It’s actually quite deliberate, unlike those old family photos where Uncle Albert has chopped of the top of our heads (usually caused by pushing down too hard on the shutter release button forcing the camera downwards…)
First of all it’s my style – It’s how I capture them in camera and helps to distinguishes your image from all of the other headshots out there. I’ve been developing my style of headshot over many years in an attempt to help my clients images stand out from their competitors. Shooting this way helps me to do that.
Secondly I prefer tight crops, especially with headshots, as they add more impact and help to draw people in. My work is all about facial expression whilst keeping in enough chest and shoulders to show your posture. The top of you head doesn’t affect your expression so is surplus to requirements. And people viewing your photo will simply mentally fill it in and not naturally assume its missing in real life. And, as most images are designed to be viewed at a smaller size on websites and online profiles where the space can be limited. cropping this way helps to maximise the available space.
Thirdly I like to shoot in a landscape format leaving some negative space which also helps to draw the viewer in to the subject. We are also more use to seeing things widescreen these days and if you look closely at the tv and cinema this is the crop that is used when directors want to add more drama or impact to a character.
Obviously during a full on headshot session I do shoot a variety of shots with some including all of the head, as well as some half and full length shots. And if you’re still unsure take a closer look at the portrait images that attract your attention and look to see what’s actually missing…