What Is The Difference Between a Portrait and a Headshot?

The difference between a portrait and a headshot is the framing of the photo and the purpose of the photo. Technically a headshot is a portrait. A portrait is simply a photograph or a painting of somebody. I am going to answer the question of what is portrait photography, what is a headshot photo and when you should use a portrait vs a headshot.

The Purpose of a Corporate Headshot

A corporate headshot is your first impression. Your headshot is at the top left of LinkedIn and all other social platforms. Your profile photo is the first thing people see when they go to your page. These shots are typically from the chest up and the backdrop needs to be clean and simple. it’s all about looking confident, approachable, and ready for business. In a corporate headshot, you ALWAYS need to be making eye contact with the camera.

Why do you need a corporate headshot? Simple: Professionalism. Whether you’re a CEO in Vancouver’s bustling financial district or a startup wizard in the tech scene, a sharp headshot communicates credibility. It’s perfect for your company website, business cards, email signatures, bus ads, billboards, or any place where you want to connect with your ideal clientele.

Corporate Headshot on Grey Background by Vancouver Photographer Rob Trendiak

When To Use Portraits?

Portrait photography breaks free from the traditional headshot mould, giving you the freedom to express more of your personality, style, or brand. It could be a CEO captured in their element, surrounded by the architecture of their sleek downtown office, or a chef in their vibrant, bustling kitchen. The setting, pose, and attire aren’t just add-ons; they’re integral parts of the story.

With a portrait, you DO NOT need to be looking at the camera. Portraiture also allows more freedom to express all types of emotions to tell your story. I always loved the portrait of Mark Zuckerberg on the 2018 cover of Wired Magazine . This portrait tells a clear story of what Mark Zuckerberg was going through at the time with Facebook. It is also a perfect example of a an amazing portrait that you would not want to use as your headshot.

If you really want to make a statement and tell a story, you should opt for an artistic portrait, but you still need an outstanding headshot first.

Vancouver Portrait Photographer Rob Trendiak

Headshot vs. Portrait?

Corporate headshot or artistic portrait? It boils down to your needs and goals. If it’s about establishing professional credibility and uniformity, especially in more traditional sectors, a corporate headshot is your go-to. If you’re aiming to tell a more personal or brand-centric story, an artistic portrait will let your individuality shine.

Remember, photography is about telling a story. Whether it’s a corporate headshot that exudes professionalism or an artistic portrait that bursts with personality, the key is to convey a message that resonates with your audience.

artistic creative portrait photography by vancouver photographer rob trendiak book author photo

Curious about how to bring your own story to life through photography? Let’s chat about what works best for you! Reach out at rob@robtrendiak.com and let’s create something memorable. How does that sound? 📸✨