Corporate profiles can be made with head & shoulders headshots, or with more of your body such as half, 3/4, or even full body portraits. Some companies use one image to do them all. Can you crop a full body shot to create a headshot?
Can I use the same shot for a Full-body portrait and a headshot?
It’s a question both clients and photographers have pondered. Short answer: Not recommended at all.
Read on to see why.
A headshot shows your head & shoulders. It’s your first impression to the world. It needs to make an impact, and be memorable. It needs to make a connection with the viewer using the right expression.
On your website, you see a bit of your shoulders. You don’t go further, because we want the maximum screen real estate for your face. On something like LinkedIn, where your photograph is often less than a centimeter high, you would crop even closer to get the maximum impact.
(Sound complicated? Don’t worry, we provide a full cropping guide so you know what to crop for different purposes.)
A good headshot has a strong confident pose, firm shoulders, and an expression that connects with the viewer. It shows intent, you can see the person is looking at you, not staring into space. You can imagine his mind is active, yet his attention is on you and what you have to say.
You can tell all these things because it is a close up of the face. We focus all your posing, the lighting, to get an impactful expression.
OK, not an official name. Sometimes you see portraits where they have extended past the shoulders, and down to the belly.
Unless you are pregnant, you are adding no value by showing how big your belly is. All it does is make your face smaller, giving you less impact.
Half Body Shots, 3/4 Shots
Half Body Shots and 3/4 Shots are actually very similar. They can be seated or standing, and they show a bit of your personality in the photograph. They need to extend far enough to show your hands – after your face, your hands are the most expressive part of your body.
The way you stand says a lot about you. These people are all friendly and approachable, but the poses show their different personalities. One common element is standing in a way that feels comfortable yet confident. This means relaxed shoulders, and good feet positioning which translates to the way the hips look.
The way they hold their hands changes the feel from more casual on the left to more business-like on the right. There are many variations you can use to get just the right level of formality for your goals.
Again these can be standing or seated. The angles, poses, and lighting are different again. These are more specialised shots, most commonly used for book covers, marketing, and media.
What Happens When You Crop A Portrait?
Headshot & Portrait
Above is a dedicated headshot, and a seated portrait, taken in the same session.
The headshot is taken from face height, so it feels like you are talking to him. The light focuses on his face, and the intensity of expression is captivating. This makes him stand out in a list of candidates.
The seated portrait is relaxed and friendly. It shows a bit more of who he is, shows confidence and is welcoming. It’s taken from lower and the lighting is subtly different.
Portrait Cropped to Headshot
Here is the seated portrait cropped into a headshot. Because his shoulders are more relaxed, and his expression is softer, there isn’t the same impact as a dedicated headshot. Compared to above, there’s no connection to the viewer.
This is why we don’t crop other shots into a headshot. And it would be worse if you crop a full body into a headshot.
Your headshot is the most important profile photograph you will have. Clients will see it before seeing any other portraits. I wouldn’t sacrifice your headshot for another portrait they may not even see.
The other thing is, your audience is very smart. They will soon realise every shot you use is actually the same. It brings into question your attention to detail. Some people may even wonder if it means your business can’t afford an extra photograph.
Showing different sides of yourself is letting your audience get to know you as they browse your website. Using the same shot again and again is doing the opposite – hiding from your audience. Is that what you want?
Portraits range from Full-body portraits to headshots, and are used for different purposes. They are posed and often lit differently.
Trying to use one style for something else often gives inferior results. A cropped full body portrait makes for a weak headshot. If you wanted to settle for “it’s fine” then you wouldn’t have hired a Professional Headshot Photographer.
Valent Lau Photography provides Business Portrait Photography for Sydney Professionals. We help you with preparation, styling, and even have award winning hair and makeup artists we can rely on. Contact us now and let us help you make your best first impression.
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