Are Outdoor or Indoor Headshots Better?

outdoor or indoor headshotsWhen you are prepping for headshots, you might only think of your hair and outfit, but did you know the background could play an important role as well? This decision will set the tone, lighting, color, feel, and many other things you might not have thought about. If you are having a difficult time deciding, we have a few pointers that can help you figure out whether outdoor or indoor headshots are better for you! 

What tone are you trying to set?

Think about where this headshot will be going. Who is your target audience that will see it? What message do you want to send to them? Consider your profession and what kind of clients or professionals will look at this headshot. 

Here are some suggestions on what kind of tone each setting can send: 

Outdoor Tone

  • Casual

  • Fun

  • Fresh

  • thumbnail Nicole Peters 1024Relaxed

  • Unique

  • Creative

  • Vibrant

Great For Those That...

  • work in/connected to the outdoors.
  • love the outdoors.
  • are performing artists.
  • want to stand out.
  • want to more casual feel.

Indoor Tone

  • thumbnail Josh Toms 1024Professional
  • Conservative
  • Traditional
  • Focused
  • Serious
  • Classic
  • Dramatic

Great for those that...

  • work in corporate business, finance, or law.
  • Need to be taken seriously.
  • Want to give off a professional tone.
  • Need a more traditional business card.
  • Needs to match other pictures for a website.
  • Want a transparent background for modern marketing input.

You might relate to some of these or you might not. Maybe you just have a certain place in mind and it just so happens to be indoor or outdoor? No worries! This is not a one-size that fits all. There are a lot of reasons we choose the backgrounds we do. Now let’s talk about picture day! 

Pros and Cons for Outdoor Shoots

When picture day comes, you need almost everything to go just right so that you can reflect that perfect you! We all know how difficult that can be to achieve, especially while using that word: perfect. Let’s go over some things that can happen in an outdoor environment that can help or hinder the process. 

Pros for Outdoor Shots: 

  • outdoor or indoor headshots IINatural LightingSome natural lighting can really make a tremendous difference in capturing that perfect shot. During “The Golden Hour” (sunrise and sunset), the sky and lighting can give you such a unique backdrop that it is hard to replicate or compare to. There are other lighting advantages that can make it truly a one-of-a-kind shot.  
  • Natural ExpressionsResearch has shown that being outdoors brings out our natural side. Smiles and positive expressions come much easier, that is, of course, when it’s not raining! You might find it easier avoiding that fake smile outside.  
  • Unique OpportunityThis can be a standout from the rest of the competition that is doing indoor shots. Study your competitors and see what they are doing and get ready to pivot!  
  • Meaningfulness/ShowcasingIf you work at a location that has a really pretty background, why not show it off!? Two birds with one stone! This is a great opportunity also for realtors to shine doing what they do in front of a house they just sold or property they are proud of. 

Cons for Outdoor Shots

  • WeatherJust this word alone can make anyone with a scheduled outdoor shoot shutter. What if it rains or is really windy? A lot can go wrong here.  
  • Less ControlBeyond the weather, you lose some control when you pick an outdoor location. The lighting is up to the sky. The location might be renovating or crowded. You must be ready with plan b and c if necessary!  
  • Change of ClothesIf you need to change clothes, make sure there’s a bathroom nearby. This is not always an option for outdoor shots. 

Pros for Indoor Shots

  • Options for BackgroundsIt might seem limiting, but with virtual backgrounds, photographers nowadays can make your backdrop look like anything you want! Even the great outdoors! A good option if you had to take a raincheck.  
  • Smooth ProcessSince the photographer will be able to control everything, the process should feel a lot smoother. They are used to their tools and the space in a studio rather than relying on an outdoor venue that might or might not have people to work around or ideal lighting!  
  • FasterHeadshots in a studio go by in a flash (ha ha). With more control over the environment, photographers can get you in and out with no delays for cloud cover or crowds passing through. 

Cons for Indoor Shots

  • GenericIndoor shots might seem very generic and boring. This does not have to be the case, depending on the photographer you use. Talk to them beforehand to see what background options there are and if you could maybe do an offsite shoot in an interesting indoor location to mix it up if you are worried. 
  • UnauthenticRemember picture day at school? Sometimes that memory can be jogged at a photo studio when you are getting new headshots. Smiles don’t seem to come as easily and your expressions can seem forced. Try practicing in the mirror and relax! Professional photographers like Krista and her team at Cincy Photo Pro have a knack for getting a genuine expression out of all the headshots she takes! 
  • Too SeriousThere is a notion that indoor headshots with a traditional background are too stuffy and less approachable. Change that narrative with your expression, clothing, and backdrop. Know what your target audience would be wowed by and what will make you most comfortable. 

Bottom Line for Outdoor or Indoor Headshots

We truly could talk about both location choices all day long. It truly is a decision best left up to the client, as their branding and authenticity depend upon it. Don’t hesitate to ask your photographer questions about all the options regarding location or backgrounds. Check if digital backgrounds are possible. Ask them if they will travel to you. We hope this blog has helped you with your very important choice! 

Looking for a flexible photographer that will give you plenty of options? With Cincy Photo Pro the sky’s the limit! Our studio is in West Chester Township Ohio and we serve the Greater Cincinnati area, Northern Kentucky, and Indiana. Are you a bit farther? No problem! We are willing to travel to get that perfect shot! We also offer virtual backdrops, so you have multiple choices when it comes time to pick! Contact us to schedule your session today! 

Check out or Headshot Reviews!  

“Krista did an awesome job photographing our Real Estate Team! She was creative with the shots and flexible on getting many options for us. We appreciate her work.” 

  • Alison on Google

“Krista made me feel right at home, she was so personable that it was if we had already known each other. I was able to relax and allow myself to enjoy every moment of my photo shoot. Krista is a true professional and was able to capture the best pictures, and the quality of the photos were phenomenal! I would recommend Cincy Photo Pro to anyone!” 

  • Pamela on Google

“This is a must for everyone who needs professional photos! Krista's company “Cincy Photo Pro” is a winner! This fun and engaging photo shoot enabled me to get an assortment of professional headshots for various online platforms and printed materials, such as my biography, resume, and more. What I appreciated most about working with Krista was her upbeat style, knowledge, compassion, and unique ability to create a pleasant, exciting and cooperative experience. She under promised and over delivered- a hallmark of Krista’s work. I encourage the reader to book an appointment with Krista, smile, and get your professional photos taken!” 

  • Eli on Google 

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