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headshot or executive portrait

The similarity between the terms Headshot and executive portrait is subtle. The names are frequently used interchangeably, but there are a few differences.


A corporate or professional headshot is typically taken from the chest or mid-torso up with the focus being on the face. The background can be a simple solid color or use a location as a backdrop. The most popular headshot backgrounds are white, gray, sometimes blue, or black.  A white background is popular since the subject can easily be digitally extracted and then copied onto different backgrounds. There’s no right or wrong color-wise just different. Black can be tricky and not typically used in a corporate headshot – more often in an actor or model headshot. A professional headshot is about marketing yourself as a professional – an image that leaves the viewer feeling positive about working with you and should say something about your style, competency, and personal branding. A professional headshot could be considered a ‘catch all’ used across the board for social profiles, website directories, speaking engagements … when people receive awards or write articles. You get the idea. However, not all headshots are created equal.


A business or executive portrait is several steps above the standard headshot. The background might be in the portrait studio but may also be in an office, outside, or any number of locations. It may be as close up but can also be three-quarter or full body. It usually takes longer to shoot. A business portrait portrays more. More, of whatever it is that you’re trying to convey out to the world. You could be an actor, athlete, author. A few of  last months clients for example

– a C-Suite Officer,
– a thought leader,
– an entrepreneur,
– a cutting edge designer
– a successful attorney,
– a cool smart cyber expert,

A business portrait portrays an image of someone at the top of their field, the expert, the leader. Even if it’s a case of fake it ’til you make it.

What makes my corporate headshots different from ‘standard’? I work with you to create that ’more’, that image that authentically represents you and catches the viewer’s attention.

I often get asked about retouching. It’s essential that it look subtle and believable. All headshot and business portraits are retouched and enhanced to meet your needs. Typically this includes brightening smile, teeth, and evening out skin tones.