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The difference between portrait photography and headshots

May 24, 2010

The difference between portrait photography and headshots

headshot vs portrait

Wikipedia’s definition for portrait photography or portraiture in photography is a photograph of a person or group of people that capture the personality of the subject by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses.

A portrait picture might be artistic, or it might be clinical, as part of a medical study. Frequently, portraits are commissioned for special occasions, such as weddings or school events. Portraits can serve many purposes, from usage on a personal Web site to display in the lobby of a business.

Wikipedia definition of a headshot is A head shot or headshot is a modern (mostly digital files ) portrait where the focus is on the person. The term is usually applied for professional profile images on social media, the ‘about us page’ or a corporate website and promotional pictures of actors, models, and authors.

The word headshot is synonymous for professional profile pictures. I define the meaning ‘headshots’ as a digital portrait for today’s applications ie. about us page, LinkedIn, Facebook and any other emerging social media channels.

Nonetheless, whether a photographer calls it professional profile picture, headshot, portrait or even a mug shot it’s alright. The following four attributes that should be the aim for a headshot; Engaging, Professional, Technically Correct and Photographed by a Professional.

Portrait photography was more artistic for the purpose of having a beautiful item on your wall like a painting. Predating the digital age.

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