Professional headshot – Formal vs. Informal Portraits

Every professional, at one time or another in their career, will need a professional headshot. Most corporate portraits are pretty formal…an executive in a suit with a neutral backdrop. Lawyers, administrators, and corporate executives require the formal portrait. It can either be done in-studio or a portable studio can be set up at their location.

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There are some professionals that can have their headshot done as an informal portrait or even an environmental portrait. Some professions such as cooks, educators, and other trades even call for an environmental portrait. It’s a great way to showcase the person and what it is they do creating visually interesting portraiture. Informal portraits can be used for business, but they are usually for independent businesses such as, artists, musicians and other ‘non-traditional’ professions.

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These portraits are designed to capture the essence of who a person is and what it is they do. The location of these portraits are generally on location rather than in a studio. Sometimes you can’t get to their location, but you can use tools of their trade to give the viewer information as to what their vocation is. It is possible to create an environmental portrait in a studio, but that requires some planning and added costs of creating the props to portray a person within their environment. The benefit, if you have those types of resources, is that you get better, more controlled lighting. If you don’t then you have to go where your client is and that means having to deal with lighting that could be cool, warm, or a combination of both which can be problematic for selecting your white balance. This is something that you can tweak in post-processing. Informal portraits can edited with a little more flare than formals. It will generally be up to the employer or the person requesting the headshot as to what kind of portrait they will need.

If you are interested in getting your professional portrait done here is a great article about what to avoid.  Contact us now to book your session.