What’s The Difference Between Actor Headshots and Executive Portraits?

What’s The Difference Between Actor Headshots and Executive Portraits?

Although the image format of the actor headshot and the executive portrait are fundamentally the same, (head and shoulders, well lit images that clearly and realistically represent the subject) the objectives and style of the photo sessions required to capture these two genres of portraiture are every bit as different as a casting call is from a board meeting.

Although Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players”, the part played by the actor and the part played by the business person, based on the expectations of the audiences they serve, are so far apart, that it should be no surprise to learn that the creative processes of photographic portraiture should take very different approaches for each of these portrait sessions.

The portfolio shoot for Lenny Steinline intitled “Actor Headshots For Lenny Steinline; A Study of Expression” shows a series of images depicting a wide range of facial expressions including variations in the elements of composition used to support the expressions on Lenny’s face. The objective was to explore the range of Lenny’s expressiveness as completely as possible within the boundaries of the actor headshot session he selected.

The style, which has more to do with the clothes, the lighting, the camera angles, the background, as well as the nature of photographer interaction with the subject, has to do with the creative approach taken at Church Street Studios to support the emotional expressions Lenny and the photographer explore during the course of the photo session.

The reason for the wide range of expressions with Lenny’s actor headshots is because the images are used to attract interest in Lenny from a casting director’s point of view. Casting directors search for the actor who can best embody all the aspects of a character to be presented in a film or other media event they are casting for.

Also it is helpful for an actor to have choices of expression so that he/she can present photos congruent with the character sought after in the casting call. At Church Street Studios, we make sure the actors that we work with have numerous options of expression, dramatically supported by our sensitive photographic style and technique. Please see Click Here

When working with business people the objective is quite different. We are not looking for expressive range but rather, the one perfect image that is going to present the business man or woman most favorably to his or her cohorts, clients, and managers. We are looking to create an avatar image for our business clients that will favorably represent them in the virtual and social media business world.

With executive portraits, the style question is mostly about setting. Do the client and his or her company want portraits on a specified type of artificial backdrop, or do they prefer an environmental background meaning actual office space or outdoor backgrounds.

At Church Street Studios we take into consideration the type of business our client is involved in. We have studied the emotional expectations of business portraiture for over 25 years. We see it as our responsibility as the creative artists to make sure our client’s executive portrait fits the emotional tone of his or her business dealings.

Keith Wycke is a motivational speaker and his executive portrait session included images created in studio on a white background to tie in with his web site, as well as images created with an environmental background to support his high energy profile as an exciting speaker. Please see Click Here

When selecting a photographer for your next portrait session, whether you are an actor or a business person, it is of critical importance to know whether or not your photographer understands that not all portrait sessions are the same.

This is one more reason to shoot with a professional. No matter how many “Popular Photography” articles the amateurs read, it takes experience and knowledge to understand what is appropriate. Your career is important to you. Do yourself a favor. Whether you are an actor or a business person, choose an experienced professional photographer for your next portrait session.

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