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What Is the Difference Between a Headshot and a Portrait? - Missouri Photo studio

Do you want to have professional photos taken but aren't sure if you should book a headshot or a portrait shoot? Knowing the difference between a headshot and a portrait will help you choose the right option so you get the best photos for your needs.

Here's a brief overview of the differences to help you decide.


Headshot vs. Portrait – What's the Difference?

Although they might seem very similar at first glance, there are some very important distinctions between headshots and portraits. There are 4 main elements that make these types of photos different.


1. Framing

As the name suggests, headshots focus on the subject from the shoulders up. The main focus is on the person's face.



While portraits can be framed around the subject's head and shoulders, they can also be full-body shots, from the waist up, or pretty much any other arrangement the photographer wants to use. They're much more versatile in this way.


2. Focus

Another way headshots and portraits differ is the subject's focus. For a headshot, the person being photographed should be looking mostly straight ahead. They might tilt or turn their head slightly, but the main feature is the face.



Once again, portraits are a lot more versatile. They tend to be more candid, so the subject may be looking off to the side or at a prop.


3. Setting

Professional headshots need clean, distraction-free backdrops. This lets the subject shine, which is important when you're trying to make a good first impression on a potential employer.



Headshots are also usually shot in a studio so that the photographer has more control over the lighting.

For portraits, studio lighting can be used, but natural lighting is also an option. This provides more flexibility when creating lifestyle portraits to showcase your personality. You can even shoot portraits outside.


4. Purpose

Finally, the last thing to consider when comparing headshots vs. portraits is what the purpose of the photo is. Do you need a professional-looking photo for job interviews or your LinkedIn profile? Then you want to book a headshot session.

Portraits can be used for all sorts of reasons. Some people have portraits taken for branding or marketing purposes. Other times they're used to capture a special time in someone's life, or just as a fun way to celebrate yourself and build your confidence.



Now that you understand the difference between headshots and portraits, you can set up the right kind of photoshoot for you. Ready to get started? Get in touch to schedule your session today! Call or Text us at 636-352-9683



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