Portrait or Headshot

The Difference between a Portrait and a Headshot

In the English-speaking world, a headshot is a very special kind of portrait photo. It is generally a shot of the head with some of the shoulders in the frame. It is focused on the face and is suitable for social media online, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook or Xing.

As with headshots, portraits are mostly about capturing the personality of the person being photographed. These shots can either have a simple background with the subject creating the majority of the interest, or they can have elaborate backgrounds to frame the subject.

In business portraits, the professional activity of the person being photographed is often highlighted by objects that revolve around their career. These can also be called branding shots. The point of the picture communicates the professional activity of the subject in addition to the personality of the person pictured. In many cases, business portraits also emphasize professional success or social status based on clothing or environment.

Thus, both classic portraits and business portraits clearly differ from headshots. Clothing and enviroment have little meaning or become a minor matter in a headshot. Most of the image is dominated by the face and the charisma of the person can be expressed without distraction. The person generally is shot against a solid, neutral backdrop.

The headshot needs to convey likeability and self-confidence. Which profession you have or how successful you are in your job does not matter in a headshot.

It’s about you, your personality and nothing else!

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