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Current Headshot Trends and Observations

What are we seeing with headshots

By Author and Professional Photographer Post Modified June 18, 2024 @ 5:15 pm Last Updated on 1 month by

Personal and Business Observations

When reading a trend article, it’s important to consider the source’s perspective and the type of research they conducted. Some articles are based on personal observations, which can be influenced by the author’s biases. Other’s provide more concrete data, such as survey results or interviews with experts.

So let’s dive into headshot trends based on our experience and observations.

The Changing Headshot Options

The rise of interest in AI-generated headshots

As technology advances, more people are considering AI-generated headshots. These headshots are created using artificial intelligence to try and create a realistic and ‘flattering’ image. In our view the technology is still in it’s infancy and leave some disappointed with the results. If a few years no doubt that will be improved and be ready for the mass market. In our prediction, still only suitable for small business, solopreneurs and ID card size photos where cost is more important than quality.

Trend in Software to Aid Photographers Process and Edit Headshots

AI advancements have led to the development of software that can generate artificial headshots from phone photos. This concept has also been integrated into popular photo editing software used by professional corporate headshot photographers, such as Adobe Lightroom, One Raw, and Capture One.

Part of the fee that professional headshot photographers charge goes towards the time they spend meeting with clients and taking their headshots. However, an equal amount of time is spent on post-production (editing) the photos. This can have a significant impact on the final price.

Any software that helps professional headshot photographers be more efficient with their time will lead to real price reductions over time. At the very least, it will help to keep the cost of professional headshots from rising faster than inflation.

In other words, professional headshot photographers who are skilled in the genre may be more cost-effective than AI-generated headshots, relative to the client experience and results compared to do it yourself AI generated ones.

Here are some of the benefits of using advanced AI infused professional software to aid in the processing and editing of headshots:

  • Speed: Software can help photographers to edit headshots much faster than they could manually. This can free up their time to focus on other aspects of their business, such as marketing and networking.
  • Consistency: Software can help photographers to create consistent headshots for their clients. This is important for businesses and brands that need to maintain a certain image over time.
  • Quality: Software can help photographers to improve the quality of their headshots by removing blemishes, balancing lighting, cutting out the background (clipping path), and enhancing colours automatically

Overall, the trend of using software to aid in the processing and editing of headshots is a positive one for both photographers and their clients. By making the process more efficient and affordable, software can help photographers to produce higher quality headshots that meet the needs of their clients.

So we see a trend in software suppliers incorporating more and more automatic features to meet or beat self service AI headshots.


Headshot Industry Trends

The popularity of environmental headshots and portraits

Environmental portraits are headshots that are taken in natural settings. These portraits can help to show off your personality and style, and they can also make you look more approachable and relatable. Environmental portraits can give a greater sense of place, for example if a multinational business have a new office in Sydney, taking staff photos with an iconic landmark such as the Opera House or Harbour Bridge can add to the story.

Real Estate Trends

Real Estate professionals make great use of their headshots, in the consumer sector simple white background is what is being asked for the most. In commercial real estate there’s a mix of themed backgrounds and solid white.

Legal Sector Trends

Headshots trends in the legal and commercial litigators sector is still leaning towards photos from the waist up rather than just the top of shoulders and head. So we call these business portraits although most of our enquires calls them headshots as a generic term.

Trends in the Technology and Software as a Service Clients

The SaaS and tech sector has a lot of younger staff, in our experience, so we usually got for a clean professional look with a simple white or grey gradient background, well lit and staff with big smiles, we don’t see this trend ending any time soon either.

Is There a Trend in Using more Props?

Kinda, some of the smaller or progressive business use some props, carefully considered to replace their individual personality while keeping it on points and on Brand. Sometime is is with clothing accessories, others are with having their logo and Branding on a wall behind them, Using oversize writing to stand next too for example. See example below.

Full Length Business Portrait or Head shots Photo Trend Using a Branded Props. Photography By

Example using Company name prop sign for story telling

Male Corporate Headshot, Jacket Over Shoulder Pose. White background. Photography by

Example using a jacket as a prop to make the headshot more unique and add style

The use of Bright Colours

Using bright colours is something we like but it appears to remain and very small niche. Strong colours can help to make your headshot stand out and add a touch of personality but should be used with careful consideration.

We like it when the wardrobe choice complements or is a shade of the colour of the background. In other instances it can match the skin tone or event the lipstick. We see this trend ticking along but not widespread adoption, unfortunately.


Business Portrait Profile Photo with Complementary Background Colour. By

Example of headshot trend by using a complementary background colour to the jacket

Headshot Minimalism Trend

Minimalist headshots are all about simplicity, no doubt you’ve read this in other article. We call this one bogus as 95% of headshots are minimal because the background is typically a simple solid colour or gradient. You can’t get more minimal than that.

Yes, headshots typically feature a plain background and a simple pose, allowing your face to be the focal point. Environmental or prop headshots may be quite different. So this trend has definitely taken hold the last 10 or more years. We consider this type to be more of a staple than a trend.

Software and Tools for Headshot Editing

There are several software tools available for headshot editing, including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Capture One, and Affinity Photo.

Each of these programs has its strengths and weaknesses, and it’s essential to choose the one that best suits your needs and skill level. Some have added token AI features, used to be called algorithms. Other software tools have added many.

Capture One

Capture One is a professional-level image editing software designed for photographers. It offers a range of advanced tools for headshot retouching or editing, including skin retouching, colour correction and simple backdrop alterations.

We use Capture One on a daily basis for all the straight forward editing and image processing.

While Capture One is a great tool for colour correction and basic skin smoothing, Photoshop provides more advanced tools for retouching headshots. Photoshop has a wide range of tools for retouching, including frequency separation, advanced dodge and burn, clone stamp, healing brush to name a few. Capture One has some of these but we find it a little primitive.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is what we use when Capture One is just not there yet in it’s development. you need software like Affinity Photo or Adobe Photoshop when you need to perform advanced techniques for volume headshots or to change the colour of the backdrop.

Affinity Photo has a well implemented Frequency separation option, this is a powerful technique for retouching skin without sacrificing texture. It involves separating the texture and colour information in an image into separate layers, allowing you to work on each independently. We find many photographers over do it for when the photos are for business purposes.

Dodge and burn tools are used to add or remove light from specific areas of the image, helping to enhance the contours of the face and highlight specific features.

Clone stamp and healing brush tools are useful tools that can remove blemishes, wrinkles, and other imperfections in the skin. Both of the above software options have these options.

Adobe Software options which we don’t use

Adobe Photoshop is the most popular and widely used image editing software, used by professional photographers, graphic designers, and digital artists worldwide. It offers a wide range of tools and features for headshot retouching and editing, including advanced skin retouching tools, layer-based editing, and advanced colour correction and exposure adjustment tools.

Adobe Lightroom is a powerful photo editing and organization software that is designed for photographers. It offers a range of tools for headshot retouching and editing, including basic skin retouching tools, exposure adjustment, and colour correction.

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