Famous Photographers

The Difference Between Good Headshots and Bad Headshots

Evolve Headshot

The Difference Between Good Headshots and Bad Headshots

When you think about headshots, you may envision a simple portrait. But it’s more than that. A headshot carries weight – it tells a story, conveys emotion, and often makes a lasting impression.

The Good Headshots: Good headshots are more than just aesthetically pleasing photos. They serve a purpose.

  • For an actor, it might mean booking more roles.
  • For a job seeker, it could be the key to landing interviews.
  • For businesses, a good team photo can boost brand perception, potentially increasing revenues.

When you see a good headshot, you feel connected. It’s like meeting the person in real life. Their emotions, experiences, and essence are captured in that single frame. Unfortunately, not everyone has a great experience getting their headshot taken. Some of my clients have shared that their previous sessions were unpleasant, and it’s evident in the resulting photos. A negative experience can undoubtedly overshadow the outcome.

The Bad Headshots: A bad headshot might not just be unhelpful; it can actively set you back.

I recall coming across a promotional event for a speaker series. Everything seemed intriguing until I visited the ‘About Us’ page. The presenter’s portrait made me doubt his credibility. I couldn’t help but wonder how much potential business he might be losing because of that one image.

Two common types of bad headshots we often encounter are:

  1. The Vacant Smiley: A forced, inauthentic grin. It’s the classic ‘say cheese’ moment where the smile doesn’t reach the eyes.
  2. The Vroom Look: An imitation of a trendy photo or the stereotypical selfie. It lacks originality and authenticity.

The Truly Great Headshots:

The iconic photographer, Yousuf Karsh, once said, “If it’s a likeness, alone, it’s not a success… if you see a photograph and say, ‘Yes, this is the person,’ with a little new insight—that is a beautiful experience.”

Take the “Afghan Girl” portrait featured in National Geographic. It’s so compelling that it resonates with audiences worldwide. We’re drawn into her story, wanting to delve deeper into her emotions and experiences. That’s the power of a truly great headshot.

In my own experience, I once captured a couple who ran a business together. As I dug into their story, unraveling their unique journey from childhood friends in Jerusalem to a destined reunion in Canada, it was clear that their tale had never been pieced together before. The authenticity of their narrative translated into powerful portraits, leading them to return for more sessions.


The difference between good and bad headshots is profound, with the former having the potential to positively impact careers and perceptions, while the latter can do the opposite. The key is in capturing authenticity and essence, allowing the headshot to tell a compelling story.

A picture is worth a thousand words, a good headshot tells the right thousand words about you. A great headshot attracts others to you.

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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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