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What Is The Difference Between Headshots and Portraits?

A big difference between the two is that headshots focus on the face and approachability which portraits do show the face but focus on the whole person normally. Getting the viewer to focus on the face is what a successful headshot accomplishes. Lighting, the minute expressions, the eyes in how they look draw the view to the face. Yes a headshot is a portrait but a very specific style of headshot.

We have the headshot cropped in tight to focus to on the eye contact and the expression that conveys approachability, confidence and trust. The shot is done in such a way that it exudes confidence and the subject is an expert in their business. It’s a portrayal of the subject being the best they can be. I said the headshot is a type of portrait, which is true. However, the portraits are more focused on artistic visualization of the photographer and in different environments. Lighting is set to reflect the mood of the subject, colors are introduced to bring feeling to the images. The headshot is a real image that shows who the person is.

Look at most company websites and annual reports, you see the images focused on the face due to the restricted size they have to show the images. Linkedin is the same, you have a small size to upload so a portrait would not work in these situations. You need a very specific image for this and where headshot shine!

Yes, you can use portraits for different uses, look at some annual reports, they use more than just the headshots you may see the CEO in a conference room looking out over the city. These are just examples of different types of portraits.

Which is right for you? Both have very different uses, but as Scott Lerner, an Orlando photographer said, “They both accomplish the end goal for the client, they tell a certain story in the image.” They both can be used in tandem depending on the needs of the client and will have the best results in the end as everyone understands the end goal.