Headshot vs Branding Portrait

On the left: Lesly Vaillancourt with Longa Law Firm, PA - On the right: Steve Ribble with Guardian Accounting



A head shot or headshot is a modern name for a portrait in which the focus is on the person. It may be used in the professional profile, resume, about us page on a website, profile images on social media, promotional pictures of businesses, actors models, authors, and more.

Headshots are intended for helping the person or an actor, for instance, to inspire the casting director to land the role, a casting director will use the head shot to understand exactly who the actor is before meeting them in person. The actor may use various expressions to showcase his or her acting range. It is also common for the actor to have different headshots wearing different clothes for different roles.

In a business setting the “actor” or the person being photographed uses the headshot to connect to his or her audience in hopes to attract the right client to his or her business or brand.


If we expand the term to include sculptures, the first representation of a portrait of a head would date back to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period between 9000 and 6000 BC. Plastered human skulls were found dating back to that period demonstrating some of the oldest forms of art showcasing their ancestors.

For instance, this portrait is of an Achaemenic Satrap of Asian Minor, (the Herakleia head, from Heraclea, in Bithynia) dates to the end of 6th century BCE.

You can read more about the history here


  • A headshot is a close-up of one’s head
  • It portrays what the person looks like
  • It clearly shows who you are, your hair color, skin color, your usual facial expression, and how you usually represent yourself.
  • It focuses on your expression
  • It can give a hit on one’s personality
  • It is used on profile images when you don’t have much space to work with

Branding Portrait

  • Includes shoulders and upper body and in some cases also as far as full body
  • It is designed to showcase also your body non-verbal expressions and communication
  • It gives your audience a better way to connect with you
  • It is used on Instagram or Facebook posts
  • It can be used on a billboard next to text promoting your business or a specific message
  • Because more of your body is used, it is more expressive
  • Branding Portrait also may include you interacting with your environment
  • It tells a story about who you are

which one Do I need

In most cases I discovered that most people need both. The headshot is requested more but this is because not everyone is educated about the option of capturing both. Don’t worry, we try to keep it simple and give you enough of a variation and a collection that offers multiple options. The session and the process is exactly the same, it’s just a matter of focusing on just the head or expanding the focus to include the body and it’s non-verbal expressions. If you have any questions or would like to chat with Allie about which is right for you, feel free to schedule a consultation by clicking the button below.

Schedule A Consultation

We’d love to help you sculpt the right portrait or image for your brand and business. Our goal is to tell the right story you want to tell using the right image and non-verbal communication. Why don’t you schedule a consultation with us? I’d be happy to chat with you so that we can start designing the right image for you 🙂