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I get asked about what to wear for photoshoots a lot – especially when it comes to headshots. People ask about jewelry, clothing types, hair, and makeup. The thing I get asked about the most is arguably the most important… 


Corporate Headshots at Alimond Studio.  She's a blue for sure.

It’s pretty amazing how our brains interpret colors. We have different feelings on products based solely on their colors. I know I talk a lot about perception management, but when you are trying to decide on a color to wear for your headshot, it really IS all about perception.  

How does a certain color make people feel? 

Research says that within 90 seconds, a person will make some sort of subconscious decision on a product. 62-90% of those judgements are based on color ALONE. 

Here’s what researchers say about each color: 

Red is… 

  • Courageous 
  • Passionate 

  • Energetic 

  • Thrilling 

Orange is… 

  • Excited 
  • Cheerful 

  • Secure 

  • Intriguing 

Yellow is… 

  • Peppy 

  • Impromptu 

  • Vigorous 

  • Creative 

Green is… 

  • Healthy 
  • Fresh 

  • Prosperous 

  • Peaceful 

Blue is… 

  • Credible 
  • Responsible 

  • Safe 

  • Loyal 

Purple (or Indigo, for you artists) is… 

  • Dignified 
  • Enigmatic 

  • Astute 

  • Spiritual 

Brown is… 

  • Natural 
  • Straightforward 

  • Down-to-earth 

  • Reliable 

Black is… 

  • Exclusive 
  • Sophisticated 

  • Classy 

  • Authoritative 

White is… 

  • Pure 
  • Clean 

  • Uncomplicated 

  • Flawless 


There’s a lot to take in here, I know. It’s really good information, though, especially when you start to think about some well-known brands and how you perceive them.  

Coca-cola and Virgin are both red because they are going after an audience with the promise of excitement.  

McDonald’s is yellow… probably because of the often-spontaneous nature of fast food.  

Whole Foods is green, of course. 

Chase and Dell? Blue. They want to be seen as dependable and safe. 

UPS is brown and proud of it. They push the fact that they are reliable.  

And, last but not least, Apple is white for perfection. 

Isn’t it crazy how much those descriptions make sense? Choosing a shirt, suit, tie, or dress is actually more complicated than you think. 

Think about what you want to achieve with your photos and then choose some color options from there. 

If you want to be perceived as being on the cutting edge, maybe you should try red and white. If you want to be seen as the master of alternative medicine, try brown, green, and white.  

I always tell my clients that they can bring in as many shirts as they would like for a photo session. It’s nice to try a few shirts on and see what kind of feeling the finished product gives you. Are you coming across in a way consistent with your brand? 

But hey, let’s be honest – we all know that we look best in certain tones. Not every color looks good on every person. I have a good friend who swears that white and brown will never be seen on her ever again because she thinks that it washes her out. Yet in the same breath, she jokes that she used to hate black because it seemed too harsh to her and now ¾ of her closet is black.  

Colors do funny things to people. There’s a lot of shades within every category, so it’s definitely possible to find a shade that works for you.  

The real question is… what color are you?

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