Out of Focus Background Headshots

Out of focus background headshots are becoming increasingly popular for realtors, company websites, LinkedIn and other professional settings. Traditionally used in advertising, out of focus photography is now being applied to headshots as well.

So what are out of focus background headshots? Simply put, they are headshots where the background is intentionally blurred. By having the background out of focus, it forces the viewer to focus on the subject rather than being caught up in the details of what is behind the subject. Since headshots are meant to draw attention to you, the subject, out of focus background photography is perfectly suited for headshots. Out of focus background headshots can be photographed in two ways: in person, or on a background and digitally clipped.

Traditional Out of Focus Background Headshots

personal branding for entrepreneurs

These happen on location, anywhere. The photographer adjusts their camera settings to keep the subject in focus while simultaneously blurring the background. This comes from a combination of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO adjustments. Oftentimes, these headshots are taken in the office, with a variety of backgrounds including: cubicles, a nice view out of an office window, in a common area, in front of a corridor, or in front of company logos. The benefit here is that the lighting is exactly the same for the subject and background, and subjects report feeling more natural. Subjects have the opportunity to interact with their environment, perhaps  by leaning on a table or against a wall.

Digitally Clipped Headshots

Unlike the traditional out of focus background headshots, these headshots are shot in a studio in front of a plain backdrop where the photographer has exacting control over lighting. The chosen headshot then is clipped (the background digitally removed) and replaced with a preselected background. Realistically the background can be anything, but usually it is an out of focus (blurred) image of an existing location. These types of headshots can be more convenient than having a photographer on location at your office, especially if all staff members can’t be present in the office on the same day. This way staff can visit the photographer at their convenience, between appointments.

Recently, our CEO Carlos photographed an agency of accountants at our studios in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. Each accountant was allowed to choose which background would be shown in their headshots, however rather than choose a traditional background, they were able to choose from five scenes shot ahead of time in their offices. The headshot backgrounds were clipped and replaced with the chosen background, and the effect was excellent. Now, they have a great portrait matched by a cinematic view of what they see daily at work.

Another benefit of having your image clipped and rendered with a new background is that it’s easy to have an organized and streamlined view of the images. The consistent design allows additional branding messaging to be dropped onto your images. This highlights the greatest assets in most corporations: the people shaping and forming the agency.

The final benefit of having clipped portraits is that now (*geek alert*) you will have both jpg and png files. Your jpeg file is the out of focus background headshots. The png file can be used as is, used to create group photos of your team, and added your headshots into presentations with any background suited for that specific task.

So why settle for the widespread white or grey backgrounds in headshots when we can provide professional backdrops of the very best of your office space? 

If you need out of focus background corporate headshots in one of Art of Headshots Studios’ cities or would like to inquire about one of our photographers flying to your destination, feel free to book a free zoom meeting to discuss your needs.


Art of Headshots specializes in corporate and professional headshots for websites, social media like LinkedIn, and advertising. We have over 13 years of experience guiding you into authentic and professional portraits.

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