Many of you have been asking “what’s the difference between a Headshot & Portrait” ... Great question & I’ll attempt to answer that here...
Historically Portrait and Professional Headshot terms have been used interchangeably. These types of photos can have some overlap, but there are differences. Having some idea of the differences will help you better understand the type of look you need in order to promote yourself, your business, etc.
A professional Headshot is a type of portrait. Basically, a headshot is a picture of your face, cropped tighter than a portrait, generally a photo of the face, from the shoulders up (but on occasion could show more of the body).
The subject is typically looking right at the camera, this helps create a human connection between you and the viewer. “Back in the day” when referring to headshots these were typically reserved for Models and Actors & their Headshots were more important than their resume, it’s a quick and easy way for casting directors to scan through many images for that “certain look” they need.
In today’s world where everyone is socially connected, a modern headshot is preferred over a Traditional Portrait and is essential for anyone looking to market themselves either professionally or personally.
Here are just some of the potential uses for a professional Headshot:
LinkedIn & other Social Media applications.
Online dating profiles.
Just to name a few...
Headshot Lighting & Cropping
Headshot lighting is more of a soft even light, almost shadow less, your entire face is well lit. This is a very flattering style of lighting, it helps minimize “imperfections” that you may have. This in combination with our natural retouching gives you a very pleasing image that you will be thrilled with.
Your Headshot should fill most of the frame with your face. The viewers or your Headshot should be able to recognize you quickly. A clean full faced image of you without distracting backgrounds or clothing is a great benefit of a professional Headshot.
Do not be concerned with a full faced photograph for your Headshot – these will be viewed very small, like the size on a business card or LinkedIn profile and will not be enlarged.
Since Headshots are more functional as compared to a Traditional Portrait in a marketing sense, a simple background is key to a great looking headshot.
Two of the best background options (but not limited too) are a White & Medium Grey. Black is also a good choice in the right application. You do not want the viewer to be distracted by the background at all.
A Traditional Portrait much more personal, it is a likeness of a person to identify them, it goes beyond a Headshot. It also tells you something more about the person - or their personality.
This is typically more creative, different lighting, more dramatic, accent lighting, canvas backgrounds or even environmental settings.
Beside some of the uses for a Headshot some other uses for Traditional Portraiture in the business world could be as follows:
Posterity – A Corporate President / Owner would like a more formal portrait to be remembered by, maybe a large print to hang in the corporate board room or Lobby.
Showcase them or the Board members in their Marketing pieces & website.
Showcase them within their business, in their facilities or with their products (something like this can be expanded into a full Branding Session but we will cover this at a later date).
Lighting & Cropping
Traditional Contemporary Portrait lighting can range from that same soft Headshot style to a super dramatic edgy setup.
We also have the freedom to crop these portraits to best fit the artistic goal we have in mind. Utilizing traditional techniques such as the rule of thirds, leading lines & negative space, just to name a few.
Now here is where can also get really creative, typically an “Old Masters” type of canvas background is utilized to give it that “Old World Flair”.
Retouching for either option
Our retouching gives you a very natural look & not overdone. You know what I’m talking about – teeth so white that you need sunglasses to look at the image & skin so perfect that it looks like a plastic Barbie Doll, NOT natural at all! Ours covers the basics – it includes skin blemishes, stray hair and facial lines, as well as brightening of your eyes and whitening of your teeth slightly! You will look like you got a great night’s sleep.
You want the viewers to see an honest representation of you, as you look today. Think of excessive retouching as wiping away years of professional experience. Your ideal client or employer is seeking you out because of your experience.
I hope that I have answered some of your questions here. Our goal is to have the viewer see you as confident and approachable, that’s pretty much it.
So if you do not have any sort of professional image of yourself why not start with a Professional Headshot and say goodbye to those cell phone selfies from the front seat of your car or up against a wall under bad lighting that gives you racoon eyes.