When it comes to the best colors to wear for professional photos, there can be so many tips that the information overload is overwhelming. Good news, however… it doesn’t have to be stressful! With a few simple tips you can ensure that you’re situating yourself for the most flattering photos; that way you will have pictures of yourself that you’re really proud of.

There are different types of photos and the style associated with each one can make a huge difference color-wise. If you are taking headshot category.

Meanwhile, if you’re a blogger, influencer, or someone in an untraditional line of work, wearing something that’s full of color and vibrancy when shooting fashion photos can be a good thing. After all, a lot can be said about someone’s style, personality, and overall aesthetic by the colors and patterns that they’re wearing.

Different Colors Can Be Used for Different Reasons

When deciding the best colors to wear for professional photos, it’s better to play it safe rather than sorry. A professional headshot is not the time to experiment with bold colors or patterns. Using subdued colors, like a simple black, ivory, or neutral color will allow you to look sleek and professional.

As we previously mentioned, things are a little different in the case of family portraits, blog photos, and Instagram aesthetics. In that case, pops of color are gladly welcome — so long as they coordinate with the other subjects in the photo as well as the background in which the photo is being shot. That’s not all, though.

Before playing around with vibrant colors, it’s worthwhile to take the extra step to see what colors go well with your skin tone. If you’re a warm tone, you should stick to warm colors. If you’re a cool tone, you should rock cool colors. At least, most of the time. But what does all of that mean?

As explained by Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute, here’s an easy way to discover what colors work best for you:

  • Warm Tones: If you have dark brown to dark blonde hair along with olive skin, you’re likely a warm tone. Colors that look good on you include oranges, reds, golds, magenta, and turquoise.

  • Cool Tones: You’re a cool tone if your hair is very dark black, very dark blonde, or very dark brown. (AKA, the darkest shades of each hair color.) You can be cool-toned regardless of your complexion; what matters is whether or not your skin has a blueish undertone. Colors that look good on you include lavender, royal blue, ruby, and emerald green.

  • Neutral Tones: If you have hazels eyes and hair that’s a combination of colors (naturally), you may be a neutral tone. Colors that look great on neutrals include light pink, and really any light color that’s not too stark and vibrant.

It can all be a bit confusing, so if you’re looking for a less ambiguous assessment, head on over to your nearest makeup store and have them tell you your color profile.

Colors Convey Meaning

What do you want your photo to say about you? Colors have meanings that can be picked up by the viewer, so it’s important to keep that in mind when wearing colors for photos. Here’s a quick guide.

  • Red: passion, energy, fierceness, determination

  • Orange: optimism, sociability

  • Yellow: cheerful, intellectual

  • Green: balance, growth

  • Blue: trust, peace, loyalty

  • Purple: imaginative, creative

  • Pink: girly, nurturing, loving

  • Brown: comfort, security

  • Gray: unemotional, transitional

  • Gold: success, triumph, luxury

  • White: pure, perfect, innocent

  • Black mysterious, hidden

All in all, figuring out which colors to wear in professional photos is not always black and white. (See what we did there?) Instead, it can be a nuanced art form and one that takes a little experimentation to totally nail. But as long as you keep some things in mind — like no wild patterns in career photos — you can rest assured that you’re on the right track.