male & female headshots

When it comes to taking the perfect headshot, the first and most important thing to consider is the subject. There is no rule in photography that dictates how male or female headshots should look but perception is everything and when someone views your headshot, you will want to convey the right message. It is therefore the job of the photographer to capture you in your best light and create the right first impression.

So what differentiates male headshots and female headshots? The answer is that there is no real difference and people will make judgements based on what is in front of them. There is nothing to say that women or men are perceived differently than one another in their headshots. However, judgements can and will be made of both sexes which is why it is important to consider a range of factors when having a headshot taken.


Photographers will often use lighting to accentuate the best features in both male and female headshots. This can often be done by using lighting that is from above, pointing downwards on the subject which helps to cast subtle shadows under the chin, emphasising the jawline of the individual and helping to mask any double chins. Sometimes secondary lighting can be used from the side to again help accentuate the jawline in men and highlight hair in women. This works particularly well on darker coloured hair as it creates more detail within the headshot. Ultimately however, men and women are anatomically identical and so lighting will be used not based on sex or gender but instead to highlight the best features of the individual.


When it comes to male and female headshots, backgrounds are one of the most crucial elements and can completely change the impact of the photo. There are no particular coloured background that work best for either men or women and instead it is again, based on the individual. Generally neutral backgrounds such as grey, white and black work well in all headshots and photographers will take into account the available lighting, skin tone, hair colour, eye colour, makeup, clothing and more to decide which background will best complement the subject. In cases where headshots will be used in a corporate setting, backgrounds will be kept the same colour for all employees to create brand consistency.


Posture is not a sex or gender specific trait, it is something specific to the individual and this will be communicated in any headshot. We are all guilty of slumping and slouching when sitting and even standing which is why any good photographer will know how to help create a pose in which your posture conveys the right message. If for example, you looking for a professional headshot you will want to naturally appear professional, confident but also friendly and approachable. It can be difficult for both men and women to know exactly how stand and pose for a headshot as neither wants to appear too reserved or too intimidating. Your photographer will always be able to guide you into the ideal stance to create the best image of yourself whilst showing your true personality.

Ultimately, when it comes to male and female headshots there is no real difference, there are only good and bad headshots and sex/gender does not play a role. Ensuring that you are using a highly skilled and experienced photographer is the only way to ensure you will create the best headshot possible.

Get in touch

At Just Headshots, we endeavour to create natural headshots for both men and women for individual use, SME’s, corporate and large enterprises as well as government and public sectors. Get in touch today to discuss your next headshot project on 0800 304 7375 or 07989 471926. Alternatively you can message us through our contact page.