April 14, 2020
Congratulations, you’ve realized you need a new headshot. So you just need to Google “headshot photographer” and run with it, right? Eh, maybe. There are six different headshot types (3 for actors and 3 for corporate types). Do you know which ones you need?
Let’s break each one down so you can make an informed decision.
First off, there are two groupings for headshot types: acting and corporate. Each has three types of headshots for a total of 6. If you’re full-time as an actor or you’re a corporate type and never want to touch a stage, then you can ignore half of these.
The key differences between headshots types revolve around two principles:
Lighting is pretty straight forward – bright vs. dark, the quality of light, and lots of other technical photography things. For the non-photographers here, you only need to be concerned with brightness and the quality of light. By the quality of light, I mean, does the transition between bright and dark areas appear sharp (hard), or does it have a gradual change (soft). Soft light is generally more pleasing, whereas hard light is very edgy. Each has its purpose and its place. For headshots, you’ll typically want softer lighting.
Headshots are all about your personality – nobody wants to see a mugshot. While the corporate headshots types are pretty straightforward (smile!), actor headshots can have more variety of expression involved. Along with what your face is doing, your body position also matters. Even though most headshots are only capturing your shoulders and up, biomechanics (sorry, biomedical engineering background here) says that how you place your feet will affect your posture. And we all know that posture affects perception. Headshots are your first impression – make it stellar.
Alrighty, so we’ve walked through the different headshot types. Now, which ones should you get?
For corporate headshots, you only need the standard LinkedIn type image. Your company should handle the team portraits. If you are an expert, respected thought-leader, and are giving lectures and presentations to large groups, then you need to snag a presenter/speaker headshot as well.
For actors, I would highly recommend all three. The essential item I impress upon my actor clients is that you can’t walk into an audition for a comedic role with a dramatic headshot. It just doesn’t work. You want to minimize the friction a casting director experiences when choosing whether or not to book you. Actors are cast based on their looks, so help those in control of hiring you. Give them a headshot that helps them see you in the role they want to cast. If you can only pick one, go with a commercial look as it’s the most “multi-purpose.” Just remember, a jack of all trades is a master of none.
I hope all of this information was helpful, and you know what headshots you’ll need moving forward. If you’re still having trouble deciding or want more clarification between the different headshot types, feel free to ask your questions in the comments below or shoot me an email! I’m happy to help.
If you’re ready to get your next headshots and like my style of photography, please check out my headshot services page. I’d be happy to help you.