AI vs. Traditional Photography Headshots

By Vijay Singh Katri
April 11, 2024
#AI#Headshot#Professional headshot#Photography
Untitled design 11zon 11zon

The age of digitalization is upon us all, thanks to the power of AI, which has given rise to innovation in those fields that we thought had reached their peak. One such field is the Headshot photography industry. With the implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), the world of photography has once again filled with excitement and skepticism.

Lots of photographers at first thought AI headshots to be a threat to their business, as computers are now taking their clients away from them. But do photographers really need to worry about AI-generated headshots? Well, with this blog, we are going to decode how AI-generated headshots stand in comparison to traditional headshots, which one you need to choose, and what are their pros and cons along with the future. So without waiting adieu let's find out. 

Working Of Headshots

AI-Generated Headshots

These headshots take in the capabilities of complex AI and ML algorithms, which get trained on thousands of perfectly captured headshots. Once this is done, the AI creates parameters that define the color grading, size, and contrast, along with all the other small details that result in awe-inspiring headshots. 


Once the application sets the parameters, all you have to do is feed it with some selfies and pictures of yourself where the face is clearly visible. The AI will scan your image and compare it with the predefined parameters. Then, it starts making changes in the image based on the results of the comparison. The result will be sent to your mail in 60 minutes to 3 hours. 

Traditional Headshots

With traditional headshots, you first need to book an appointment with your photographer to discuss the requirements of the headshot. After that, the photographer is going to tell you to give you some suggestions in order to prepare you for the upcoming session, where they will take your headshots in their studio or some outdoor location according to your requirements. 

Once all the introductory work is complete, the photographer takes your headshots and starts editing them using professional image editing tools. The goal of editing is to remove and reduce all those things that cause distraction in the headshot. This process can take a couple of days or even a whole week. After editing is done, you will receive headshots in the mail, or physical copies will be delivered to your address. 

Pros Of Using AI-Generated Headshot 

Cost:- One of the biggest benefits of using AI-generated headshots is that they are affordable. With online platforms like, you almost get headshots that equal the level of professional photographers without having to pay expensive fees for all the gear, hard work, skill, and experience they bring in. 


Time-Saving:- The whole process of booking a photographer, going to their studio, getting your headshots clicked, and then waiting for them to get edited can end up taking days and even weeks in those cases where the photographer is in high demand. On the other hand, With AI-generated headshots, you just need to upload your pictures, select the plan, write down prompts to define how you want headshots to be, and then, in the next 2 hours, you get the final results. The whole time-taking process is now automated, so instead of days or weeks, you get headshots in less than 3 hours.

Consistency:- When it comes to headshots taken for brands, one of the things that they need to keep in mind is to keep each headshot condition similar to one another. With AI-generated headshots, brands can create hundreds of portraits of their employees while keeping lighting conditions, backgrounds, and all the other necessary elements exactly the same. 

Customization:- When you visit a photographer, you know they have their own set of skills and style which they are going to follow. As a result, when it comes to customizing your headshots you are going to find photographers not able to truly understand what you need. But that’s not the case with the AI-generated headshots. 

With these AI tools, you can provide inputs such as whether you want the image to look more dramatic or formal, whether you want to keep it black and white or add bold colors to it, and more. Besides this, you can even make little changes to your facial features if you want them to be highlighted or reduced. 

Accuracy:- Not every photographer is well-versed in creating headshots that meet the industry standards. But that’s not the case with AI headshots, as they work on a certain set of predefined parameters, which lead to headshots being extremely accurate. 

Cons Of Using AI-Generated Headshot 

Just like how every coin has two sides, in similar fashion AI headshots too have some cons which you must know about before you start uploading your selfies on these platforms. 

Lack Of Emotional depth:- When AI does its magic on your face to make it look better for the headshot, it certainly lights up your facial features to make your face look a bit emotionless. Surely, your face is there, but when you see it closely, you will definitely feel like something is missing. The complete opposite happens in a traditional headshot, and the photographer highlights your features to elevate your facial expressions. 


Ethical Considerations:- With a greater number of individuals moving towards using AI-generated headshots, the internet is facing two big issues, which are privacy and data security. These two are the most pressing concerns for both developers and users. 

As a result, developers have to make sure that the images that are being uploaded can only be accessed by users who upload them. In addition to this, the application needs to first ask users whether they would like their photos to be used for training the AI in a better way. If users opt for no, their images shall never be used, and once the generation of the headshot is complete, the images should automatically be deleted from the application. 

Ai-Generated Headshots And Traditional Headshots Comparison Real-Life Test Results

The future of AI-generated headshots is beaming with potential, with time algorithms that work behind the scenes getting more intelligent with time. Thus, in the coming years, we are bound to see more detailed and natural-looking images from these headshot tools. 

See, if you think AI can replace photographers, then you are not wrong, and neither are you right. Let me tell you why, in our office, we did an experiment. We showed a picture of a person. One group of headshots was taken by the photographer, and the other group of headshots were AI-generated. 


The Outcome

We asked employees to tell us which of these two groups of headshots are more likable. You might be surprised by the answer, but out of 25, 19 people selected the photos that were AI-generated. That, too, after paying close attention to all the small details and pondering over both the group of shots for a while. 

In truth, a normal human cannot differentiate between AI generated headshots and the ones which were taken by the photographer. On the other hand, if you show the same pictures to a professional they can easily find out the difference in just a few seconds. 

Wrapping Up

The world of art is under serious threat from AI; now, you can generate songs from scratch and create art by writing down some words; all of this accumulates to a domino effect, making AI used in almost every single field that we can imagine. If spending a bit of money isn’t going to make you broke, then it would be great to support your local photographers so their business can thrive in such a competitive market. 

Besides this, if you are a fresher or someone who doesn’t want to go and spend 100$ on 

headshots, then AI-generated headshots are the way to go for sure. With AI, the whole landscape of the photography industry is reshaping; the next few years are going to be crucial to see where it goes. So, if you are interested in photography and how AI is being implemented in it, then make sure to follow our blog to keep yourself updated

Till then, always keep a smile on your face, for the camera and for people!!

Related blogs