Well, let's face it, dear Readers: none of us is getting any younger! As much as we all might like it to be so -- it's just not happening! So let's just stop using white backgrounds! They are harsh and unflattering, and are probably the most aggressive lighting you can choose for a photo. When we have a photo of ourselves, we want it to be the best possible version of ourselves. But by choosing a white background, you're opting for one of the toughest settings for even the youngest and most attractive among us to look good. Seriously, only babies look good with a white background!
Light gray is the new black! These days I'm recommending all my clients at least consider a light gray background instead of the harsh old standard white. Light gray is softer and far more flattering, as well as looking more dimensional. On its own it serves as a much less hard and unforgiving background than white. There are no limits on using light gray as a background either, since the subject still stands out from the background. This means that if desired the subject could even be cut out from the background and placed in another (though I don't recommend this treatment - instead, I typically prefer to shoot on location. Like Hawaii! Hint, hint!).
Early in the planning process, after we determine the location for the shoot, we'll talk in detail about backgrounds. I do recommend mixing it up a bit during the shoot -- a couple different backgrounds, maybe a couple different wardrobe choices -- to keep the energy and interest level up in your photos. But when thinking about background colors be wary of opting for white -- unless you happen to be a bright red pair of headphones, it's unlikely this setting is going to be flattering! Instead, I'll recommend light gray, as this will mean less harsh lighting and I know you'll be much happier with the headshots we take!