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1.2 What is a Headshot?

A headshot photograph is a specific kind of portrait that realistically demonstrates a person's appearance for branding or casting. A headshot image represents to the world the essence of who someone is.

1.2 What is a Headshot?

Hi, I'm Scott Chanson. Welcome back to Head Shot Photography. I guess the best place to start in this course is to define what exactly a head shot is. A head shot is a specific type of portrait that realistically demonstrates a person's appearance for branding or casting. I love that this definition says branding, because this is what makes head shot photography so important. In today's world, pretty much any career path you choose will require you to build a personal brand. And in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of your very own personal brand is how you present your face to the world. This is where we as photographers get to shine by using our gifts and skills to create images of people. Whenever I get a call to do a head shot, I am honored. Because it means that this person is trusting me to produce an image of them that is going to represent the essence of who they are to the world. A few months ago, a client called me to schedule a head shot session to create some images for the promotion of her new book. These images have now been published in the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and in Time Magazine. I mean, wow, that means a lot of people have based some of what they think about this woman based on something that I've created. I just don't think I'll ever get used to that, and it really is a blessing to do as a job. In my mind, this is the essence of what a head shot is. It's not about whether I shot it in landscape or portrait orientation. It doesn't matter if it's black and white or color. It's not shot with tons of makeup and perfected in post production. I mean, she's not even looking at the camera. But if you know Kristen, you know that this image is a spot-on representation of what she's really like. She's fun loving, funny, and she loves adventure. And I think this image perfectly captures that. As we move through this course, I'm going to give you some very specific ways to shoot different kinds of head shots based on my experience, my taste, and the feedback that I've gotten from my clients. Some of these lessons may sound a lot like rules, and they are valuable lessons. But ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that your job as a head shot photographer is to bring out the best in your clients and to create images that reveal best of who they really are in the context of where they will be used. I like to think of head shots as fitting into three categories, those categories are actors' head shots, corporate head shots, and what I like to call anybody head shots, or social media head shots. Each of these is a little bit different and to get things going, we're gonna start with actors' head shots.

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