What is the difference between headshot and portrait photography? Well, technically a headshot is a type of portrait (that clears that up then!) But there are some distinct differences, let me run you through them.

A headshot is typically a photograph of a persons face, head and shoulders. They tend to be used for more professional purposes for actors, LinkedIn profile pictures or the ‘meet the team’ pages of corporate websites. The subject will be looking directly at the camera (usually on a neutral background) portraying a friendly but professional demeanour. It is a way to introduce yourself virtually to business contacts.

Corporate headshot male
Headshot for a clients LinkedIn profile

Portraits are also designed to capture a subjects personality but tend to be more ‘creative’ or ‘artistic’ in nature, with more dramatic lighting and backgrounds designed to tell a story. They can be full body and although the subject knows that the camera is there, they do not have to be looking at the camera.

Portrait of a fishmonger, Assam, India

Both headshot and portrait photography can be in the studio or environmental, however with headshot photography the background should not distract from the face, so the background tends to be more blurred and less busy so not to distract from the subject. With portrait photography the backdrop can be detailed to add interest, context or drama to the portrait.

Black and white photo of man leaning against a wall
Relaxed portrait for an ‘about me’ website page

And then there is personal branding photography, which is designed to showcase your personality and your brand. They are portraits that are carefully crated to showcase both your personality and your brand or product.

From a branding session. Portrait of a client at work.

If you’re not sure if you are looking for a headshot, portrait or branding shoot don’t worry, just have a chat with your photographer. I love chatting to clients to find out exactly what they want from their photo, how they will be using it and what they want to portray.

To find out more about my photography click here

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