Should You Wear Glasses In Photos?


A common question I get from clients is, “Should I wear my glasses or not?” To settle this quandary, I ask how they routinely show up in the world. – if everyone knows you for always wearing glasses, then you should absolutely have them for your portraits and headshots. If the inverse is true, then don’t wear your glasses. Having said that, I explain that it’s worth doing both – with and without glasses – because digital space is cheap, and it’s better to have options! I never want my clients to look at their photos and wonder, “Is this really me?” So, if you have to choose, how do you decide whether to wear glasses or not for your portraits?

confidence booster glasses

The Case for Glasses

Be Authentically You

The number one reason to wear glasses in your photos is if you’re known for wearing glasses to the outside world. That’s the you who shows up to your peers, friends, and more! Wearing your everyday, authentic glasses is crucial for headshots and business or branding portraits

Confidence Booster

Additionally, if you feel good in your glasses, you should absolutely wear them. Any kind of confidence booster is tremendous when getting your picture taken—it can elevate your images for significantly more powerful portraits.

Professional and Approachable Perception

Another fun fact is that wearing glasses can make you seem professional yet approachable. Keep the glasses on if you’re looking for that in your images! Helmut Leder published a great paper in 2011, “The Glasses Stereotype Revisited: Effects of Eyeglasses on Perception, Recognition, and Impression of Faces,” in which he breaks down how glasses (including various styles) can impact people’s perception of the wearer. 

Safety & Relaxation

Lastly, if you need glasses to see clearly, you’ll want to keep them on during your session; otherwise, you’ll be squinting trying to see the camera! There’s also a safety factor of ensuring you don’t fall over.

Tips for Wearing Glasses in Photos

The Right Glasses Frames For Your Face

People come in all shapes and sizes, including face shapes! Some frame styles work better for specific face shapes than others. This diagram by Real Men Real Style has a great breakdown:

glasses frame shape for face shape

This WikiHow has a wonderful breakdown specifically for women.

The tl;dr version is – find a frame shape that contrasts your face shape, AKA round face = angular frames!

glasses frame styling

Minimize Makeup and Other Accessories

I typically recommend aiming for subtlety with makeup and accessories when wearing glasses. Too much can be distracting and pull focus away from your face! For the ladies, a bold lipstick color can really make your glasses pop, though!

Bring Multiple Frame Colors With Different Outfits

If you wear multiple outfits during your photo session, I’d recommend bringing along numerous frames of various colors. You can work with your photographer to pair your glasses frames with your outfits to complement each other and make you look your best!

Clean Glasses Before, During, and After

Please make sure you clean your glasses before your session. I recommend bringing a microfiber cloth to clean up any streaks that appear while you adjust your glasses. Dirt spots can be removed when editing images, but smudges are a royal pain!

Glasses Glare Control & Positioning Magic

Glasses are reflective surfaces, meaning strong light sources will be seen in the lenses within your pictures. Your photographer will need to modify their light placement and the positioning of your face to reduce or eliminate glare in the images. This means that your head position may need to be adjusted more frequently during the session to ensure we see your eyes and not a light!

The Case for Going Glasses-Free

Eye Focus

Glasses will draw the viewer’s eye to your face, but they can be distracting from your eyes. To let your audience zero in on your eyes, nix the glasses in your images. Anything between your viewer and your face (in this case, glasses) is another barrier to conveying warmth and engagement.

Consider Contacts

If you’re aiming for a specific look that doesn’t include glasses but you rely on glasses to see, then I’d recommend leveraging contacts. Photographers can edit out the soft blue ring on your eyes from the contact edge, so you don’t have to worry about that showing up in your images. 

Tips for Going Glasses-Free in Photos

Makeup Strategy

If you typically wear glasses, your standard makeup strategy may need to be updated. Glasses can do a lot of work to define your face, so you may need more or different eye makeup to restore that definition if you opt out of wearing them. You can also go bolder with your eye makeup without glasses, which can be super fun!

Confidence is Key

Feeling confident is the best way to look confident in your photos. If you feel comfortable without your glasses, you will be a rockstar in your images. 

The Final Decision

Focus on what makes you feel most confident and comfortable and how the world recognizes you. If you feel your best in glasses and your peers know you with a pair, then wear them for your photos. Don’t forget to talk to your photographer about what you want your images to look like and for their input to accomplish those goals. They’ll help guide you along the way! Lastly, glasses take about 10 seconds to put on or off, so if you can’t decide – bring a pair along, try some shots with and without them, see what looks best, and then go from there! No matter what – your comfort and confidence is vital.