When most people think of a headshot, they likely think it’s a close-up photo of someone’s face, cropped from around the upper chest to just above the head. But a headshot, also known as a business portrait, can also be referred to as a 3/4, 1/4, or full body shot.
This is typically the case because a 3/4, 1/4, or full body shot are used to accompany a classic headshot in a portfolio. But they are different and, for the most part, have different uses. Most of the time, the need for 3/4, 1/4, or full body shots stems from building a modeling portfolio.
A 3/4 Headshot
When getting a 3/4 headshot done, this is actually a 3/4 body shot. This photograph is commonly from around the mid-thigh to just above the head. However, it can also be from around the calf area up to above the head.
For modeling, there isn’t a specific pose to capture for certain but, normally you’ll at least want to have in a portfolio a straight 3/4 shot with arms straight down to the side. Some modeling agencies ask for such a basic shot and this is why it’s good to have it. After this is captured, creativity in posing can take over.
A 1/2 Headshot
For this shot, it’s usually cropped right around the waist area. It typically appears best if the crop is around the belly button or just below the waistline rather than right on the waistline. Again, for modeling portfolios, it’s a good idea to have one shot with arms straight to the side.
A shot from around the belly button up is also a popular crop for some corporate headshots or business portraits. This might be for several reasons, one of which includes that it’s not as necessary to have a close-up shot for corporate photos as with acting headshots or modeling headshots.
The 1/4 Headshot
Then there is the 1/4 headshot and this shot is more commonly referred to without the 1/4. This is because it’s common understanding that most headshots are 1/4 in terms of crop. Thus, other crops – 3/4, 1/2 – usually must be specified as such because the 1/4 is commonly assumed.
This headshot is usually from around the mid to upper chest and up. It is a very necessary shot for actors and models to have in their portfolios. However, it’s also widely used in corporate and entrepreneurial practices as well. And it’s a common crop you’ll see on sites such as LinkedIn.
The Full Body Shot
Finally, there is the full body shot where the entire body – head to toe – is visible. It’s most common to have this for modeling ant it’s often done against a seamless solid-colored background, such as gray or white.
The full body shot can also be used in what we commonly refer to as the business world. For example, a real estate agent might use a combination 1/4 headshot and a full body shot in their marketing collateral for delivering different business messaging.
There are many types of professional headshots one can get done and there are no rules for how tight or how far back you a person should be in their headshot. It’s more important that the crop fit the goal for the headshot. When building out a model portfolio there are common shots you must have. But if you’re using headshots for promoting a company team online, the web design layout might factor into the size of headshots to use.
When you work with a professional photographer, they can often help guide you as to what headshots or crop factors to consider. Other factors that might influence the crop to use include angles, backgrounds, and more. Do your research before planning a headshot session to ensure you get the crops you need.