Business Headshot Styles: Different Types and Uses

19 Oct 2017

Different Types of Corporate Headshots

Sometimes people may refer to them as business photos, but a headshot is specifically a picture of your face - sometimes from the chest up and sometimes from the shoulders up while other business photos may be of you in action at your place of business. Although these photos are called corporate headshots, you shouldn’t feel misled. They aren’t just photos of employees at corporations.The term just refers to headshots that will be used to give a point of recognition and inform you of who you will be doing business with. They “put a face” to the company.  The first thing you’ll want to understand and choose is the style of headshots you want.

Traditional headshots are usually created in studio or in front of a backdrop or in a business setting (like at a desk).

Modern headshots are usually still formal but often shot outside or in different areas of the business and  use angles, lighting and “movement” to create excitement or a sense of power.

Choosing your style is a personal preference and either of these headshot styles are okay for the following types of images.

Profile Photos for Job Seekers -

A sharp professional image can increase your attractiveness to potential employers when used on LinkedIn or job sites. If you care enough to represent yourself well, chances are you will represent a company well. According to, “up to 90% of human resources people say they check out social media profiles, especially LinkedIn and Facebook, before inviting a candidate in for an interview. This means the wrong headshot can kill your chances of even talking on the phone stone-dead.”

Management and Executive Headshots -

Ever walk into a company and see a wall of photos? People are the face of a company, and they need to be represented well. They need to project the image the company has chosen for its brand.  Executive headshots may be used on business cards, on signage, online, framed on site or in printed publications about the company. Some companies only share images of their management or executives while others share images of their entire staff (see below.)

Staff Photos

When a company wants to feature each of their staff members on a website or perhaps on a job site employer profile, they will need professional photos of their staff members. The important thing is to have consistency across the different photos of individuals to create a unified representation of the culture within the company. That doesn’t mean everyone has to make the same expressions. It just means they should all be traditional or all be modern. They should all be inside or all be outside. As the pictures are often shown side by side, you may also consider having everyone face the same direction. Imagine how chaotic and discordant a website might look if everyone went out and got their own photos or used selfies.

Photos for Freelance, Medical, Real Estate Agents, Lawyers -

Self representing and personal branding photos

If you are part of a company, you want to represent the company well, but a goofy smile in one picture isn’t going to mess up the brand of the company. What if YOU are your company? We all  see professional headshots regularly and may not even think about how it gives the photographed person a certain legitimacy. Real estate agents, lawyers, medical professionals and others often put an image of themselves on their business cards, signage or in ads. It all comes down to projecting the right image of a professional people can trust. Again, take a moment to imagine seeing a bus stop ad for a lawyer that uses a selfie or a photo a friend took with dark lighting. Lighting, dress, angles, expressions and make up can all affect a person’s first impression of you, but I’ll go into that in another post.