Not All Headshots Are Made the Same
As a professional, you understand that you need to have a portrait photograph taken. After all, a headshot is an essential component your marketing plan, potentially appearing in everything from your online profile to your business card to your business’s advertisement in the local paper.
But, if marketing or photography isn’t your first focus, the considerations that go into selecting the right style for your portrait, and the pros and cons of your options, might not be as readily apparent. Believe it or not, everything from the angle, pose, clothing, and background of your photo can affect the impression it gives to the market you’re targeting.
At Korey Howell Photography Group, we specialize in helping you choose the style and composition of a professional portrait best suited to your business and personality. In this article, we will walk you through three important headshot style choices to give you a basis for the decisions you can expect to make.
Close-Up Headshots vs. Medium-Distance vs. Full-Body Professional Photos
One of the first choices you’ll make is how much your face fills the frame of your professional portrait. A close-up, in which your face fills most of the frame, tends to convey and evoke maximum emotion. Your eyes, after all, are one of your most expressive features, and they dominate close-up photographs. A medium-distance shot, showing your shoulders and at least part of your chest, creates separation between you and the viewer. The effect is to convey a less intensity of emotion, and a little more about who you are as reflected in your personal style and physical presence.
In other words, what you’re wearing and how your body is positioned do more of the work in these shots. Finally, a full-body shot is the most physically-demanding choice. In these portraits, your facial expression (though still important) does the least amount of the work in telling about you, replaced by your choice of posture, outfit, and hand placement, among other things. Done right, a full-body picture can be very dynamic and bold, but you need a professional photographer with experience to get the most out of it.
Headshot Background Choices for Professional Photos
When you think of portraits or headshots, you may remember sitting in front of that standard blue background on school picture day. A soft, single-color background is certainly a classic, tried-and-true choice for professional portrait photographs. But it’s hardly the only choice. For one thing, in this era of digital photography, your image can be superimposed over just about any two-dimensional background image imaginable. And, you can always choose instead to be photographed in an out-of-studio setting, such as in your office or in front of your office building.
Whatever the background or setting you select, the important thing is that you decide what you want it to say about yourself and your business. Does your background or setting say “fresh and dynamic,” “careful and conservative,” “smart and quirky,” or something else? How you incorporate the background into the headshot matters. For example, a background or setting that remains in focus invites your audience to pay attention to it and the information it communicates. In contrast, an out of focus background suggests a context (office-y, outdoors-y, etc.), but keeps the attention on you.
Color or Black and White for Headshot Photos
Because people tend to associate black and white photography with “art,” and color photography as more casual and accessible, your decision between the two for your professional portrait can say something important to your customers. Black and white (or any monochrome color pallet) tends to feel more serious and distinguished, even when the subject is smiling. It can also solve problems when lighting, background, outfit, or some other element would look jarring in color. Color photography can feel fresher and more exciting but carries more risks because of the need to ensure an eye-pleasing combination of color tones that says the right things about you.
These are just a few of the style choices that can influence what your headshot says about you. At Korey Howell Photography Group, we’re experts in guiding professionals through the process of choosing the headshot style that best fits their personality and business. Contact us today to set up an appointment.