Headshots vs Promotional Portraits


While a headshot is technically a portrait (a picture of a person), it has a very specific set of parameters and purpose.

The focus is the face. It should allow you to both identify the subject's identity, as well as connect the subject with the viewer on an intriguing or emotional level.

Model: Sarah Dumovich


Often used for commercial and promotional purposes, a portrait will incorporate posing, body language, and physical architecture.

A portrait is used to create branding or message through imagery. Often considered "editorial," to accompany a marketing campaign, a portfolio, or promotional material/website.

Model: Sarah Dumovich


Stefanie Steel

Model portfolio portrait

Promotional portrait: opera singer

Luis Chapa

Headshot: opera singer

Headshot: Broadway actor/singer

Carla Stickler

Promotional portrait: commercial

Promotional portrait: opera singer


Chris Carr

Headshot: classical musician

Sharra Wagner

Promotional portrait: classical musician

Headshot: actor

Emily Fellows

Portrait: actor

Headshot: actor

Olivia Marsh

Headshot: model

Megan Junglander

Promotional portrait: tattoo artist

Christopher Stubbs

Using Format