Full-body Portrait, Half-body Portrait, or Headshot – What Should You Use?

Corporate profiles can be made with head & shoulders headshots, or with more of your body such as half, 3/4, or even full body portraits. Some companies use one image to do them all. Can you crop a full body shot to create a headshot?

Can I use the same shot for a Full-body portrait and a headshot?

It’s a question both clients and photographers have pondered. Short answer: Not recommended at all.

Read on to see why.


A corporate headshot shows your head & shoulders. It’s your first impression to the world. It needs to make an impact, and be memorable. It needs to make a connection with the viewer using the right expression.

Headshots are usually quite small where they are displayed. It often needs to be able to grab attention out of a whole list of search results, and therefore is probably the most important image in your library.

On your website, you see a bit of your shoulders. You don’t go further, because we want the maximum screen real estate for your face. On something like LinkedIn, where your photograph is often less than a centimeter high, you would crop even closer to get the maximum impact.

(Sound complicated? Don’t worry, we provide a full cropping guide so you know what to crop for different purposes.)

Strong corporate headshot with eye contact and intent, in Sydney studio

A good headshot has a strong confident pose, firm shoulders, and an expression that connects with the viewer. It shows intent, you can see the person is looking at you, not staring into space. You can imagine his mind is active, yet his attention is on you and what you have to say.

You can tell all these things because it is a close up of the face.We sacrifice the rest of the body in both posture and lighting. We focus all your posing, the lighting, to get an impactful expression.

Belly Shots

OK, not an official name. Sometimes you see portraits where they have extended past the shoulders, and down to the belly.

Unless you are pregnant, you are adding no value by showing how big your belly is. All it does is make your face smaller, giving you less impact. It shows how many extra kilos you’ve added and that does not have any business use. It makes your staff anxious about how they are being presented to the world.

Half Body Shots, 3/4 Shots

Half Body Shots and 3/4 Shots are actually very similar. You call them half body, but you never cut someone off at the waist (or any joint). It just looks wrong.

These can be seated or standing, and they show a bit of your personality in the photograph. They need to extend far enough to show your hands – after your face, your hands are the most expressive part of your body. These shots are used whenever you talk a little more about the person, their history, skills, etc.

Often you would have a headshot on the team page, where everyone is consistent. Then use a 3/4 Shot on individual profile pages to show personality. They are also used for speaker profiles, and articles or editorials. Anywhere that has more than a paragraph about you, should be accompanied by a portrait. Where the headshots emphasize consistency, 3/4 Shots show individuality.

Half Body and 3/4 Portraits for corporate business profiles

The way you stand says a lot about you. These people are all friendly and approachable, but the poses show their different personalities. One common element is standing in a way that feels comfortable yet confident. This means relaxed shoulders, and good feet positioning which translates to the way the hips look.

The way they hold their hands changes the feel from more casual on the left to more business-like on the right. There are many variations you can use to get just the right level of formality for your goals.

Full-Body Portraits

Standing and seated full body business portraits in studio

Again these can be standing or seated. The angles, poses, and lighting are different again. These are more specialised shots, most commonly used for book covers, marketing, and media.

They are also used in profiles in addition to half body shots, especially when your profile text is long enough to require multiple photographs. Leadership roles often get a series of different looks, from serious to fun, to create a media library for future use.

What Happens When You Crop A Portrait?

Headshot & Portrait

Seated Half-body Portrait compared to a Professional Headshot in studio

Above is a dedicated headshot, and a seated portrait, taken in the same session.

The headshot is taken from face height, so it feels like you are talking to him. The light focuses on his face, and the intensity of expression is captivating. This makes him stand out in a list of candidates.

The seated portrait is relaxed and friendly. It shows a bit more of who he is, shows confidence and is welcoming. It’s taken from lower and the lighting is subtly different.

Portrait Cropped to Headshot

A seated portrait forcibly cropped into a headshot

Here is the seated portrait cropped into a headshot. Because his shoulders are more relaxed, and his expression is softer. The angle leans him away a bit, and there isn’t the same impact as a dedicated headshot.

It’s OK, better than a selfie, but not a strong look. Compared to above, there’s no connection to the viewer.

In this case, we coached him to look directly into the camera. However many photographers do not include posing and expression coaching. We’ve seen many portraits where their head was tilted up, and they were looking down their nose. It’s not too bad in half body, but cropped to a headshot it looks downright snobbish.

This is why we don’t crop other shots into a headshot. And it would be worse if you crop a full body into a headshot.

Go For Impact

Your headshot is the most important profile photograph you will have. Clients will see it before seeing any other portraits. There are expressions you can use for headshots you cannot in a full body, and vice-versa. I wouldn’t sacrifice your headshot for another portrait they may not even see.

The other thing is, your audience is very smart. They will soon realise every shot you use is actually the same. It brings into question your attention to detail. Some people may even wonder if it means your business can’t afford an extra photograph.

Showing different sides of yourself is letting your audience get to know you as they browse your website. Using the same shot again and again is doing the opposite – hiding from your audience. Is that what you want?


Portraits range from Full-body portraits to headshots, and are used for different purposes. They are posed and often lit differently.

Trying to use one style for something else often gives inferior results. A cropped full body portrait makes for a weak headshot. If you wanted to settle for “it’s OK” then you wouldn’t have hired a Professional Headshot Photographer.

Executive Images provides Business Portrait Photography for Sydney Professionals. We help you with preparation, styling, and even have award winning hair and makeup artists we can rely on. Contact us now and let us help you make your best first impression.

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