Headshot vs. Environmental Portrait: What’s the difference?
Mar 7, 2019 | By: Onion Studio
Headshots and environmental portraits are great tools in business, but what is the difference and when should you use each one?
Here are six differences between the two:
1. Use – This depends on a few factors. What is your brand trying to portray? A more professional, serious look, or a more fun and inviting feel? Are you using this image in a directory or is it going in an editorial piece? A headshot might look nice on a company roster, but would be a bit boring in a newsletter.
2. Feel and mood – Professional and serious come to mind when we think of headshots. True, they are those, but they should also be inviting. Environmental portraits are generally more relaxed and fun while maintaining professionalism.
3. Lighting – Headshots are done in studio with bright, soft lighting. Portraits, however, are done on location and can have more exciting lighting with heavy shadows or even casts of color.
4. Foreground/background – The background for headshots are pretty standard. Usually a solid background or one with a slight mottled look. Environmental portraits make use of the background in a particular setting. You might see someone sitting at their desk, or a nurse standing in the hallway of a hospital. Environmental portraits tell more of a story about the person’s profession.
5. Crop – A tight crop is used for headshots. You will generally only see a person from the sternum up. An environmental portrait may capture a person’s entire body, or at least, a larger portion of the body than you’d see in a headshot.
6. Experimentation – The quarter turn is pretty standard for a headshot photo, but with an environmental portrait, you can experiment with anything! Location, pose, lighting… let us help you create something unique and personal. Stand out from the crowd.
We are skilled photographers that can work with colors and lighting to capture your personality and match your branding. If you are leaning towards one portrait style over another, remember to consider the following:
What image is your company or your personal brand conveying? – Think about your company's mission. What are some of the visual features and design elements that you already use to market your company? Or, is this for social media/personal branding? It’s all about who you are and what you’re trying to represent.
Time – How much time do you have? How much time does the photographer have? With studio headshots you are set in one place, with one or two backdrops. These shots are very quick. With environmental portraits, you can stay with one location, but we are also able to switch it up a bit and find additional spots in your office that can make for an interesting background, however, this does take extra time for set up.
Budget – Environmental portraits are a little more expensive due to the nature of this type of shot. They are out of studio, so lighting takes a little more time to set up and fine tune. In the end, studio headshots and environmental portraits are both wonderful options. You just need to decide which look works better for what you are trying to accomplish. We can also do a combination of both. The main objective is that the images are simple, clean, and professional.
Need more help deciding? We'd be happy to help! Contact us today to chat about your needs or to schedule a session!