When you decide to get or refresh your headshot, there are several things to consider. What should I wear? is the most common thing we think about but an equally important consideration is the background style you want to have. Here’s what you need to know to help you decide on the perfect headshot background style:
Know The Options
There are two different background styles that people consider these days. One is not better than the other, but the two options are quite different from each other so let’s break them down so you know your options.
Traditional Style: As the name would suggest, a traditional style is a solid background that is created in a studio or using studio-like tools on location. There was a time with a traditional style was the only style. School pictures still use the traditional style to this day. Corporate ID badges do too. So do passports and driver’s licenses. It’s a crisp, clean, professional, traditional option.
Environmental Style: This background style uses natural surroundings as your background. You may be indoors or outdoors, and this would be considered a more natural option than the traditional style. In recent years, this has become a very popular headshot option.
Know The Details
If one background style doesn’t resonate over the other for you just by looking at the example portraits above, here are some additional details to consider.
Uniqueness: An environmental style background is much more unique than a traditional style background. Some people use their office as the environmental background which means only those from that office will have that background available to them. A traditional white or black or gray background can be set up and replicated over and over for any professional.
Cost: A traditional style background tends to be less expensive than going with an environmental background. This could be due to logistics (more about this below) but it’s always because of the additional work required to set up proper lighting in an environmental setting.
Logistics: When you go with a traditional style background, you can come right to your photographer’s studio for your session or they can come to you and setup is fairly quick and easy. When you go with an environmental style background, it’s almost always on location for someone. It might be at your office but your photographer will need to make arrangements to shoot at your location. You may go with a location that is on location for both you and your photographer which means double the logistics. Logistics aren’t a bad thing, but they need to be taken into account when you are making your headshot plans with your photographer.
A Background Style Can Be Worth A Thousand Words
The old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true, and it’s also true about your background style – sometimes.
When professionals select an environmental style background for their headshot, they sometimes want the background to make it very clear/obvious where they are and/or what they do professionally. A photographer may be photographed in their studio. Same with an artist or a writer. Other times that artistic twist isn’t important to the overall goal of the shoot, so the background (environmental or traditional) is non-descript.
What Does This All Mean?
The two most common places that people are using their headshot these days is on their website and on their social media profiles. In both places, either background is acceptable and has the capability to look a-ma-zing. The important thing to consider when thinking about where your headshot will be used is proper edits and cropping – and that’s where your professional photographer is an invaluable resource for you.
Yes, there is a lot to this headshot stuff! But don’t worry, this is what we do, and it’s all we do! Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation so you can get your specific questions answered and plan in motion!