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Which is best, Landscape or portrait headshots?

We have a long history in this country of the portrait 10" x 8" cropped headshot. Essentially, that means your photo is cropped 10 inches on the sides and 8 inches along the top and bottom for a portrait.

This tradition has long been the industry standard in this country, however with the atlantic gap getting ever smaller, and cross casting with America more and more these days, we need to embrace that they have a slightly different way of shooting head shots in the USA, and its affecting the way we shoot here.

So what are the benefits of shooting landscape head shots instead of portrait orientation?

Generally these days, everything we see is in landscape orientation, our computers, the TV, billboards, yet we’ve always restricted ourselves to headshots orientated in portrait. With everything nowadays done digitally online, landscape orientation works so much better for screens, whether it be websites, mobiles or tablets.

The main benefit there can be from shooting landscape, is that you get a better idea of someone’s size and body shape with a slightly wider crop, and  they can be a lot more suggestive about ambience and paint a scenario, which for TV & Film headshots can be a really strong selling point.

The extra width in the shots tends to give them a bit more space to breath, and they feel more atmospheric as a result, having that room either side (or negative space as its called) can allow for a great ambience that is not possible in a standard 10×8 crop.

Some agents can be adverse to landscape shots as it does not match with the way they market their clients, so check before you deliver them landscape shots, but also remember there is the potential for your photographer to deilver a cropped version if thats something they offer.


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