A part of making a headshot extremely impactful is framing the image horizontally (or landscape, if you will). This does a couple of things:
- It creates negative space around you which allows the onlooker’s eyes to naturally roam around the frame – this is an opportunity lost when a subject gets “boxed in” on a vertical photograph.
- The point of a headshot is to highlight your face and your shoulders. Framing the shot horizontally allows me to focus on your expression, which makes a huge impact on any viewer looking at your image. My horizontal images can be made vertical, so if the need ever arises that can be done.
Another popular question is why do I crop the tops of my subjects’ heads. While I do try and shoot with your full head intact, I like providing images with your heads “chopped off” for a few important reasons:
- It allows a more interesting and powerful image by moving your eyes further up in the frame. This is an old video trick (watch any 60 Minutes interview) that takes advantage of what we photographers call “The Rule of Thirds.” It makes your headshot more engaging with the viewer.
- By cropping the top of your head, it brings more of your face into the frame. This is important because in today’s mobile society your image can make a bigger impact when someone is viewing your profile on a smartphone or tablet. Think of how small those profile photo boxes are on LinkedIn and Facebook.
- It allows more of your clothing to appear in the photo. For men and women both, this can be key because clothing options are often chosen depending on what frames your face the best.
If it’s of utmost importance to have your full head in a headshot, please tell me prior to your shoot so that I make sure every image we take has the same framing.