© Peter Dressel Photography

What Does A Headshot Look Like?

Actor headshot of an actor

People ask me what does a headshot look like all the time. There’s no definitive answer on this but I’ll give it a go.

The Technical Definition

Technically a headshot is a portrait framed from the middle of the chest of the subject to the top of the head.  

Vinnie G. – The Godfather of The Selfie

Classic Business Headshots

In business headshots the subject is most often looking directly into the camera with a smile or some type of expression that comes off as approachable.  You’ll find these in industries such as the law, accounting, financial services, real estate, consulting etc. 

Headshot of Latina business woman
Classic business headshot of a New York business consultant

Creative Business Headshots

In some industries, especially on the creative side, headshots don’t necessarily have to include eye contact but approachability is still important.  There are plenty of great headshots where the subject is laughing, looking off camera, making funny faces, etc.  While this could be great for creatives like graphic designers, copywriters, bloggers or photographers it’s not advised for industries like accounting, finance and the law.

Looking off camera adds some light to a headshot but not right for all industries

Actor Headshots

Actor headshots are more intimate than business headshots and have the subject looking directly into the camera. There’s good reason for this beyond just approachability. You’ll hear casting directors say things like “wanting to see behind the eyes” to get a deeper sense of the person.

Young Latino Actor
Classic actor headshot. More intimate than the business headshot.

Stock Photography and Advertising

You’ll find plenty of examples of headshots in stock photography and advertising. And like most commercial headshots the point of the photograph is to sell something

headshot of a young actress
This is a stock photograph that’s been used in several advertisements.

If you’re interested in working together call me for a free consultation 917-536-7277

© Peter Dressel Photography