The Difference Between a Professional Headshot and Professional Business Portrait

Nowadays, having a great portrait to represent you professionally is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.  The importance of your professional visual representation cannot be understated. With the popularity of social media and digital marketing, the need for a high quality professional picture is a given. Linkedin, especially, has necessitated a good quality head shot for the business professional. Will you choose a standard business headshot or opt for the more contemporary business portrait? Both have their uses and strengths. In this brief post, I would like to explain and display the difference between a traditional business head shot, and the more contemporary business portrait.


In the past, the traditional headshot was reserved for a select few folks who were in the top of their field, those who wanted an little extra added to their resumé, or those in entertainment and it was, usually, the only option. This type of headshot was, typically, from the head to mid-torso, in front of an plain backdrop. Very simple. Most folks had to go to a photography studio to have this done. Nowadays, these are, more and more, being done on location. I do headshots on location 100% of the time.  You are busier than ever and having your headshot done on location makes it very convenient for you. Usually utilized by professionals who need to keep it simple and keep their presentation straight forward and conservative.

professional business portrait of female cleveland executive professional headshot of cleveland executive professional headshot of cleveland office executive professional headshot of cleveland real estate executiveprofessional business portrait of cleveland banker

Contemporary Business Portrait

A business portrait differs quite a bit from the traditional headshot. A business portrait is always done on location, utilizing the professional environment which becomes an important part of the portrait itself. Generally, it’s the business owner that utilizes this type of picture. Using the professional location allows the subject to reflect more of who they are and what they do. Also, for me, a business portrait is a collaboration with the client. We plan the aesthetics’s and their ultimate goal. The client’s input is vital since they are looking for a very specific image in which to present to their clientele. And, again, it also helps communicate what they do.

beach boyz entertainment professional business portrait professional picture of doctor in clevelandprofessional headshot of president of beach boyz entertainmentcleveland doctor professional headshotkeller williams cleveland team professional portrait

There can also be a combination of the two. Keeping with the traditional headshot, a bit conservative but incorporating just enough of the environment to communicate just what you would like and making the image a little more dynamic. In this case, the surrounding city.

headshot of a lawyer in Cleveland

The office environment,

portrait of real estate professional in Cleveland

and incorporating the environment a little more.

professional headshot in chicago

professional portrait of real estate agent in Cleveland

You can see that these folks are a step ahead because their first impression to their potential clients and the business world is top notch. There is no doubt that these business people take themselves and their career’s seriously. They don’t cut corners and they certainly do not embrace mediocrity.  That is what a great headshot or business portrait can do for you.

Having your business portrait or headshot isn’t something that any serious professional should discount or neglect. Too many are satisfied with a poor quality smartphone picture that is cut and pasted onto a white background. This might have been acceptable in 2008, but it is a reputation killer in 2018.  The better the headshot (and the better the photographer doing the headshot) the better you will be perceived. Having more choices in the type of professional visual representation available to you gives you more control over that perception.  And in this modern age, perception is the first step to success.

Leave a Reply