Tag Archives: headshots


tips on what to wear to a commercial audition
tips on what to wear for commercial head shots

Are you about to shoot some new commercial head shots and have no idea what to wear?  There are 6 different wardrobe categories that commercial ad agencies and casting directors usually ask for.  I use their categories as a guideline for the looks that I am going to recreate for my head shots.

The different style categories that they usually ask for are as follows;  UPSCALE/SOPHISTICATED, UPSCALE CASUAL, BUSINESS, BUSINESS CASUAL, NICE CAUSAL and lastly there is the ATHLETIC or OUTDOORSY look. Every now and then there might be a request for a lab coat or pair of scrubs or a red or blue colored polo shirt to match the attire of a certain company’s uniform (i.e Best Buy) or maybe it’s a call for professional sports jerseys but for the most part commercial producers are usually looking for 6 specific styles and they are:

UPSCALE/SOPHISTICATED – Rich, elegant, suave, extremely stylish and successful. Think CEO of a multi million dollar company. Expensive high end car commercials, liquor ads and designer cologne campaigns are usually looking for the slick James Bond looking guy in sleek suits (without ties) with very sheik stylish women wearing sleek dresses and jewelry and accessories. The trick here is NOT to be gaudy or “blingy” but sharp, sleek and sophisticated. Well put together.

UPSCALE CASUAL – Similar to the sophisticated look but a little more relaxed and approachable. This is what you might wear out on a first date. Guys maybe wear a sports jacket with jeans and a v-neck or a sweater with the sleeves pushed up and slacks or dark denim jeans. And ladies are looking attractive and sexy but classy and you don’t want to look like your trying too hard.

BUSINESS – This look is completely corporate. Guys are in a basic black, blue, grey, brown business suite with ties. Ladies are in pantsuits maybe blazers with a pencil skirt. It’s very buttoned up and conservative. Think financial advisors.

BUSINESS CASUAL – This look is similar to the Upscale Casual except the Upscale Casual probably has a little more sex appeal to it where as the Business Casual look is still business yet a little more laid back and sophisticated than the strict Business look. Imagine what you might wear if you worked at a cool modern design firm. The styel is modern, simple, cool with a unique personal sense of style.

NICE CASUAL – Basically this is your relaxed weekend, hanging out around the house look. Think family outings and picnics. Avoid track pants or athletic wear. That’s a different category. Maybe it’s a light colored polo and t-shirts, relaxed fit jeans with a buttoned up shirt left untucked. Sneakers or boat shoes.

FITNESS/ OUTDOORSY – Athletic work out clothes. hoodies, compression pants, shorts, tank tops and t’s, sneakers. Outdoors looks can be cargo shorts and pants. Flannel shirts and t’s, hiking boots etc.

I will usually try and cover a high end look, i.e Upscale Sophisticated/Casual and then maybe drop it down a notch and do something Nice Casual and then maybe do some with an Out Doors feel.  For guys it could be good to do this look with a thicker beard and then with each look take the beard down, so that maybe in the Nice Casual you have a little scruff but then for the Upscale Sophisticated you are clean shaven.  There is no one formula.  Be aware of the different trends and looks that are being used in actual commercials and  use that as inspiration.

The most important thing to wear is a sparkle in your eye and a big bright genuine smile.  Hope this was helpful. Enjoy and have fun.