Lets talk about headshot quality~

Can we talk about photo quality for a minute?

With the advent of digital photography and the rise of many people starting out photography businesses without having had any formal photography training, I’ve got to say that my biggest pet peeve when scoping their work is noticing that their images are not in sharp focus.

Its one of those things that is really hard to distinguish online. In particular with Facebook or Instagram posts where the images are compressed, it can be nearly impossible to tell the difference. I’ll use these two images as examples. Can you tell the difference here?


Unless you have the full high resolution sized files and are zoomed in at 100 percent, you might not be able to notice the difference between the top and bottom image. While it may not seem like a big deal when you’re viewing things online, when it goes to print it matters in a BIG way. In particular for your headshots that you need printed on a business card, or for your corporate marketing materials. When you think about printing up posters, banners for your next event or even a billboard, you’ll want to ensure that when its blown up BIG, the eyes retain detail.

I took two screenshots of these headshots of my daughter, Malaya, zoomed in at 100 percent so that you can see an example of the difference when you’re really paying attention to detail.


When zoomed in at 100 percent, you can clearly see in the top image that the right eye is a tad bit out of focus! This image would NOT translate well to a print.

Alternatively, in the bottom image example, BOTH eyes are 100 percent in full sharp focus, and this image WOULD translate well to print!

When you’re considering hiring a headshot, or portrait photographer for your personal branding or corporate marketing needs, this is where you’ll find the difference in quality/price. To verify your photographers skill, ZOOM IN to their portfolio images and make sure they are retaining full crisp details in the eyes!

I like to encourage my clients to do their research before they invest in their portrait session. While a $50 headshot session may seem ideal for your budget, it may not be ideal for your printing quality needs! The quality/price difference lies in the lens and camera body choice of the photographer, as well as their formal/lack of formal photography education. The truth is, mid range camera bodies (what newbie photographers generally will start out with before they can afford to invest into professional gear) do not allow pin pointed focusing options. This makes nailing their focus points nearly impossible when shooting at wider open apertures; thus resulting in images that are generally focused vs. tack sharp.

I write these blog posts to protect my community from novices posing as professionals that claim to cut you a deal. You will not want to be that amazing forward thinking small business that invested $100 into a portrait session, thought they were saving $, then a year later spent $500 or more on printed magazine/billboard ad, just to see it go to print, open up the magazine and realize that your face is not even in focus!

I hope that you’ve found this eye opening (pun intended) and educational. If you have any other topics you’d like me to cover, let me know in the comments!

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