Environmental Headshots vs. Studio Headshots, Boise Headshot Photographer

People often ask me about the pros and cons of environmental headshots vs. studio headshots and why I specialize in the latter. To be sure, a good headshot photographer can make an effective headshot in a studio or on location, but I prefer to be in the studio for making the most effective headshot with the added efficiency and convenience of a studio setting. To understand why, I’ll explain what makes a good headshot and why it’s easier and more convenient to make good headshots in a studio.

boise headshots professional business Matt

What makes a good headshot? A good headshot will make a human connection in a world where human connections are hard to make anymore. In two seconds or less, a headshot has to catch someone’s attention, make a good impression, and if everything is perfect, communicate something human like “I’m fun,” or “I’m cool,” or “You can trust me.” To start, it’s difficult to catch people’s attention at all these days, and when they do, headshots usually stand out for looking bad more often than they do for looking good. If someone does look at your headshot they’ll only look at it for two seconds or less and usually in a very small format, such as a social media profile picture, or a business card thumbnail. The split second first impression will be made by the image quality, as people can instantly tell the difference between professional and amateur photography. If the first impression is good you might catch their eye for another second, and that’s when a human connection can be made if the viewer looks deeper into the eyes and facial expression. Therefore, it’s very important that the eyes are properly lit, the subject has a great facial expression, and there are no other distracting elements competing with the face for precious split seconds of attention.

So what’s the problem with environmental headshots? The most common problem is the background, it’s usually distracting, taking attention away from the eyes and face. When you’re shooting outside in nature or in an urban setting it can be difficult to find a background that is better than the simple white, gray or black seamless background we use in the studio. It can be done, but may require some scouting or some luck to find, resulting in a longer, less efficient session. More often, environmental headshots have really bright green backgrounds, power lines or street signs coming out of the back of the head, or other architectural lines intersecting the face in unpleasant ways. An interesting setting may make for a great environmental portrait, but it usually does more harm than good in a headshot. Outdoor headshots are also very dependent on weather and shooting during a particular time of day when the light is nice, two inconveniences that are avoided with studio headshots.

There are additional benefits to studio headshots that result in better pictures and added convenience. Most importantly, we have total control over lighting in the studio. Light is the most important element in photography and it is especially crucial in headshots and portraits. When it’s done properly, light gives shape to the face, puts a sparkle in the eyes, and flatters the skin. In the studio I use 4 lights with big light modifiers carefully placed to make the most flattering light possible. To take those lights outside into the wind and elements is a much riskier venture that requires a bigger budget to accommodate. People are also more comfortable in the studio and it shows up in the pictures (I've written about this previously here). There are fewer distractions and the privacy helps people to feel less self conscious that other people are watching them pose, which is very common when shooting in public locations. All of this allows me to draw the best out of my subjects more easily when I’m in the studio, saving time while improving the results.

For all of these reasons, my best advice is that there is no substitute for a studio headshot. Yes, you may want to supplement your online presence with environmental portraits and editorial portraits, and there may be certain uses for them (about me page of a website for instance). But environmental headshots will rarely perform as well as studio headshots for the things people most commonly use headshots for, and environmental headshots are generally less convenient and more expensive to make. If you need a headshot in Boise Idaho please get in touch through the contact page here.

Source: https://www.pbheadshots.com/blog/


The short answer is that you need to update your professional business headshot more than you think. The long answer? Your face is everywhere now thanks to cell phones and social media, and while your face is appearing in more and more places, people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Making an impression these days is quite difficult, and it’s a lot easier to stand out for looking bad than it is for looking good. Thankfully, research has shown that people tend pay more attention to profile pictures than most other content on social media. You may notice that you get a lot more likes when you update your profile picture on Facebook than when you make a normal post, and Facebook is not the only social media that gives profile pictures a privileged place (linkedin does the same). 

So what does all of this have to do with when you should update your headshot? Now that your face is everywhere, and it’s basically the only chance you have to catch people’s attention, your headshot is far more important than it used to be. As a result, people will notice how often you update your headshot. Professionals are expected to have an up to date headshot, it’s a part of what it means to be a professional in today’s world, regardless of profession. People will take note of your professionalism and diligence if you update your headshot often. People will also notice if you don’t look in real life the way you appear in your headshot. So keep your headshot as up to date as possible, get a new one every year at least. Find a headshot photographer that makes it easy and affordable to keep your headshot updated. For instance, at my studio we offer a loyalty program offering 50% off a headshot update within one year of buying an “All Business” or “Bosses Only” headshot sitting. Get in touch with us today to book a sitting if you’re in the greater Boise Idaho area. Stay tuned to the blog and @boiseheadshots on Instagram for updates and promotions.

Boise headshots Mark on white


I’m excited to announce that we’ve signed the lease on a new studio in Boise! Soon you’ll be able to swing by the studio and get the best headshot you’ve seen in 30 minutes or less. The studio is located off of Vista Ave between Overland and Kootenai. I’m new to Boise but I think it’s a great location, near downtown but with lots of free parking, it should be convenient for most people in Boise. 

If you’ve never had your headshot made in a studio, I think you’ll find it usually creates a better experience and better results than having me come to your location and set up in your office. I think there are a few reasons why people like the studio more. People generally like to get out of the office, so any change of environment can be energizing and that energy shows in the pictures. The environment is more conducive to making good pictures: we have music, total control over the lighting and backgrounds, and none of the typical office distractions. Most people are rarely in a photo studio so it’s kind of special, and they tend to take it a little more seriously. It’s a lot more private than setting up in your conference room, so people tend to be less self conscious when they’re in my studio and that enables me to get the best out of them. Lastly, it’s more affordable because there are no location fees for coming to the studio.

I’ve updated the address on this site and on the contact page. We’re ready to take on studio headshots and portraits by appointment only. There will be some construction going on in the studio for the next few weeks, but we’ll be able to work around the construction schedule. For now, the studio will be bare bones and essentials. I want to keep it minimal this time around, I really appreciate having the wide open space so I can be as creative as possible. I’ll post updates and pictures once the construction is wrapped. Until the studio is completely ready we’re still waiving location fees, so there’s never been a better time to have me come to your office and update everyone’s headshot at once. Contact us here.


It’s my job to make the best headshots people have ever seen of themselves, regardless of what profession they’re in. Models and actors need very different headshots than lawyers and realtors. Executives need different headshots than musicians. Every headshot and portrait we make at Paul Bellinger Photography is unique to the person and what they need it for. That being said, there are some universal best practices when it comes to making an effective headshot, and you can read all about the general principles of our headshot philosophy on the session information page here.

But given that most of our clients are business professionals I thought I’d mention three things to avoid in a professional business headshot.

1. Don’t try to stand out by using colorful wardrobe, weird angles, or a unique background or setting. The goal is not to stand out by looking different, but to stand out by looking your best. More often than not, trying to get creative with wardrobe or setting will make you stand out for the wrong reasons, looking tacky or worse, looking unprofessional. This is why I recommend business professionals use a white, gray or black background depending on their branding, a tight crop that features the eyes and not the wardrobe, and lighting that flatters the face so the unique beauty of each face is what stands out.

2. Don’t cheap out on your headshot. Sure, we all know someone with a camera and headshots don’t seem that difficult right? Wrong. You’re a professional, you should hire a professional. There is an art to making headshots that stand out for the right reasons and if your photographer isn’t a headshot specialist then chances are good your new headshot will do more harm than good. If you’re a professional, you know how important specialization is, and how big of a difference it can make. Not only will the quality of the headshot be better, the entire experience will be better. Imagine you need a tooth removed, you can have your friend with a nice pair of pliers remove it for free, or go to a dentist and pay a professional price. Either way the tooth will come out, but you’ll have a much better experience with the dentist. That being said, coming to my studio is nothing like going to the dentist. I’ve honed my craft to the point that I can typically make the best headshot anyone has seen of themselves in about 5 minutes in front of my camera. Most people actually enjoy the experience and leave looking good and feeling confident. It’s a good experience and I charge a professional price for it.

3. Don’t put off getting a new headshot. Business professionals in particular are expected to have a current headshot and it’s a sign of professionalism. People often use outdated headshots because they look skinnier or younger, but for a business professional, a great headshot is not about looking skinny or young, it’s about looking like your best self today. Being 10 pounds heavier or 10 years older than you’d like is no excuse for having an outdated or unprofessional headshot. Looking unprofessional is so much worse than looking 10 pounds heavier, and the people that matter are going to be looking at your eyes and the quality of your headshot, not your weight. Think no one will notice that your headshot is 10 years old? Think again. Everything about your old headshot is probably dated, from the wardrobe and hairstyle to the background and lighting. It’s obvious, and it sends the wrong signals. In contrast, staying updated with your headshot shows that you take your professionalism seriously, that you take initiative, you’re ambitious and you don’t cut corners. They say “dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” and the same goes for headshots. Want people to take you seriously? Do everything you can to stand out for the right reasons. An up to date headshot is an easy thing you can do to stand out and with the right photographer you’ll stand out for the right reasons.

For more information about sittings please see our headshot pricing page here. To book a headshot sitting please visit our contact page here.


It’s official, my wife and I are here in Boise now and all moved in to our new house. My wife starts teaching at Boise State in the fall and I am looking for a studio in downtown Boise. I’ll be looking at studio spaces this week and next and will hopefully get moved in and ready to start making Boise’s best headshots by the end of July. In the meantime I am waiving all location fees for shooting headshots on location at your business. For on location headshots I can do as many as 4 to 40 headshots in one day. Stay tuned to this blog and our Instagram account @boiseheadshots for upcoming headshot specials. More updates to come.

This is Cozi’s new headshot! She crushed her “All Business” headshot session and picked out one of her favorites from the white background. I love the confidence in her sparkling blue eyes, and her inviting smile. White is the perfect background choice for an approachable looking headshot because it is clean and doesn’t distract from the face. As a profile picture a white background catches the eye and naturally draws the viewer in to the face because there is nothing else to see in the background. Get in touch with us and we can help you pick the perfect headshot for you and your business. See our headshot information page here.

High End Headshots, Boise Idaho

I'm about to bring high end headshots to Boise Idaho. What exactly is a high end headshot? It's the headshot that sets you and your business apart from the crowd. It's the best headshot you've ever had. It's the kind of headshot that only a headshot specialist can make. If you ask ten photographers to make a headshot for you, all ten of them will say they can do it. That's because most photographers that shoot other genres like weddings, or babies, assume that headshots are easy. But chances are that none of them have actually put much thought into what makes a great headshot. As a result, most headshots out there are lackluster and don't do much for the people that use them. I'm going to change all of that when I get to Boise. I've studied the art of the headshot extensively, with some of the best headshot photographers in the world and I've put years of practice in the headshot studio. As a result, I typically make the best headshot most people have ever seen of themselves, and it doesn't take very long. Most people actually enjoy the experience, it's a lot more fun than people expect. Read more about everything that goes into our headshots here.

Of course a high end headshot is not cheap. It costs to stand out from the crowd. It costs to hire the best. But it pays off too. People at the top know that you usually get a lot more value when you spend more. I've put a lot of hard work into honing my craft to a truly professional level and I charge professional prices in accordance with my skill level. For more information on headshot pricing click here

High End Headshots Boise Pricing

Boise Idaho headshot photographer - we're moving to Boise!

I am really excited to announce that we'll be moving our headshot and portrait studio to downtown Boise Idaho this summer (2017). I will be in Boise soon to start looking for a new studio and to start networking with the creative community so I can put a proper team together. I'm hoping we'll be all moved in by the end of July, but I will start taking sittings as soon as I arrive. I will be shooting headshots and portraits on location until the studio is ready, and will be waiving all location fees until that time. I can set up my headshot studio on location at almost any office, making it very convenient for anyone in your office to get a new professional headshot. Great headshots, group rates, and no location fees, it doesn't get much better than that! Get in touch to see what we can do for your business!