Frank Frost Photography: albuquerque photographer » an albuquerque photographer who loves what he does

What to Wear for Headshots and More

When it comes to what to wear for headshots, you’d be forgiven if you thought “What to wear for headshots? Well, that’s easy, it doesn’t matter just don’t wear a hat!” After all, aside from your head what else would show up? Well, isn’t that special – but’s it wrong! It’s okay, you’re not a photographer, you’re not expected to know! This time on the Frank Frost blog we’re going to go over what a headshot is precisely and what to wear for your headshots!

What Are Headshots?

You might have heard headshots and portraits used interchangeably for the upcoming office photoshoot and while there is some overlap, these are different. Think of it like a squares and rectangle situation. Not all rectangles are squares, but all squares are rectangles. Similarly, headshots are a type of portrait, but not all portraits are headshots.

More specifically, headshots are a photo, tightly cropped focusing on the face from the shoulders up. The subject is camera aware (meaning looking towards the camera, typically right into the lens.

Headshots are particularly important for actors, models, and those in similar industries. It’s how they can get their face out there. But they don’t have to be reserved for thespians! Anybody can benefit from a well done  headshot! But what to wear for them!?

What Color To Wear for Headshots

Any color can work, if your photographer is set up for it. To make any color work right you need to light it properly and have a background ready to balance it out.

But some colors definitely capture better! Wearing a dark black or bright white can mess with the color and make you appear washed out, so avoid that. Any color that is close to your skin tone can also make it more difficult for the camera to pick out features. 

What About Patterns? 

Let’s put it to bed quickly – patterns aren’t the best idea, for a number of reasons. For one a pattern that is too ‘loud’ can make for a distracting headshot. Patterns can also make a photo feel more dated, faster. Stick to solid colors or very subdued patterns if you want your headshots to last awhile.

How About Styles?

For Ladies

When it comes to tops, look for crew, boat or narrow v-necks are always flattering and lay right. Sometimes collars have a tendency not to work exactly right and can make the final headshot look a little off so avoiding them is easiest. If you typically wear a jacket for your work take a jacket or two to have options but don’t feel you need one to be professional! Make sure your clothes fit well beforehand (a general rule of thumb is a little snug is better than loose) so try them on a few days before the photos are being taken to ensure they fit exactly as you’d like. 

For general guidance on what not to wear:

  • Too low necklines
  • Too high necklines like turtlenecks
  • Busy or trendy patterns (again they’ll photo poorly and date the photo faster)
  • shiny fabrics like silk or satin.
  • short sleeves or sleeveless styles* 

*unless you’ve got strong arms you’re wanting to show off!

How About Accessories?

In general, less is more. Keep jewelry to a minimum. Here are some tips for specific types:

  • Stud earrings are best, especially simple pearls or stones.
  • Hoops and dangling earrings can interfere with your hair and get lost in your portrait.

Remember the focus is on your face and you want as little to distract from it as possible so big jewelry, large hoops, or unique pieces might draw the eye away from your face and ruin the intention of the headshot. If big jewelry is your style, don’t fret, there are ways to make it work!

For Men

The big thing is to make sure your clothes fit right. Especially for jackets and collared shirts. While wearing it, look for gaps at the back of your neck. You don’t want it too tight, however, or else you risk a bit of a bulge of neck over the collar and it will look… not so good on camera. If you’ve never had your clothes tailored before now is a great time to give it a try! It’s surprisingly inexpensive and will give your fit the exact right look. 

Know what style you’re going for and whether you need a tie, a sport coat or a suit coat. If you’re wearing a tie you can wear either a suit or sport coat but if you’re opting for a no-tie look you should only wear a sport coat.  Button down collars rarely lay just right in photos so unless it’s a deliberate style choice of yours best to avoid them.

What About Glasses?

Glasses can be tricky! If you’re not careful the lenses can produce a glare that blocks out your eyes in the photo – and that’s no good! If you’re able, give your glasses a non-glare coating otherwise you can use a set of lens-less frames. They’ll photograph fine and are true to your look. If you forget and there ends up being a glare don’t sweat it too much. Photographers should be able to remove the glare in post-production.

Some Final Tips

Don’t wear your headshot wardrobe in your car. Car seats, driving, heat, seat belts – all of these can mean wrinkled clothes for the photos. Instead bring the wardrobe clean and pressed on hangars and change specifically for the photos.

Speaking of clean and pressed, make sure your clothes are just that. Take them to a tailor to get them sized exactly right for you, whatever you need to make sure your clothes are looking pristine for your photos.

Bring a few options! Since you really only need to worry about the waist and above for your headshot, bring a few different shirts, jackets to get the best photos for you!

Want a few more ideas? Check out our Business and Headshot page for some example headshots and see what others are wearing and what looks good to you.

Ready for your closeup? Schedule your session today with Albuquerque’s best studio, Frank Frost photography!

Why is Photography Important?

That is a big question,  “Why is photography important?” We talked about it previously in a way when we discussed how we are known by what we leave behind, and that’s a big piece of it. Photography captures the moments now so that they are accessible in the future. It documents things as they are, free from the editorialization of memory, or the deterioration of time. Photography is important for plenty of reasons.

Why is Photography Important? It’s Important Because…

It Places You In the Moment

For those in front of the camera, this is literal, photography captures you as you are in this exact moment in your environment. For those behind the lens, the power of photography changes the way we see the world, what we notice and keys us into the moment we look for the perfect shot. We see light, shadows, frames, colors. We note expressions, gestures, feelings, the small human moments that life is made of.

It Documents Your Life

In a purely practical sense, photography document your life! Capturing the moment of your children’s first day of school, birthdays, and those other big life moments. With every passing year, the photos taken serve as a sort of living record to your family’s life and history.

It Creates Firsthand Accounts

Looking even bigger than personal lives, photography is an important historical tool. When it comes to the documenting of history, there are things called “secondhand accounts,” where people know of an event write on a subject, and then there are firsthand accounts – information, stories, tales, from those who experienced the events. Photography, film, these create first-hand accounts of history!

It Connects People Across Space and Time

In a truly sci-fi twist, photography connects folks across space and time! Think about the photos you’ve seen from a hundred years ago or documenting the second world war. Looking at these you see men and women living in their moment, in their place, and just think, in another century your descendants or strangers entirely will be able to look at photos of you in your moment and be connected to your life and experience, if only in that moment.

Photography doesn’t just connect us to our ancestors or our descendants to us. It also helps diffuse information widely through imagery, spreading messages far and wide. It’s why we share school photos with family back home in another state, in one image it transmits the growth and appearance of a loved niece, nephew, grandson, granddaughter, or what have you.

It Brings Joy

Following up on that last point about sharing photos with family members, photography brings joy. Whether it’s in taking the photos (as joyful as  it is for us) or in capturing the joy of the moment. If there’s one thing we all could use more of these days it’s joy. Photos of those precious moments, those good times, can bring a powerful dash of joy in the middle of a stressful day.  Looking at memories of the good times captured on film can help ease the burden of bad times. 

It is An Art

Photography is an art form. It allows us to express ourselves, taking photos of anything from a beautiful landscape, a family home, the lines of weathering on our grandmother’s faces. What the photos capture, what they mean, it’s all a part of the medium of photography as an art. Creating something is perhaps one of the purest pursuits of humanity. That drive for creation is important.
Why is photography important? For us, it’s because we love what we do. Go back to the very first entry here on the blog and you’ll see us talking about just that and in the 14 years since nothing has changed. For us at Frank Frost Photography, photography is important because it’s our passion and yes our livelihood. And we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Time Travel

I’m a time traveler.

I can’t go forward in time. I haven’t figured that one out, yet. And really, that’s okay with me. I’m more interested in traveling back in time. <cue the Huey Lewis music>

I do it every day. I look forward to it. It’s at the point now where I travel back in time without even thinking about it. I don’t use any sort of time traveling spaceship or time machine, although if I did, it wouldn’t look like a 1960’s British police box or a DeLorean. It would probably be more like a traveling refrigerator. I get hungry often, people. It just makes sense. Plus, I’d have a place for time traveling leftovers.

Luckily, though, I don’t need any of that; I travel back in time just fine on my own. Mind you, this is in no way a humblebrag, ‘cause there’s nothing special about me that allows these journeys into the past. Nothing at all. And how far back I go varies. Sometimes, I find myself reliving events that occurred just a few days ago; sometimes, I go back decades, meeting people I never knew.

When I tell people that I am a time traveler, they often ask me the secret, for many, too, want to revisit people and places in their past. I mean, who doesn’t? Whose heart doesn’t ache to go back to a certain time in life that meant something; to once again see our mothers’ eyes or gaze at the chubby legs of our children as they play. These things, though long gone, mean something to us still.

And when asked for my secret to time travel, I always share how I do it. How could I not? I mean, if you’ve found the trick to going back in time to see loved ones again, how could you not share that joy? You’d be a real jerk to keep that ability to yourself.

So if you, like others, are reading this and wondering how it’s done, allow me to share. It’s really  quite easy. It’s done in 3 steps:

  1. Pick up a printed photo
  2. Look at it
  3. Go back in time

Super easy, right? You don’t have to be skilled or smart or come from a long line of time travelers to accomplish it. In fact, YOU could be the first in your family to do it.

But beware—time travelers face villains. Plenty of them. They scoff and tell people wanting to time travel that they don’t need a PRINTED photo to go back in time; it can be done with a digital image. And they are partly correct, for a digital image will take you back in time, sure, but only so far. And worse, there is no guarantee that you will be able to time travel in the future. Thirty years down the road when you want to visit the past again, will you be able to? Will you be able to revisit family and friends on your journey? Or will you sit, crying and praying to the saint of lost pixels: St. Arrghus.

Friends, the only sure time travel is with a printed photograph.

Remember, ANYONE can travel back in time.

Which makes me wonder, why doesn’t everyone do it?

(Note: St. Arrghus doesn’t really do anything. He just sits there powerless, kind of like the pixels you can’t get off that USB drive.)

The Whole Person

She was 17. Not one of the popular kids. She wasn’t a cheerleader or a track star, and she had long given up hope of ever becoming Homecoming Queen. She’ll be lucky if anyone even asks her to the dance.

 She tries to fit in. She loves the trendy clothes all the seniors are wearing, even though her weight makes it difficult to stay in style. Her hair is long, wavy and luxurious. Some say it’s her best feature. She thinks it’s unruly; a dark kinky mass that never cooperates. Freckles dot her face like sprinkles on an ice cream cone, and all the time spent in the summer sun has just made them darker.

Her senior session took place in the Sandia Mountains. She loves nature and feels at home under the tall pine trees. She giggled nervously at first, but as the session progressed, she became more and more relaxed. The poses that had, at first, been rendered unattainable by a set of nerves determined to keep her body from complying, now seemed to flow effortlessly.  She plopped down into a field of wildflowers, laughing like some kind of woodland sprite, her unruly hair lifting on the breeze, her body becoming one with tall grasses and smiling flowers.  The session continued until the last drop of light had been squeezed from the sky.

 The images came to me for retouching.  It was late in the evening, and I was tired. I had already spent a full eight hours in front of the computer, and this was my last order of the day. I opened the file hoping to find a session that could be cranked out in a matter of minutes. Instead, I found 15 images that would keep me up well past midnight.

It didn’t matter, though, because I knew this girl. I had never seen her before, much less spoken to her, but I recognized her.  She reminded me of another teenage girl; a girl I hadn’t thought much about for the past twenty years; a girl I used to see in the reflection of my own bedroom mirror each morning as I got ready for school.

An opportunity to place ones self in another’s shoes doesn’t happen often. Most of us have NO idea what it feels like to be a realtor, or a doctor, or a musician.  We can’t imagine how it feels to repair a broken bone, or perform Beethoven’s fifth in front of a packed Carnegie Hall, but we can reach into the past and wrap our memories around the awkwardness and uncertainty of those high school years. Who among us doesn’t remember the unrequited crush, or the nervousness of a first date? Who can’t empathize with the feelings of uncertainty that permeate high school life?  Moments of sheer jubilation followed by embarrassment.  Floating on cloud nine after being winked at by that “someone special” in the hall, only to find the wink was intended for the girl behind you. Trying fervently to measure up to “the standard” and never feeling confidant you do. That’s what makes photographing seniors unique; we can understand their situation; their place in life, because we’ve all been there.  As I sat in my office and gazed at the image of this senior girl, I could relate to her. I saw her sitting in a field of flowers and I knew exactly what she wanted. I felt her desire echo the unspoken in all of us, regardless of age: she wants to feel special; she wants to feel important; she wants to feel beautiful.

 See, we don’t just photograph a person—we photograph The Whole Person. Clients come to us with more than a change of clothing-they come to our studios and bring every past experience with them: hurts and humiliations, insecurities and fears, triumphs and disappointments. Some wear these experiences like a banner, carrying them out in the open for all to see. Others tuck them away, out of sight, like a pair of old, worn socks encased in a pair of $200 shoes. It doesn’t matter if the subject is one of the “pretty people” or someone who likens sitting for the camera to the pain of a route canal. Insecurities come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and those we don’t see are just as important as those we do, maybe even more so.

She came into the studio with her mom to pick up her order, her face a story of hope and fear. I opened the box, took out her images, and spread them before her in a wash of color. She said nothing, only stared—complete silence. My heart dropped.

After a few moments, she turned to her mom, and, through blue eyes brimming with tears, she smiled. She then turned back to the images said three words that made my heart sing:

 “I look beautiful.”

 My friends, that is why we do what we do.

This time, she came into my studio, the girl with unruly hair and freckles, teeming with unspoken insecurities. The next time, it could be yours.

See her. Understand her. And make her feel beautiful.

Somebody’s Got to Clean the Bathroom


It’s all around us, this directive to “Do work that matters.” I’ve been seeing it from the likes of people I admire, like Seth Godin and Jon Acuff. I’ve read it in books and heard it on podcasts and watched impassioned speakers beseech audiences to redirect their goals. I’ve listened to this buzzphrase #doworkthatmatters and yet, the meaning evaded me. Granted, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but this directive was puzzling. So I did a little research. And by “doing a little research,” I mean I asked The Google.

Turns out, quite often, the “work that matters” concept is related to engaging in something out of the ordinary; a leap into unknown territory gasping a grand idea firmly with both hands. It means harnessing creativity and vision and channeling those into something never before seen or done; it speaks to closet creatives and entrepreneurs working to make a difference and/or a ton of money.

Doing Work that Matters requires leaving the cubicle and creating work that resembles Art; work that goes viral and is the business or brand everyone is talking about. Stepping away from the every day and engaging in work that makes a difference in the world. Work that is brand new. Work that enters through the eyes and ears and seeps down into one’s very soul, drenching the spirit with a honey-like coating of something so remarkable, so incredible, that the lives of everyone who encounters it are impacted forever.

We’re talking life-changing work, people. 

“Let us all turn inward,” they cry, “and be who we were meant to be! Let us be painters and poets and singers and entrepreneurs and inventors and photographers and dancers and create beauty and color and song and fill the world with imagination and fancy! Let us be the Willy Wonka’s, but the Gene Wilder version, ‘cause the Johnny Depp version was awful.”

 And while all that’s fine and good, I hate to burst the Utopia Work Bubble, but somebody’s got to clean the bathrooms.

It has to get done. I mean, if not, they become dirty and smelly and gross and people cease to use them, which means people cease to use the building they are in. Imagine if no public bathroom anywhere was cleaned, because, you know, the fine people who use to clean them are out harnessing their soul and painting a cornfield somewhere. Because… creativity.

Oh, and while we were on the topic:

Somebody has to fix the leaky roof.

Somebody has to install the alarm system.

Someone has to grow the food.

Someone has to cook the food.

Someone has to serve the food.

Somebody has to pick up the garbage

Someone has to deliver the packages.

Someone has to paint the walls.

Someone has to sort the papers and file things and answer the phones.

And therein lies the reason I give the “Do Work that Matters” advice the stink eye.

See, we run into some pretty dangerous thinking when we start to view THIS work as important and THAT work over there as not so much. “Do Work that Matters” implies that if you aren’t engaging in ground-breaking, life-changing work, then your work doesn’t matter, you know,  much like an online photography degree or your

And yet, if every person set down their plunger, took off their headset and walked out of their cubicle, or left their UPS truck by the side of the road, life as we know it would cease to exist.

See, what we fail to realize as we search for work that matters, is that it’s not a matter of finding meaningful work; it’s a matter of finding meaning in whatever work you do.

You can “Do Work that Matters” and design a building unlike anything anyone has ever seen. It can be a marvel of engineering; a building so cutting-edge that, once completed, the very angels in heaven descend to perch atop its gilded towers and sing the “Hallelujah” chorus. You can design it, but for that “Work that Matters” to become a reality, some folks are going to have to show up with tool belts and hard hats. They are going to spend long hours in the blazing sun. They will sweat and labor as they climb ladders and hammer nails and turn that “work that matters” idea into an actual building.

Listen friends: there is no good work or bad work. And if anyone tells you differently, they’ve got something to sell you.  If you work, in any way, doing anything, it matters. YOU matter. Just because you don’t do THAT job doesn’t mean YOUR job isn’t important; it doesn’t mean you don’t add value to this world with your labors.

Just because you don’t own the largest coffee chain in the world doesn’t mean that your tiny corner coffee stand doesn’t impact your neighborhood.

Just because you don’t own Uber doesn’t mean that you don’t impact each and every person that rides in your taxi.

Just because you haven’t a Grammy doesn’t mean that the church choir you direct doesn’t impact every set of ears that hear it.

Meaningful work? People, there is meaning in all of it.

So go ahead and attend that TED Talk about creating work that matters. Sit in your chair in that huge auditorium and allow your heart and mind to be filled with possibilities. Dream your dreams. Make new goals. Decide to take the plunge into whatever creative entrepreneurial pool you choose. Applaud the speaker and leave, floating up the aisle on a cloud of possibilities and determination.

But as you leave, notice the people entering the auditorium, brooms, vacuums and wastebaskets in hand and remember these are the people that allowed you the opportunity to sit in a clean auditorium. Glance at the chairs and the carpet and the lights and curtains and the audio equipment and remember that each of those things were made, shipped and installed by people; and while they didn’t get applause, each one of those people made that TED Talk possible.

Should you do work that matters?

You already do.

Because ALL work matters.