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What's the Difference Between a Portrait and a Headshot?

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

Photography is an art form and like all art it is subjective, which is why it can be tricky to understand the differences between a portrait and a headshot. When looking to hire a professional photographer however, it's important to know exactly what you need so he/she can deliver a photo that meets your expectations. This post explains the difference between headshots and portraits to help you decide which is right for you.

Professional portrait of Utah man
Professional portrait

Portraits 101

Generally speaking, a professional portrait is a photo that captures the subject in a way that is natural, yet still shows off their best features. Portraits can be taken in a studio or on location, and are typically more dramatic, artistic, and intimate than a traditional headshot.

Portraits are great for magazine features, social media, dating profiles, family photos, etc. Basically, if you need a photo that shows off more than just your face, a professional portrait is a great way to go.

Professional headshot of Utah based business woman
Utah business headshot

Headshot Basics

A professional headshot is a photo that is specifically designed to show off your face in the best light possible. Headshots are usually taken in a studio with professional lighting and often have a simpler backdrop than a portrait.

Headshots are typically used for professional purposes, such as websites, business cards, resumes, acting portfolios, etc. If you need a photo that focuses on your face and makes you look like someone other people want to work with, getting a headshot is a no-brainer.


So, which is right for you? If you need a photo that shows off your professional persona and puts your best face forward, go with a headshot. If you want something more creative or intimate, opt for a portrait. And if you're still not sure, call JGardiner Photography and we'll figure it out together.

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