styling, shopping, and hair styling services. Clients searching for a high-touch, luxurious experience can book a joint styling session with Taylor and Kayleigh!

If you’re interested in working with Taylor for your next headshot or personal branding session, check out StyleMeTay to view her portfolio and learn more about her personal styling services. You can never go wrong consulting with the pros before putting together a killer outfit for your photoshoot! If you’re ready to book your next headshot or personal branding session, let’s chat here.


How To Select A Killer Outfit For Headshots and Personal Branding Photos

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