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What Are Headshot Photos?

So, what exactly is a headshot photo? It can mean very different things to a lot of different people. And, what is the difference between a headshot and a portrait? Generally speaking, a headshot is a close-up of someone’s face, usually from around the shoulders up. And, also generally speaking, the difference between a headshot and portrait is that a headshot is commonly used for marketing purposes. Are there other differences that should be known? Yes.

Actor Headshots

Actors need headshots for their careers. Headshots are essentially the core of their resume. Sure, they need to list relevant experience on their resume like everyone else but, their look is essential. A good headshot for an actor is everything.

Typically, most actors will need at least a commercial headshot and a theatrical headshot. The difference between these two shots should be clear. The commercial headshot is commonly well and evenly lit with a bright cheery background. A theatrical headshot goes for dramatic looks. Often, part of the face is in shadow and the background might also be darker. The two photos are used for submitting to casting directors for two very different roles.

commercial vs theatrical headshot

The Difference Between a Commercial Headshot and Theatrical Headshot Are Ideally Used by Actors to Be Cast for Different Types of Roles

Dancer Headshots and Musician Headshots

A dancer might also need a headshot to submit for auditions. In most cases, this headshot will mirror an actor’s commercial headshots. This headshot will often also be from around the chest or shoulders up, though a full-body shot might not be out of the question.

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A Common Style for a Dancer Headshot for Submitting During Auditions

Musician headshots can take on several different looks in that they are often more artistically creative. As a result, a musician might seek headshots that take on a commercial look to colorful moody looks to take advantage of the many promotional channels a musician might encounter.

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Musician Headshots Can Take on Much More Creative Liberties as They Can Be Used Across Many Promotional Channels

Corporate Headshots

Corporate headshots – also commonly referred to as business headshots or executive headshots – can also vary widely. As with any other headshot, the photo has a lot to say about you. It’s important to get it right. The biggest difference with a corporate headshot compared to other types of headshots is that they tend to be more conservative overall. What does this mean?

A business headshot is usually against a neutral color background, such as a shade of gray. The person will usually wear business attire too. Some professionals opt for business casual, depending on their field.

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A Classic Corporate Headshot Pulling Off a Clean, Crisp Look Against a Grayish Background

Business Portrait vs Lifestyle Headshot

A business portrait and lifestyle headshot are essentially the same. The goal of this shot is to capture the person in their business element, to convey the profession they are in. However, a lifestyle headshot is extended to actors, models, musicians, and dancers to the roles they want to be in.

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A Business Portrait Can Be Used to Capture and Illustrate the Profession of a Person or Their Professionalism in General

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A Lifestyle Headshot Can Be Used to Help Brands or Casting Directors More Closely Imagine You for a Particular Shoot or Role

Getting Professional Headshots in Los Angeles

A headshot is an important thing for many reasons. As a result, if you’re serious about using them for career purposes, you should turn to a professional. Never use a selfie. It shows and is a direct reflection on your professionalism and level of quality in your work. While some people might be tempted to do a selfie anyway because of expenses, headshots can be affordable. In addition, the collaboration with a professional headshot photographer will help you achieve the type of headshot you’re after.

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