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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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