There are more to Headshot Photographs than you think.
Headshot photographs are everywhere. In fact, you probably have one yourself set at your profile image on Facebook and other social networks.
For many people, headshots are seen as a simple easy to take type of photo that can be taken on a smartphone selfie-style.
But is there more to headshot photographs?
It is time to find out…
What is a Headshot Photograph? A Technical Definition
Headshot photographs are quite similar to portraits but they have one obvious distinctive feature.
Headshot photographs always feature a single person (subject). The frame typically includes only the face or the head from the shoulders up.
All headshots to a greater or lesser degree will adhere to the above definition. Of course, there are different type or styles of headshots and the above definition will also be interpreted creatively by some photographers.
In this article we will not worry about creative interpretation, however, understanding the different types and use cases of headshots is important.
Different Types of Headshot Photographs
Perhaps the most common type of headshot is the corporate headshot, also known as business headshots.
Corporate headshots are typically found on ‘about’ or ‘team’ pages of company websites.
They can also be found in corporate brochures, sometimes on business cards and in email footers. Commonly, they appear as profile images on popular business networking sites like LinkedIn.
The need for corporate headshots can vary depending on a number of factors:
Size of the company – If the company is very large and has hundreds of employees, chances are you are not going to see headshots for each person. More likely you will see executive headshots for upper and middle management.
Sales approach – Companies that rely on face-to-face sales meetings will have a greater need to make their salespeople more approachable. Corporate headshots of the sales team featured on the website, on matching business cards, email footers and social profile images will convey a much more professional and approachable look.
Budget – Naturally, a company’s budget will also affect the headshots they order. Company’s with limited budgets will typically opt for cheap headshots, while those with bigger budgets may opt for professional headshots.
Some industries rely on corporate headshots more than others.
Estate agents, automotive sales professionals, and recruitment specialists typically use professional headshot photographs more than other industries.
Could it be they know something other companies don’t? I will be answering this question in my next post and will link it here when it is published.
Another popular type of headshot is the Modelling Headshot.
Modelling headshots perform a specific function. They serve to show the model as they look during a current period.
The modelling industry is one based on looks. Thus it is important that models have up to date headshots which promote their current look.
This allows casting agents to match a model’s current look to casting briefs for projects at hand. An outdated modelling headshot is of no use to a casting or modelling agency.
Additionally, modelling headshots may feature a variety of poses and looks to increase the range of looks a model could be cast for.
Typically, modelling headshots are matched with modelling portraits to provide a complete view of a model’s ability and look.
Modelling headshots will typically also include more attention to retouching to remove blemishes, even skin tone and remove unwanted spots. Of course, scars and other permanent features are typically retained.
Entertainment headshots are very similar to modelling headshots.
Perhaps to only real difference is that entertainment headshots such as those for actors may show a wide range of facial expressions and emotions. Essentially providing a visual clue to possible character portrayals.
These headshots would also be featured prominently on bios and resumes.
Branded headshots are another popular type of headshot that can be used in a variety of ways.
Company Branded Headshot – This type of headshot may require the company logo to be featured as part of the image or even the background to be matched to a corporate colour palette.
Personal Branding Headshot – This type of headshot is typically used by entrepreneurs and bloggers who start businesses that use their names as part of the brand. These types of headshots can vary widely in style and creatively to match the personal branding needs of the client.
Branded Event Headshots – Another type of headshot makes use of a printed logo wall and is shot at events. Guests stand in front of the logo wall as they arrive and have their headshot or often portrait taken. This type of headshot is great for marketing purposes and viral exposure as typically your guests love to share the photos they are featured in with their friends and online connections.
Artistic headshots are an interesting type of headshot. In many ways, one can blend artistic headshots with the other types of headshots for headshots that stand out even more.
But artistic headshots are sometimes created simply for artistic reasons. They may be used as fine art prints, as family headshots printed and mounted on a wall, as part of a photographic art exhibition commenting on society.
When it comes to artistic headshots there really are no rules. It really depends on what the photographer and or client wishes to achieve.