Some people aren’t familiar with what a headshot is and what they are used for. Simply put, a headshot is a professionally made photo of a person’s face. How close-up to a face the photo is can vary. The purpose of such a photo is for a variety of business uses. Therefore, the level of quality of a headshot is important.
If you’re an actor, you know very well the importance of a good headshot. In this industry, a headshot is essentially a resume – the first thing that is considered for being cast into acting roles. Acting headshots nowadays are commonly full color. Black and white headshots were used before but not so much now.
Acting headshots sometimes need to be printed as 8×10” photos. Sometimes the person’s name is printed on the photo too and an acting resume might be attached to it. However, most of the time actors now post their photos to popular acting sites for roles, like Actor’s Access, Backstage, Casting Networks, and so on.
Headshots for executives to entrepreneurs are used in many ways. Real estate agents use them for yard signage, business cards, brochures, advertising, and more. A financial firm might post headshots of key executives on the company website. A technology company might use them in presentations to seek funding, and so on.
Corporate headshots sometimes are shot from around the belly area up. So, the aren’t as close-up as in acting. Headshots for business might also have branding considerations. For example, you might want to match your outfit, the background or other elements to a color palette in a logo.
A headshot for models is just as important as for actors and actresses. Modeling agency commonly require a set of different photos to consider a person for representation and to also use the photos to showcase to clients.
To start out, most models need a close-up of their face as their primary photo. They will also usually need a full body shot. Some agencies require a full body shot in a swimsuit while others are fine with any well-fitting clothing that shows a person’s physique. A few other shots are also useful, such as some half body shots that showcase a model in more of a lifestyle situation.
Dancers, musicians, doctors, lawyers, – the list of professionals that can benefit from a professionally made headshot is endless. Some of these professions rely on showcasing themselves as a central point of marketing their business. So, a professional headshot is of the utmost importance.
But, if you’re on LinkedIn, a professional headshot is also important. You are being judged by your headshot first. Same thing goes for a dating profile, and so on. The quality of your headshot is important.
Headshot vs. Portrait
It is important to understand the difference between a headshot and a portrait. To put it in just a few words, a headshot is for professional use while a portrait is for personal use. Sometimes the lines blur between the two and in fact, sometimes a headshot is referred to as a business portrait.
Lifestyle headshots are likely the most similar to portraits because they are usually made in a specific location, to capture a specific mood or theme. Another important difference is that most people settle for calling a photo taken on a phone as a portrait. Still, portraits made by a professional photographer will stand apart and it’s why people often go to portrait studios. But a headshot should never be taken with a smartphone.