Headshots with a White Background

Studio Portraiture: White Backgrounds

I think a lot of people think of studio portraiture with white backgrounds. Studio photography can have a very distinct look, particularly when it comes to corporate portraiture. Often there is a reason for this.

White backgrounds can be a great choice for a headshot or portrait. For companies, matching headshots with a white background can tie in nicely to a website, are easy to manipulate (add space, create banners, print out, replace the background), and easy to match. But otherwise, white backgrounds can really draw attention to the subject matter and make them stand out.

I thought I’d discuss headshots with white backgrounds and do a little comparison. A lot of my work is full of colour. I painted some fun, bright backdrops at the start of the year, and I don’t shy away from colourful backgrounds:

I don’t often shoot with a pure white background, rather, I tend to use a soft grey for most of my headshots. It still keeps the focus on the subject, but isn’t as stark. You can see the difference here – I’ve adjusted this image to show as an example: pure white in comparison to a soft grey. Everyone will have their own preference of course, and I of course shoot to what my clients require or want:

Comparison: headshots with white backgrounds.

In all my sessions we don’t need to stick to one background. I often shoot with many various backgrounds both indoors and outdoors. So if you’re interested in white, we can achieve that while also exploring some other options for you too.

But let’s have a look at some pure white backgrounds, and then compare them with some non-white backgrounds.

You can see how pure white can so easily fit into a webpage (particularly that with a white background like this one). It is also easy to see how background replacements and added space is easy to achieve with these images too. You do have to be wary that the skintones aren’t underexposed. With a white background, it is very easy for the foreground to become dark and a little lost.

Comparison: headshots with other backgrounds.

Let’s have a look now at some non-white backgrounds as a comparison. Remember, there is no ‘best’ background. Everyone has their own preferences and requirements, but it is always interesting to see the effect of white/grey/colour can have on a portrait.

Does your headshot need a white background?

Sometimes, the answer is yes. If you have a requirement from an employer for example, sometimes a white background is required. Or otherwise, to keep in style with your industry, or to fit in with particular uses for your photos. For those who need headshots to cut out to put on new backgrounds, billboards, cards, websites etc, white is often the preferred choice.

But for many of my clients, we also do different options as well: if that be a coloured studio backdrop or an outdoor setting. Here are some examples:

To summarise…

Headshots with white backgrounds can be incredibly effective. They can help a subject stand out, and prove useful when wanting to alter the images with text, sizing, and new backgrounds. You can see the work of Peter Hurley, who often uses white backgrounds for his corporate and actor headshots – they are clearly a popular choice. But when it comes to headshot photography, don’t be afraid to try something different too.

If you’re ready to book your headshot session, head to my online bookings page or get in touch! If you’re interested in seeing more of my work, check out my gallery.