Are all headshots created equally?

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How many different types of headshots do you think there are? If you were on one of those awful radio station quizzes where they give you 60 seconds to name 5 different types of something and you’d win $5000 do you think you could think of 5 different types of headshots? Or would you miss out on that sweet 5k.

Now that scenario probably isn’t going to happen any time soon (radio stations are too busy asking people for all the giant thing landmarks in Australia and different kinds of knives instead), however it could be handy to know your options if you’re planning on getting new headshots or headshots for your team in the near future.

So here are the main types of headshots, and Oh Tilly Brand Photography can capture all of these. Often brands will request multiple types in one session so they have different options for use on different platforms.

Plain background – this is pretty self explanatory, of course a plain bg could be any colour. But without any variation in texture or tones. These are great for Linkedin.

Painterly background – this is a traditional type of photography backdrop that is hand painted canvas and creates a dramatic look with a natural painted vignette around the subject, bringing your focus to the centre of the image. Quite a classic look. Something this classic works well for artists or historic careers like University professors or barristers.

Environmental – one of my favourite types of headshot is of a professional or business owner in their own environment. The background is typically blurred somewhat, sometimes to the point it’s unrecognisable, but still obvious from the shapes and colours that they’re in an office or standing in front of an excavator for example. The best thing about these headshots is that they are a great benefit to any service based industry to showcase a person’s role in one image. There’s so much to tell about a person from the environment that they work in.

Architectural – a headshot captured with architectural interest in the background. There are some stunning old buildings and some fascinating new architecture, many of which make breathtaking backgrounds for a headshot. These are great for just about any industry but work exceptionally well for architects and builders.


Special background (eg balloons, glitter, repetition of product) – come on now, who doesn’t want their headshot against a wall of bright pink balloons or in a ball pit? If your brand is exciting and fun, this is a great idea to convey that personality. I don’t care what your job title is, if you want to do a headshot against a balloon wall or glitter wall, please hit me up!

Nature – blurred or not, beautiful trees, shrubbery or flowers make for a great headshot background for any business that is nature focused or wants to convey a natural vibe. Nature doesn’t have to mean green, sometimes it can mean autumn leaves like the above headshot. These lend themselves really well to eco focused brands and natural/health focused brands.

Branded background – these types of backgrounds are often used for large corporates and have a repeated business logo or image in the background. Usually printed onto a canvas and subjects stand in front of it. Excellent for large companies that want to ensure their brand is on everything (grocery store chains etc).

Different types of focus – regardless of the content of your headshot background there are varying levels of focus. Your background could be very sharp (this works well for modern architecture and branded backgrounds) or blurry (which works well for environmental backgrounds). Regardless of the subject of your headshot we can make the background sharper or more blurred depending on how big a part the environment should play in your image. If you want people to see your workplace then some level of sharpness is important so they can make out the shapes behind you. But a beautiful and creative type of not-too-plain background is a fully blurred background where it just becomes shapes of colours like the above image.

It is recommended that a professional has at least one spectacular headshot, but I go a bit further and say you should have one spectacular headshot for each of the platforms that you use. Your Linkedin headshot won’t work on your Tik Tok and vice versa.

When was the last time you thought about what type of headshot works for you?



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