About Commercial Headshots

Everything you need to know about what to wear, how to pose, and what backgrounds to use for the perfect commercial headshots.

After you’re done reading this guide:

What Are Commercial Headshots?

Commercial headshots are a type of business portrait photo typically used for advertisements, company websites, business cards, press releases, and LinkedIn profiles. 

A great commercial headshot should capture the viewer’s attention and create a positive first-impression related to the unique selling proposition of the related business. In the photo shown here, our guitar teacher client needed a way to show himself as talented, professional, and friendly to website visitors.

Very often, commercial headshots are accompanied by text with a related marketing message and call to action. 

A talented commercial photographer should pay for themselves by knowing how to create a compelling image that supports your business goals. A better image can have a dramatic impact on the ROI of your advertising, as the image is typically the first part of an ad that most people see. 

commercial headshot photography example of guitarist
commercial headshot photography example

Are Commercial Headshots Important?

Have you ever met someone that you instantly either liked, or disliked?

Maybe you knew why you felt that way about them, or perhaps you didn’t, but most people are prone to generating “first impressions” of other people in just 1/10th of a single second. These first impressions can have dramatic impact on who they buy from and what they click on.

Advertising is very expensive. A bad commercial headshot significantly impairs your campaigns ability to perform well.

So a lot like a great accountant, a great commercial headshot is a service that should be treated as an investment that pays for itself multiple times over. We’ve seen a single photo improve the conversion rate on a landing page by up to 75%.

The click-through-rate on your online ads can be 2x or 3x higher (and thus cheaper) with a great photo.

What Do I Wear for Commercial Headshots?

It depends on your personality, industry and where the photos will be placed!

For more conservative industries like law and finance, we recommend the standard suit-and-tie, or female equivalent.

Otherwise, you should consult with your commercial photographer, as there

Remember, dress for the job you want, not the job you have.  If you’re still not sure, then ask us! We’re always happy to provide guidance.


commercial headshot photography example
commercial headshot photography example with pointing

How Do I Pose for Commercial Headshots?

No need to go crazy on your poses for commercial headshots. In our sessions, we tend to focus on minimalist poses. 

We are, after all, showcasing your professionalism — not our photography.

Your poses should be informed by your marketing message and intended placement for your images.

For example, if you know you have a website placement that would be good to draw attention to, simply taking a photo of you pointing in that direction can get website visitors’ attention.

What Backdrops are Best for Commercial Headshots?

For more conservative industries like law and finance, we recommend neutral backdrops based in white, gray or black. With those colors, we can get some really crisp shots that convey reliability and consistency. Visit our headshot backgrounds page for previews of all studio background options.

If you work in creative industries, non-profits, or tech, and you’d like your photos to have a bit more “pop,” feel free to pick a colored studio backdrop or try an outdoor/in-office session. These photos often have a bit more personality. 

If you’re a senior executive, entrepreneur or thought-leader, you should probably have several photos of yourself that you can use across platforms. Ideally, you would have a couple outdoor photos to supplement your studio headshots.

If you have the same exact headshot on LinkedIn, the company website, and press releases, it can look a bit amateurish.

headshot background options

HeadShots Inc Offers 11 Studio Backdrop Options

commercial headshot photography example for local political campaign

How Should I Prepare for Commercial Headshots?

There are three keys to preparing for your headshot ahead of time.

First, if possible, try to get some sleep, exercise, and sunshine in the weeks before your session. Our editing team airbrushes your selected photos before delivering them to you, but your preparation will help ensure that the photos look as natural as possible.

Second, make sure to briefly wear your desired clothing a couple days before your session. You want to make sure that your outfits still fits properly and don’t need dry cleaning.

Third, draw up a list of your intended placement for your headshots, so that your photographer can be prepared to help you implement your goals while shooting.

This client wanted her photo to reflect her connection to the San Francisco, California community, so we took a shot with the famous street cars in the background.


What If I’m Not Photogenic or Hate Getting My Photo Taken?

We’ve got you covered! Most portrait photographers are unfortunately guilty of creating a cringe-y environment for their clients. They force you into awkward poses and don’t truly understand what clients are looking for from their session. Either that, or they rush you through the session.

At HeadShots Inc, we create a fun & stress-free environment for every client. At our studio, we play upbeat music and constantly get feedback from the client so that we can work towards an amazing headshot that you’ll be proud to show online. We’ve mastered one service and do that exceptionally well. 


commercial portrait with logo photography
male business headshot example in office

How Much Do Commercial Headshots Cost?

Commercial headshots can cost anywhere between $89 and $1500 depending on geography, package, and provider.

When considering pricing, remember to look at a) licensing (who owns the photos) and b) retouching fees.

In terms of licensing, photographers typically only give you ownership for photos that you buy from them. This fee is separate from your “session fee,” which just covers the time spent inside their studio.

If you want to use your photos on a press release, advertisement, magazine, or book cover, you may have to pay additional licensing fees.

For retouching, many photographers charge between $50 and $150 per photo. Calculate those fees into your total session cost.

If you’re looking for a less expensive option, there are also Virtual Headshot services that start at $49/photo.

Looking For Commercial Headshot Pricing?

Find the perfect headshot package for your goals and budget below.

Individual Sessions

Headshot sessions for individuals and small groups of up to four people. Make a great first impression with your professional headshots.

Team Sessions

Groups of five or more people. Hourly, half-day, and full day packages available at our studio or at your office location.

Virtual Headshots

DIY headshots done with just a smart phone. It’s not as good as our in-person photography, but much better than a selfie. 

Corporate Plans

Flexible corporate plans that allow you to send employees to our studio for exactly matching headshots or portraits.

Learn more about Gift Cards, Corporate Plans, Event Booths, and Branding Services Below:

Looking For Our Studios?

Book studio sessions using our online scheduling calendar or request an outdoor/group session below.

Or start a website chat to ask a question.