Headshot Styles

There are perhaps an infinite number of styles and approaches to headshots. When I get a call from a prospective client, I often hear, “I just want to do some standard headshots.”  Really, there’s no such thing.  The images in this post are from a recent shoot with a model friend, Tori. We had a few ideas about headshots we discussed before the shoot but we also used some creativity and imagination once we starting taking pictures. In the first image , above, I used soft and flattering light. Tori had very little makeup on – we were going for a natural, relaxed look. The slight turn and tilt of the head,  the subtle smile  and the styling of her hair were all part of the plan for this image.  Tori looks directly into the camera lens, helping  connect the viewer with her.

In the image above, we were going for a more dramatic look.  To try to achieve a dramatic feeling, we used a black background and lighting with more contrast, and a straight-on pose. The pose is more serious, more contemplative. I often try to get one or two hands into a headshot – hands can be as expressive as faces.

In this image, we were going for a fun, candid moment. I asked Tori to laugh out loud.  Even with her eyes closed, the image (hopefully!) engages the viewer with its spontaneity.  A note about bare shoulders – I like this look when shooting women – it puts the focus on the face, can add a sense of femininity – and has a timeless, classic quality.

The image above was shot just with window light. (All the other images in this post were lit with studio strobe lights.)  Window light has a wonderful soft quality that’s hard to replicate with artificial lighting. I like the very subtle colors in this shot.

And, finally, the image above is a super close-up. It is actually cropped from a much larger picture. It’s perfectly OK to cut off the chin and the forehead. Getting close adds intimacy.

These are just a few concepts for headshots. You can see many more on my website, in the gallery of models and actors, by clicking here. And you can see more images of my shoot with Tori by clicking here. I’d welcome any comments on these images. Thanks for visiting my blog!


3 Responses to “Headshot Styles”

  1. July 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm


    great variety with one model! I love the expressiveness of the B & W shot……you captured a nice moment


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July 2010
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