It’s not a question of which is better but rather which is right for you. The majority of the headshots we do are on a white or dark gray background. Why white and dark gray? Both of these colors provide a clean, modern look and allow the focus to remain on your eyes and expression. After all, headshots should be about your face! Clean white backgrounds are best for business headshots and allow for multiple uses to cover all social sharing and printing needs. I typically shoot each client on both white and dark gray so they have multiple options. Dark gray is more flattering for some people depending on their skin tone and hair color. So what about outdoor headshots?
Outdoor headshots, provide a different feel for the images. While the majority of our headshot sessions are shot on white or gray, we do get requests for location specific sessions. Usually we get these from businesses who want their office/work space as the backdrop for their employee headshots or from clients who want a more “cinematic” background. This is accomplished by shooting outside so there can be a great enough distance between the subject and the background to create a creamy, blur effect behind the person. Depending on your needs and intended use, these types of images can provide a unique look.
For the vast majority of my clients looking for headshot photography, I recommend doing one of our studio sessions on a white and dark gray backdrop. The reason is that these clean, modern backgrounds are the most versatile and won’t go out of style anytime soon. They are flattering to all body types and they keep the viewers focus on your eyes and expression. If you can’t decide between the two, no worries! We have packages that include both studio and outdoor headshots so you can have the best of both worlds. I usually recommend this type of package for working actors/performers and people who rely heavily on their public image for success in their career.
Believe it or not, I’ve had this request before. A client wanted me to photoshop their image onto a “nature” backdrop. I told the client that this is not in the scope of services that I provide. Many people falsely assume that the background is what makes these images unique. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of us don’t like analyzing our own faces, so I understand why people might want to have an interesting background. But the most interesting thing about any great headshot is the person in the image. Genuine, human connections are far more important than distracting backdrops.
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