Creative Portraits vs Headshots

What is a Headshot?

A headshot is a photo of someone, typically fairly close up, showing their head and shoulders. The background is most often simple and nondescript.

Headshots don’t generally include props; they are all about you.


There are a few characteristics that make a strong headshot:

Conveys Professionalism

First impressions matter. It’s now common practice to do a little homework on someone before making contact. It helps you get a sense of that person. We’ve all done it… look them up on LinkedIn, Facebook or the company website.

People are absolutely doing it to you. It’s important that your headshot reflects who you are and most importantly how you want people to perceive you.

Looking Relaxed

It’s uncomfortable looking at a photo of someone who is uncomfortable. Perhaps it’s empathy, or a little compassion as let’s face it, who enjoys having their photo taken.

One of the most important ingredients in a successful headshot is looking relaxed. The good news is, this is the photographers job, not yours.

True reflection of your personality

You need to look and feel yourself in your headshot photo. This is easier said than done when a big scary camera is pointing at you.

Again, it’s 100% the photographers job here and a good photographer will make it easy and painless for you. You just need to turn up to the shoot.

Purpose of a Headshot?

Have you ever needed to call someone and felt more at ease doing so because you could put a face to a name? Knowing who you are talking to or emailing allows you to have some connection already. Just as importantly, a great headshot is a very powerful tool for making people remember you.

Ever searched for somebody on LinkedIn? You can really get a sense for the person by seeing their photo. Whatever line of work you are in, a strong headshot you are proud of will pay for itself over and over.

Headshot’s can be used in a diverse range of industries to make you stand out from the competition. A student, artist, doctor, lawyer, corporate executive, model, entrepreneur, actor… now in the digital era, everyone needs one.



What is a Creative Portrait?



The most obvious difference about the above photo is you also get a real insight into the persons work environment. This makes it more of a story telling photo. Creative portraits are just as much about the surrounds as they are about the person in the photograph.

They are an excellent way to communicate a lot about a person in a single photo.

The techy photographer term for this type of photo is “environmental portrait”. As the non-photographer may imagine this to mean trees and landscapes, we feel “creative portrait” is more descriptive. Similar to a headshot, creative portraits can have a lot of personality and really give a sense of who you are. One step further, they are also perfect in showing what you do or where you spend your time.


Purpose of a Creative Portrait?

Grab a magazine or newspaper and take a flick through. You would be very challenged to find a typical plain background headshot amongst the pages. All the images are story telling images… photos that support the articles.

Photos like this help to bring you into the story and allow you to more easily relate.

A creative portrait contains a lot more “information” in the photo than a standard headshot.

Just like magazines and newspapers use these types of photos to communicate, you have the same opportunity in your marketing.

Think about the pages on your website. Ask yourself, what is the purpose of that page? What story are we trying to tell? Then see if there is the opportunity to support that story with an engaging “information rich” creative portrait.


Taking Creative Portraits

When it comes to finding and taking these types of photos, that’s what photographers spend years getting competent in.

The gear is easy… buy the camera, buy the lights, learn the technical, master the equipment. In the scheme of things, this doesn’t take that much time.

Then the focus and lifelong learning shifts to finding photos. One of the most valuable skills as a photographer is being able to walk into a workplace and distill everyday busy environments down to an interesting photo that tells a story. Now that’s a lot trickier to learn and can’t be found in any book. It takes years of practice and hard work.

Fortunately, we love it. Somehow we’ve been bitten by the bug or have just enough screws loose to sign up for this. We spend our days digging deep to find new and interesting ways to create strong story telling photos for our clients. It’s equal parts challenging and rewarding, which off course makes it the perfect mix.