Deciding on a Headshot Background Color

August 17, 2023

The background color you choose for your headshots is almost as important as your attire and facial expression. The background color sets the tone for your image, complements your features, and helps convey the intended message. Whether you’re aiming for a more formal look, a creative look, or a warmer, more personable feel, we’ll guide you through how to select your background, as well as the best background color options to choose from.

How to Select the Ideal Background Color for Your Headshots

1. Consider Your Brand and Purpose

Before you decide on a background color, think about your personal brand, the purpose of the headshot, and the message you want to convey. If it’s for a corporate setting, neutral tones like gray, white, or soft blues can project professionalism. If you’re in a creative field, you might want to experiment with bolder colors.

2. Match Your Attire

Your outfit and the background should harmonize. If you’re wearing neutral colors, a complementary background will help you stand out. For instance, a navy suit could pop against a light gray or white background. If you’re dressed in bolder colors, a more subdued background can prevent visual clutter. If you’re unsure about your wardrobe for your headshots, check out our post on choosing what to wear for your headshots.

3. Focus on Skin Tone

Your skin tone should guide your background color choice for your headshots. Cool backgrounds (like blues and grays) work well with cool undertones, while warmer backgrounds (such as beige or earthy tones) complement warm undertones. This balance ensures your skin looks natural and vibrant. Just ensure that the background color doesn’t match your skin tone exactly. You still want to stand out from the backdrop.

4. Think About Mood and Message

Colors evoke emotions and perceptions for the viewer of your headshot. White is clean and professional, gray is sophisticated and a bit softer, and black is more prestigious and dramatic. Consider the mood you want your headshot to project and select a background color that aligns with that mood.

5. Look at Contrast

Contrast is key to making your headshot pop. Light backgrounds work well with dark attire, while dark backgrounds complement light clothing. The right level of contrast ensures that both you and your outfit are the focal points.

6. Be Mindful of Trends

Trends in background colors can change, so it’s wise to consider timeless options that won’t look dated after a few years. Opt for neutral backgrounds or colors that align with your brand rather than trendy shades that might lose relevance.

7. Think About Future Use

Consider where your headshot will be used. If it’s for multiple platforms, you might need different background colors to suit each context. Having versatile headshots with neutral backgrounds can offer more flexibility. We offer Tampa headshots packages that allow for multiple backgrounds and multiple outfits.

Best Background Colors for Headshots

Now that you have an idea of what you want to convey through your headshots, let’s talk about our favorite professional headshot background colors.


A corporate favorite, white is a classic, professional look that appeals to the masses. It allows your expression to really stand out in the photo and creates for a very crisp, clean headshot.

White is ideal for those in larger corporations, as well as the medical, financial, legal, and technology industries.


A black background creates an elegant, prestigious feel, which makes it ideal for premium or luxury brands. It commands authority and sophistication.

It has a bolder, more dramatic presence and carries a feeling of depth, making it ideal for creatives.

A black background looks great for any industry, from creative to formal, and evokes a deeper emotion than most traditional background colors. 


Suitable for all industries, gray is a timeless favorite.
Similar to white, it has a very clean, professional feel, but with a slightly softer and more personable touch. You can’t go wrong with a gray background for your professional headshot. 

It’s also a versatile color that allows you to darken or lighten it in the editing process, depending on the mood you wish to create. Go darker for more sophistication or lighter for a more personal vibe.


Beige is a less common background color for corporate headshots compared to white, black or gray. 

Beige or any pastel colors create a softer, warmer presence, and work great for more personable brands that want to create a friendly, light-hearted, and sometimes more playful feeling.


In conclusion, selecting the right background color for your headshot is a thoughtful process that requires considering your brand, attire, skin tone, and the message you want to convey. For most instances, we generally recommend neutral, professional colors like white, gray, and black.

The background you use from your headshots is more than just a backdrop; it’s a powerful tool that can enhance your image and make a lasting impression. By carefully choosing a background color that aligns with your goals, you’re taking a significant step toward creating a headshot that captures attention and reflects your identity.

About Us

The Gala Studio is a Tampa headshots studio located in Hyde Park and minutes from downtown Tampa. We specialize in corporate headshots, business headshots, executive portraits, acting headshots, and more!

We also provide a photography studio rental to local Tampa photographers.