Good Headshots vs Bad Headshots

Good Headshots vs Bad Headshots

Headshot photography is not like typical photography such as product photography. In product photography photographers need to highlight the product rather than the model but in headshot photography photographers need to showcase the true self of the model. In headshot photography, there are two terms that we talk a lot about. One is good headshots and another one is bad headshots.

Today I am going to talk about these two terms and try to show you what exactly a good headshot is and a bad headshot is? Without further delay let’s jump into the good headshot’s vs bad headshots competition.

What Makes A Bad Headshot?

Answering what makes a good headshot is relatively easy when you know what makes a bad headshot first. Photography is an art and giving standards to an art won’t help you. Still there are a few guidelines by which the art can be made better. The basic guidelines for photography are on the photography lighting setup, excessive shadow, blurriness, bad framing and for headshot photography makeup, body showing are also some noticeable guidelines.

Bad Headshot Example Image

Image Source tngphoto

Photography lighting is always a major element for all types of photography. In headshot photography, too much lighting is very bad. It is because shadows decide the characteristics of the face, and if too much light occurs, the image looks distorted, so you cannot clearly see the detail in the headshot.

example of bad lighting headshot

Image Source spectrum brand

Just like lighting too much shadow is also bad for a headshot. We know shadow increases the authenticity of an image but if you put excessive shadow it can harm your image also. The viewer of your picture may assume you’re trying to conceal something from the actors in front, if there are too many shadows. So, you use shadows just as much you need.

Images that are blurry are not considered technically proficient. If the image has blurriness, the headshot is useless and will establish as a bad one. Note, if you want a truly professional headshot, the technical information must be excellent.

Poor framing will take all the positive from a headshot. If you give the customer too much or not enough in the frame and cut off the head, it will be a bad example of a headshot. Learn the right techniques of framing and try implementing them in your photography.

example of Poor Framing Headshot Image

Image Source digital photography school

Don’t be too adventurous with your headshots photo session. You can slightly tilt the camera, not buy too much. The customer shouldn’t be taken at an incredibly high or low angle since those angles appear to make the customer look smaller or bigger than normal. Your client should look exactly as they actually look in their headshot.

Now let’s start with what makes a good headshot part…

What Makes A Good Headshot?

A good headshot reveals the real you in a frame. So, any artificial elements like makeup, excessive lighting etc… won’t compliment your photo and make it a good headshot at all. Before you know what makes a good headshot, know what does not and avoid them first.

Example Image of Good Headshot

Image Source Mandy

The real task of a headshot is to shoot and express the features of your individuality. Headshots are captured for many reasons but the sum of those reasons is selling you in the end. If you are an actor, you capture your headshot for making an impression on your producers, if you are looking for a job you capture your headshot for giving a good professional vibe to your resume.

The end of any of them is selling yourself and you are one of a kind so you headshots should show that. Via your headshot you will be distinctive, so you want to look amazing of course, right? So how about a makeover? Makeover will make you look gorgeous, isn’t it? And your headshot will look much more attractive.

Before you get this wrong i want to make it clear that headshot photography is not like glamorous model photography where you go with putting on a lot of makeup and do some classy, stylish pose and shoot. Good headshots need to look exactly how you look on any average day.

Example of Good Headshot images

Image Source limelights

So, from the above discussion on good and bad headshots I hope you got the idea of good headshots vs bad headshots. This is not any competition between good and bad headshots. The article is all about telling you what criteria a good headshot should have and what should you avoid.

Frequently asked questions About headshot images

What are good headshots?

Headshots are also a genre of model photography but here you the model don’t have to give any stylish pose or put on any fancy makeup. Headshots are for portraying the real you and a good headshot should focus on that

What makes a bad headshot?

As i told you above headshots don’t fancy makeups and stylish poses so a bad headshot would be using these on you model. Other than that, excessive lighting and shadow, bad framing are also the reasons to produce bad headshots.

Should you smile for a headshot?

A happy face always provides positive vibes and a smile is the ultimate form of a happy face. But headshots are more for use in the corporate world, you can’t give a big smile either. So headshots give your comfortable smile so that it also looks professional.

What is the best color to wear for a headshot?

In the corporate world we always wear formals and if you notice you will see that normally plain colors are the most common of them. So, in a headshot photo always try to wear something in plain colors as patterns like color can distract your viewer.

How big is a headshot supposed to be?

A headshot should not be very big or very small because if you capture a large headshot photo it might bring half of your body in the frame. On the other hand, if you shoot a small one your body might get cropped more than usual. So, try to keep your headshot photo accurate so that it shows the right amount of your body

Do headshots have to be 8x10?

Yes, the default headshot size is 8*10 and it is maintained worldwide. It is also called passport size as this size is used to make passports.

What is the difference between a portrait and a headshot?

A headshot is captured with a longer focal length lenses so that it can focus on your face only. On the other hand, portraits are captured using shorter focal length lenses and it focuses both on the face and the body.

What is a theatrical headshot?

There are two types of headshots and those are, commercial headshots and theatrical headshots. Theatrical headshots are for casting in tv shows, and movies. In theatrical headshots. Casting directors see the layers of an actor’s personality.

Bordie Capron

Bordie Capron


“Bordie Capron is a Sr. Content Maker who is working in The Clipping Path Service an US-based image and video post-production company for over 7+ years. She completed her degree in graphic designing and worked as a graphic designing expert for several years. She always loved writing”

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