The Best Background For You

The color and texture of your headshot background will affect the look and feel of your headshot or portrait. A background can make you look approachable, serious, professional and more.

It’s important that you consider who will be viewing your headshot and the message you want to send. A headshot for a business professional often sends a different message than say, the headshot for an actor who wants to be considered for a specific role.

At The Headshot works we use both smooth seamless, hand painted canvas and natural backgrounds to get you the visual feel you’re looking for.  Let’s take a look at the background options that are available to you.

Classic Dark-Gray

This is the “go-to” color we use for many of our primary headshots. Gray is a neutral color which allows it to compliment most any color of clothing or hair. And, it can be used for a wide range of situations. Dark-gray backgrounds send a message of professionalism and gravitas. It is perfect for executive headshots and professional service headshots for doctors, lawyers, engineers and investment professionals. Dark-gray also works for LinkedIn, corporate websites and many social media platforms

Classic Dark-Gray


A very popular and versatile background is the classic white. You see white used frequently because it works in so many situations. The white background is upbeat and modern. It projects a dynamic and energetic feeling.

The white background enjoys the same advantage as gray backgrounds; it combines easily with any color hair or clothing. It also tends to make the subject (you!) pop off the screen or page.

We find that many of our clients choose the white background for websites where the headshot will be used in order to match the look of other headshots on the page.


Using a black background is the way to make a dramatic statement with your headshot. A black background draws the viewer’s eye toward the subject (you!) by creating a wide contrast in color and brightness. This is especially true for clients with lighter hair.

The black background will grab the viewer’s attention and create an aura of seriousness and gravitas in the headshot. This makes it perfect for executive, legal and medical professional headshots.

Black background is a timeless choice that emphasizes your attire and expressions. For those in creative fields, we suggest opting for a black background as it provides a canvas for a more dramatic and emotionally compelling feeling.

The Glow

The Glow background is a lighted backdrop with a graduated fall off. It’s a choice you can use to add a level of excitement to your headshot. It can give your headshot that little extra boost by creating a feel of animation and movement.

The Glow background can be noticeable or very subtle. Either way your headshot will generate a increased feeling of energy and movement. The Glow background says that your headshot has been created by a professional photographer suggesting that you care about your appearance and personal brand.

The Environmental Setting

To create a friendlier, more natural look to your headshot consider going outdoors for your headshot. Shooting in your environment makes you appear more approachable and confident. Choosing a location that supports your personal brand can boost the value of your headshot by suggesting to the viewer the environment most associated with your career and personality.

Hand Painted

Many top photographers use hand painted backdrops in their portrait work because they deliver a warmth and richness beyond the seamless paper that’s commonly used. Hand painting inherently makes each background unique giving each photographer a unique look in their photos. This distinctiveness attaches to you, the client, and helps your headshot portrait stand out. We love our hand painted backdrops here at The Headshot Works.

On Demand Backdrops

Hot new digital photography tools give your photographer the ability to change the color of your background quickly. This is a tremendous benefit when you’re trying to match your wardrobe to the background.

On demand backdrops make it easy to match the headshots on existing company websites. We often get business professionals who recently joined a new company and need a headshot for adding to the company’s “Executive Team” web page. We can now easily sample the “team” page background color and provide a match.