A Headshot or a Business Portrait? Which is the Right Choice for You ?

You might be an actor, a plumber, an artist, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a salesperson, musician or physician and you need of a new picture for your professional use.

# Do you need a business portrait or a headshot?

To answer that I’d like to tell you one of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever received and it’s the foundation of why virtually every successful business is successful. No matter if you are an actor or doctor or baker you are an artist. What you do for a living is your art/skill/craft/vocation - call it what you will - this is your passion - it’s your art. If you focus only on your art you may love doing it, but you are on a course to fail. If on the only hand you say “I own a business … and it just happens to be a deli, or a doctor’s office or creating art” you realize that you must balance the books, do marketing to get clients, dream up new ideas so that you will continue to be able to do what you love to do.

Anyway, that’s where I start my thinking when someone comes in for a headshot - how is your business structured and what type of picture will best help you achieve your business goals.

# The Business portrait and the headshot - The Difference

First lets look at both, how they are the same and how they differ.

Both types of images need to get the feeling that you want to get from whomever seeing the picture. Are you welcoming, commanding, solid, sincere, in charge, affluent, competent, stunning, handsome, friendly, “the buck stops here”,?

The Business Portrait - formal dress, professional pose, elegant props, lit with some drama and has rich colors. This is the type of image you might see in the lobby of a hotel or on the board of directors page of a company’s website.


The Headshot - To be candid, it’a a product shot and you’re the product. You’ll typically smile or (in the case of an actor) be in character, but the look is fairly generic and welcoming. But I suggest the headshot even for the executive so they will something less formal, maybe for a company seminar they are hosting or blog post.

And then there is the headshot which is purely for commercial use; such as a print ad, website or brochure. These are very fun and bright.


Both the business portrait and the headshot can be critical parts of every company’s business marketing plan. Just a nice picture of the person without finding out what the person wants the image to convey is not enough. Today many potential clients are surfing the net and choosing their vendors on the strength of an image.

So think about how the images will be used to help you reach your business goals and you will know what types of pictures you need.

# NC Headshot Studio’s Headshot & Business Portrait Difference

# Once upon a time, a headshot was a traditional portrait

….used for marketing yourself as an actor or business person. And then the digital revolution hit. And, headshots devolved into a candid snap shot, taken with very little thought to light, background, expression etc.

It got thrown up on facebook, linkedin, myspace, twitter etc, without a thought of who might be looking at it or what it says about you. And, it became a sloppy, amateur marketing tool that was right up there, in terms of usefulness, as a driver’s license photo.

# Along came the Business Portrait.

A direct reaction to the vacation snap shots that are permeating the online profiles, business portraits are in demand by CEOs, Actors, and other people who are concerned about how their image is perceived by their target audience.

The biggest difference between the “modern headshot” and a “business portrait” is philosophical. Every part of the business portrait, from the light, composition, clothing, makeup, jewelry, background, expression, etc, is a conscious decision, on the part of the photographer and the subject, to create an image designed to stand out. The image that is created, is designed that way specifically because it will help your audience accept you as their choice.

# Business portraits are about marketing, branding and the business of your industry.  Corporate Headshots are about the person and the brand of the individual.

They are a visual representation of your competence and reputation.

So, if you call us and ask about “headshots” for you or your company, don’t be surprised if we prob you for more understand to gain a better insight into your actual needs of the photography session.

Adrian Creary

Once again, your headshot is supposed to be an accurate representation of what you really look like. While a good makeup artist can help hide your flaws, accentuate your features, and can be a vital part of a photo shoot, a headshot is not a “glamour” shot. You should look good, but without looking like you are wearing makeup. So, if you feel the need to hire a makeup artist, make sure you stick with “natural” looking cosmetics and keep away from heavy doses of eyeliner, eye shadow, lipstick, etc.

Something else to consider: if a casting director chooses to review you after seeing your headshot, you should make sure that you actually look like the person in that headshot. If you think you need makeup but can do your own makeup, you probably don’t need a makeup artist.

Adrian Creary
Everything Fresh Ltd. Team Business Headshots
Adrian Creary
Welcome To StudioCraft

Why you need a remarkable headshot


We can all agree that persuading, convincing and influencing others to engage with our products or services is crucial to our professional success. These actions/activities take a up a significant portion of our work day whether as an entrepreneur, business manager or creative professional. 
After all this work a lot of professionals end up with the same feeling, that they are being ignored, looked past and not taken seriously.

For better or worse, today's workforce is becoming less corporate and more entrepreneurial resulting in a culture where business leaders need to be seen to be understood. More business transactions are now directly between individuals and their customers. In the past only celebrities were concerned with their media perception but now thanks to social platforms we are all in the media spotlight trying to build a name for ourselves and promote our businesses. 


Many professionals are so focused on building their products or services they don’t recognise the importance of how they themselves are being perceived and the role perception plays in the sales process. To stand out from the crowd to promote your product/service you first need to send a strong message that you are competent and trustworthy, and this starts with your headshot. People are simply drawn to work with confident, approachable people. The power of a professional headshot is that it inspires this trust at the first point of contact a person has with you, whether in online profiles or media appearances. 


We know how nerve-raking it can be for some to get a professional portrait taken. We get self conscious and think we aren’t ‘photogenic’. We want to be judged on our internal capabilities, intelligence and talents but as humans we initially judge based on the external appearance. When you invest in your image, your perception in the media starts working for you and your team, allowing you to promote your business with confidence, leading to new opportunities.


Headshots are a tool for persuasive communication. Thanks to this 600 person Cornell Research Study we know that first impressions based on online media profiles transfer into real world relationships. Positive impressions created by a great headshot can positively persuade someone trying to make a connection with you in person. This finding was also supported by the worlds foremost network of professionals; according to LinkedIn research, you’re 14 times more likely to engage with someone with a good headshot.


If customers aren't seeing you as the trusted authority in your industry, they’ll look past you to somebody else who looks the part. Customers are distracted and fickle and don’t have the time to do detailed research about your qualifications. Once you look like a professional in their mind, you start out ahead. Both brands and businesspersons win in the marketplace by first looking the part. Why? Because nobody will trust you are the best at what you do until you look like it.

Adrian Creary