• Tony Brown Photography

What Is the Difference Between a Headshot and a Business Portrait?

This guide will help you to learn more about the differences between professional headshots vs portraits and learn what suits your needs best.



Headshots and portraits are among the most popular images requested by my clients, but some struggle to understand the difference between them. Like in any professional photography, each serves a unique purpose. So, what exactly distinguishes them from one another?

And what should you bear in mind before setting foot in the studio?


What are the differences between Portraits & Headshots?

To put it simply, the biggest difference between the two types of shot is purpose. Headshots are close-up pictures of your head (hence the name!) and shoulders in a neutral and professional setting. They are most often used for representation on business websites, marketing materials, social media or anything that demands a professional identity. Their main aim is to provide something recognisable that can be used for the end result you require – whether it’s for your company, acting work or modelling.



By contrast, a portrait is a distinctive image of an individual, shot from a greater distance, that can be used in any number of ways. This allows for greater artistic licences and often includes several framing, colouring and background options. They can involve different forms of dress, include other individuals and also give the portrait photographer a greater freedom to capture a range of feelings or intentions.



Both types of imagery are dependent on a photographer’s ability. With a skilled professional, they are able to capture a striking professional image or exercise creative ability in order to get the style of portrait or selection of headshot you’re after.



What should I consider when planning a portrait or headshot session?


Before you decide to commission a professional portrait or headshot session, it’s important to think about what you’re looking to get from your booking.


Some elements to think on are:


Your specific use: What website or industry is the image for? Are there examples you want to re-create?

Your mood: What emotion are you trying to capture? Do you want to be approachable and smiling, serious and professional, or look for a range of feelings?

Lighting and background: What setting do you want? Do you want an on-site image taken in your office or workspace? Or might the neutral setting of a studio work better for you?

What is possible? It is worth remembering that any professional photographer will have a lifetime of experience that allows them to unearth striking visual elements. Once you make contact, make sure to be receptive to suggestions and request reference images from their portfolio.



If you need a high-quality professional headshot, portrait or have any other photography needs - please feel free to get in touch! Visit my contact page and let's discuss your next project.