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  • FAQ: What’s the difference between Headshots and Portraits?

    When booking clients to shoot at my photo studio I am often asked, “What’s the difference between Headshots and Portraits?” Both are listed under “services” on but the differences can be often missed. To help you decide which you are interested in when calling to book me, here are my top 3 differences between the two… First, “All Headshots are Portraits, but, all Portraits are not Headshots”: Headshots generally, when framed in editing, are not cropped below the bottom of your sternum, commonly referred to as your breastbone, or bust line at the lowest. It is simply a shot of your head and shoulders or your head, shoulders and chest. This really allows those for whom you are shooting, people seeing your business card or website, LinkedIn, agents, auditions, etc, to really get a good view of you and see into the “windows of your soul”, your eyes. Full body Portraits do not, at times, account for the intimacy of Headshots and something can be lost while trying to make a connection with the subject of the photo. Potential clients, contacts, or people hiring you want to see your face and, yes, judge it. They want to see you and you alone, sometimes with you physically being unseen in person, and decide, “is this someone I want to work with?” Second, “Portraits can allow you to bring the drama“: Lighting, props, positioning, cropping, posing, background, spiciness… in Portraits, nothing is off limits. In Headshots, you and you alone are the feature, so everything else is put to the side and you stand out. In Portraits the entire picture itself is the feature. You are trying say something very different in a Portrait shoot than a Headshot shoot. While it’s true in both you want the person looking to feel something, the range of feelings is much wider in Portraits than in Headshots. While you want to convey trust, confidence, and even competency in Headshots, Portraits could invoke anger, love, allure, humor, or a just plain “wow, that’s a cool shot” among just a few reactions. Finally, “Headshot shoots are usually shorter in length than Portrait shoots”: Headshots are generally pretty short in time to shoot, sometimes as short as 10-15 minutes. Portrait shoots can stretch out much, much longer depending how many looks, poses, and amount of photos are required. I will say headshots for “entertainment”, most often for auditions or your portfolio, also can stretch out, but this is commonly one of several crossroads that inspired me to say originally that “All Headshots are Portraits, but, all Portraits are not Headshots.” Most clients in the market for Headshots are looking for “Bing, Bang, Boom, everyone leaves the room” while Portrait clients are looking for an artistic collaboration that often extends the time spent shooting. Sometimes even to the point of requiring… a snack (which I provide depending on the type and time spent shooting) Can you tell the difference now? Hopefully, this is helpful when you call and alleviates some of the confusion when booking me. If your next question is “do you prefer one over the other?” I would have to say I enjoy the brainstorming and time spent shooting Portraits to shooting Headshots but honestly, one is not “better” than the other. Any time spent in my studio with my clients is time well spent to me.

  • Not Ruff at all…

    Portrait Photography isn’t always a “human” affair. While W.C. Fields warned to “Never work with children and animals” I ignore that advice when it comes to photography. Lake Wales FL’s own “Jethro” Murphy stepped out of the shadow of his sister “Ellie May” and posed for his very own photo shoot. I’m not sure if it was the fame of his solo act or the Turkey snacks but he was a goodboy and put on quite a show. His “human mom” ordered a 16 x 10 wall art print and I believe Jethro celebrated all the attention… with a nap. Although I’m based out of Lakeland FL, Alan Rolette Photography takes its “show on the road” from our photo studio when the call comes in. Bartow, Mulberry, Lake Wales, wherever, is not too far for a canine or human portrait star. Everything shot here was all shot in the comfort of Jethro’s very own home. “Reasonable and Relaxed Photography” is what I promise and sometimes it’s just easier to bring the mountain to the fur baby Vs. bringing the fur baby to the mountain. Take some time and create a memory. Contact me and book your very own portrait shoot for you, your family, or yes, even your pets.

  • Favorite Local Spots

    FAQ: “Besides your studio in Lakeland, where are your favorite places for sessions?” Based on times of day and the heat index… I do have my favorites. Lake Mirror, Hollis Gardens, and Munn Park/Downtown Lakeland. Lake Mirror offers everything you could want in a picture: open skies, water, greenery, and a skyline of downtown Lakeland. They even decorate at Xmas with a Xmas tree big enough for the largest group. I have shot countless senior portraits, family portraits, and couples photos here and it is a “can’t miss”. Hollis Gardens allows us to explore our more creative side. There are multiple gardens, statues, steps, fountains, and so much more that regardless how serious or fun we brainstorm your portraits will be, there is a space there that fits the bill. Munn Park/Downtown Lakeland is a classic. Usually shot on a Sunday morning (early), all of downtown is our artistic playground with railroad tracks, park benches, arches, storefronts, brick, and even gorgeous wrought iron. Munn Park is generally thought of as crowded as it’s beautiful and lively throughout the day and into the night, but early Sunday mornings there is a window to make portrait and headshot art. Lakeland and Polk County is filled with wonderful and picturesque backdrops for any and all photography but in my decade here as a professional photographer, these three are my favorites.

  • About Me

    I’m Alan, the owner, photographer, chief cook and also bottle washer of Alan Rolette Photography. I’m old… I feel like I have lived a hundred lifetimes. I’m originally from Ohio, I’m a Navy Veteran, I was a teacher for 16 years, I have worked in finance, I have been in several terrible music bands both singing and playing guitar, I spent a number of years in medicine, I’m a father of 3 human children and 2 fur babies (one of whom is a stalker and the other has an attitude and potential drinking problem), and most proudly the husband of my beautiful wife for the last 32 years. I am a national and internationally published photographer. I have also been exhibited nationally and internationally. That is the “Art” side of my business. I have even won an award or two. But honestly most of my time and energy is spent servicing my customers and capturing images for their businesses, families, events, and lifetimes. While I have lived all around the country, I have been in Lakeland for 27 years and have been an independent freelance photographer, with my own business, for the last 9. It’s fun to own your own business… BUT, it’s way more fun when you have clients to serve and that’s where you come in. Offering high quality photography at a great price means nothing without you. My motto is: “Reasonable and Relaxed Photography”. My prices are reasonable (compare them to any professional) and the atmosphere is relaxed (you can probably tell after reading this). I shoot both in my studio and also on location. I have traveled far and wide in the United States to photograph smiles and events. When you are in my studio, you are in my home and treated as such. You’re my guest AND my customer and you will leave with a smile on your face and photos that will last your whole life through. I’m both honored and humbled you are giving my modest business a look (and have gotten this far on the “about me” page) and will work my heart out for you and your photographic happiness

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