What is the best background for headshots?

Beware of the Three B’s

When it comes to choosing the best background for headshots, I avoid the three Bs—bricks, books, and bushes. Not just because they are cliché, but because they are distracting. A headshot isn’t about the background; it’s about you.

nyc headshot white background

The primary purpose of your headshot is to create a favorable impression in the eyes of the viewer. A great headshot grabs attention and makes people want to learn more about you. An impressive wall of books may send the message that you are a well-educated and influential attorney, but it does not help create a real, human connection. That requires a natural and engaging expression. To keep the viewer’s focus on that expression, I prefer the background to be as simple as possible. As my colleague Dan Hilton often says, you’ve only got a fraction of second to make a connection with a photograph, so don’t waste any time distracting the viewer with anything that doesn’t need to be there.

NYC Professional Headshot Gray Background

My standard background options for headshots are white and grey, and I usually shoot both during a session unless there is a specific need for just one of them. I do both because some people find they prefer one over the other, or sometimes an outfit works better on a particular background. For example, one of my favorite outfit/background combinations is white on white, which makes the subject and expression stand out.

Another advantage of a simple background is when multiple headshots are viewed together, such as on a company’s team page. A set of consistent and clean headshots creates a much stronger design on the page and reflects well on your brand.

A clean background also sends a subtle message of confidence in your own skin.  You’re not relying on anything else to make the image – you own it fully. And for most professionals, this confidence is exactly the message you want to send.

I’m here to help you create or replace your headshot with one that sends your message. Check my schedule here.

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