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Headshots 101: What is a Headshot?

Are you in need of a professional headshot, but unsure of where to start? You've come to the right place! As a professional headshot photographer with years of experience, I'll break down what a headshot is and more. Let's dive into it:

Table of Contents:

what is a professional headshot male business headshots

What is a Headshot?

Simply put: a headshot is a close up photo of a person's face, typically taken from the shoulders up, for use in a variety of professional, creative, or promotional contexts. In addition to this, professional headshots also contain several common elements:

  • Professional camera equipment that captures the headshot in high resolution, for use across digital and print mediums.

  • Flattering lighting on the subject to emphasize them as the subject.

  • Attire that matches the subject's industry or field.

  • Proper posing and expressions that communicates charisma and approachability.

  • Professional editing that removes distracting, yet temporary features from the subject's face, such as stray hairs, blemishes, and under-eye bags.

Not all headshots will have some or even all of these elements, but a good headshot will.

photography studio what is a headshot

Why Headshots are Important

In today's digital age, a professional headshot is more important than ever. Most first impressions occur online now, and you'll only have one chance to make a good one. Professional headshots are important for other reasons, too:

  1. A headshot builds trust and credibility. Seeing a person's face is just one of those crucial first-steps to building trust with someone.

  2. A headshot helps establish your personal brand. Similar to the above, a headshot helps separate you from the competition and stand out in your field.

  3. It will help you get the job. Looking the part will help you in getting the part arguably just as much, if not more, than credentials will.

The Different Types of Headshots

Headshots are a crucial part of professional branding, so it's no surprise that they're needed in a wide range of industries and fields. I like to lump them into 3 main categories: Business Headshots, Professional Headshots, and Artistic Creative headshots.

Business Headshots

This is usually for people who work in corporations or firms. It includes:

Professional Headshots

Next, you have the working professionals that may work in specialized fields, or less formal organizations, such as:

Artistic Creative Headshots

Lastly, you have the headshots for all those who work in creative occupations:

I'm also going to give Dating Headshots an honorable mention here, because in the world of 21st century romance, most relationships now start online - and plenty of people are now booking with professional headshot photographers to get images for their dating profile.

business woman picture what is a headshot

Headshots vs. Portraits: What's the difference?

The key difference between a headshot and a portrait are the focus and intent behind the image. As a photographer who specializes in both headshots and portraits, the focus of a headshot is to represent the subject in an accurate, flattering way. A portrait, on the other hand, may feature a more stylistically liberal intent, often including creative editing and posing styles. In portraiture, background and context also has more of a priority to the total image, while headshots disregard background context entirely so that the subject's face is the main focus of the image. Portraits are also taken for special occasions, like weddings, graduations, or birthday parties, which is in contrast to headshots that are primarily captured for a business or branding purpose.

How much do Headshots cost?

If you've been searching for headshot prices, you may be wondering why headshots are so expensive. You can typically find headshots offered for as low as $40 all the way up to $1,400! At the low end, you're going to encounter some pretty terrible shots by amateurs that you're probably going to be disappointed with. At the high end, you're either working with a world-class headshot photographer or you're getting wildly ripped off. Most quality headshots offered by professionals sit within the $150 to $500 range. Pricing will also be influenced by the amount of outfits worn, images delivered, and additional retouching that will be done during post-production.

photography studio what is a headshot

Where can I get my headshot taken?

Because headshots are so universal, it's not uncommon for photographers to offer them as a service. However, getting a proper headshot is an artform as much as it is a technical skill, so it's best to book your headshot with a photographer that specializes in them. These photographers will not only have the equipment to get you a great shot, but will also have the necessary coaching skills to help you feel comfortable and truly make a great first impression.

How often should I update my Headshot?

There's a few things to consider when deciding when to update your headshot. Typically, headshots should be updated every 2-4 years, just on account of how our appearance changes as we age. However, you may want to update your headshots sooner if there's any major changes to your brand, appearance, or employment status.

Professional Headshot Examples

Headshots can be as varied as the professionals who need them! Here are some examples of professional headshots taken by me for your reference:

A headshot is a crucial element of your personal branding and can have a big impact on your professional or acting career. It's important to choose the right type of headshot and choose the right photographer for the job. I'm ready to help you make a great first impression, so don't wait, and get in touch with me today:

austen hunter photography professional headshot photographer what is a headshot

Austen Hunter Photography is a Headshot Photographer operating out of Pensacola, Florida. With his team, he delivers high-quality headshot images to working professionals, creative entrepreneurs, and corporate clients from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Destin, Florida. Austen Hunter is an internationally published photographer and is known for creating headshots that leave a Great First Impression. Book your headshots with Austen Hunter today.



Austen Hunter Photography is a photographer based in Pensacola, Florida who specializes in family beach photography, military portrait photography and professional headshot in a bold and clean style. Austen Hunter has been locally recognized and internationally published . He uses a variety of both natural light and off-camera flash to capture images. People usually book Austen for outdoor portrait sessions or sessions conducted at his home studio.

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Chelsea, Headshot Client

"Wonderful experience! Wanted an updated headshot and Austen and Sarah were amazing. The studio was clean and incredibly nice, Sarah even provided blotting pads to help with shininess I had during photo shoot. 10/10 recommend to anyone wanting to get a photo taken! Thank you again!"


Tammy, Headshot Client

"We are so glad that we found Austen. He did a wonderful job providing us with quality headshot photographs. He made us feel comfortable and gave us good suggestions for posing. We look forward to working with him again in the future!"


Daryl, Beach Client

"Austen and his team were amazing! They were able to capture exactly what we wanted for our engagement pictures and also provided us a tent to change clothes. I would highly recommend him and I would definitely use him again."

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