What’s a 3/4″ Portrait in Photography?

Do you know what a 3/4 portrait is? It’s one of the multiple head and body shots you can use when shooting portraits.

This article explains what are 3/4 shots and the difference with a 3/4 view.

It also covers the different crops you can do when photographing a person. Each one with multiple examples to get you inspired.

So once you know the basics of headshot photography, and let’s learn about the three-quarter portrait.

What’s a Three-Quarter Headshot? (3/4 Portrait)

Credit: Anastasiya Gepp

A three-quarter headshot is a type of portrait where the crop is above the knees – around mid-thigh.

When you make a three-quarter crop, you can roughly divide the body into three equal parts. This makes it ideal for a rule-of-thirds composition.

It’s also a useful crop if the model is holding something in their hands, or you simply want to include the hands without having to bend the arms.

For these types of portraits, you should position the camera below eye level but above the chest. Something around the chin is ideal to maintain the subject’s proportions.

Regarding clothing, you should advise your client to use well-fitted clothes. As far as the posing, you should include one photo where they are looking straight at the camera with their arms relaxed on the sides. This might be useful for modeling agencies.

Any other pose you want to include in the portfolio depends on the needs of your client and your creativity.

You might find the term 3/4 portrait when referring to camera angles. Usually, this is known as a 3/4 view portrait.

This means that the model’s head is turned approximately 45 degrees away from the camera showing only three-quarters of the face. This is an alternative to a profile that shows more facial features.

Examples of 3/4 headshots

A silhouette of a man looking out over a city skyline.

Credit: Adil Alimbetov

A man wearing a coat and carrying a suitcase.

Credit: Andrea Piacquadio

Two pictures of a woman with curly hair posing on the beach.

Credit: Sagar Kumar (left) / Ike Louie Natividad (right)

Two pictures of a woman posing in front of a jeep.

Credit: Joyce Dias (left) / Rômulo Carolino (right)

Two men holding hands on a boardwalk with the brooklyn bridge in the background.

Credit: Ketut Subiyanto

Two pictures of a man with sunglasses and a jacket.

Credit: Spencer Selover (left) / Chloe (right)

Two pictures of a man and a woman standing next to a fence.

Credit: Arianna Jadè (left) / Gift Habeshaw (right)

What’s a Half-Body Shot? (1/2 Portrait)

A young woman in a pink dress posing with her hand on her chin.

Credit: Moose Photos

A half-body shot is exactly what it sounds like – a portrait where you capture half the body of the model. It’s not recommended to crop a photo on the joints – so, avoid cropping exactly at waist level. Instead, crop slightly above or below the waist.

This is a great crop, for example, to make landscape-oriented portraits. To avoid cutting the hands in awkward ways, you can pose the person with crossed arms, or play with their hair.

Examples of 1/2 headshots

A black and white photo of a man covering his hands with his hands.

Credit: Khaled Reese

A young man in a plaid shirt leaning against a brick wall.

Credit: Jeffrey Reed

A man wearing a beanie and scarf in front of a yellow wall.

Credit: Clem Onojeghuo

A young woman in a blue and white striped dress is pointing at something.

Credit: Anastasiya Gepp

What’s a One-Quarter Headshot? (1/4 Portrait)

A black woman with afro hair standing in a park.

Credit: Andrea Piacquadio

A one-quarter portrait is cropped at mid-chest, slightly below the shoulder line. This is what most people picture when you use the word headshot.

If the person has long hair, ask them to put it behind the shoulders – this way it won’t look chopped. Clothing is less important as you mostly capture the head.

However, it’s important to consider the color of the jacket or top that they wear as well as the type of shoulder pads, straps, etc. For example, using a topless dress is not a good idea since it will appear as if they weren’t wearing any clothes.

Examples of 1/4 headshots

A man with a beard looking at the camera.

Credit: Andrea Piacquadio

A young woman in a tan jacket is posing for a photo.

Credit: Andrea Piacquadio

A woman with curly hair and a woman with curly hair.

Credit: Croft Alexander / Gu kssn

A collage of a man and a man.

Credit: Rachel Claire (left) / Cottonbro Studio (right)

What’s a Full-Body Shot? (Aka Entire Body Shot)

Two women leaning against a brick wall.

Credit: Godisable Jacob

A full-body shot includes the entire body of your model. If you do this type of portrait in landscape orientation, the background will occupy a big part of the frame.

Instead, shooting in portrait orientation is the most common in full-body portraits as the model covers almost all of the frame.

Form-fitting clothes are important in a full-body headshot because everything is visible.

To maintain the right proportions, you need to make the shot at chest height pointing straight at the subject. If you tilt the camera up or down, you’ll get different effects.

Examples of full-body shots

A woman walking on the beach with a backpack.

Credit: Julia Avamotive

A young asian man leaning against a wall.

Credit: Phil Nguyen

A woman standing on one leg in front of an arch.

Credit: Mattheus Wilkinson Dias Santos (left) / Samarth Singhai (right)

A collage of a man with prosthetic legs.

Credit: Mostafa Sannad (left) / Shotpot (right)

What Other Types of Headshots Are There?


While the four cropping styles I mentioned before are the most common, there are more options.

The most popular one is the close-up shot. With this type of shot, you can really focus on the facial expressions as there are no other distractions.

When you photograph a close-up portrait, you can focus on different things – maybe the eyes, the mouth, or even the eye.

It’s important that you learn where to crop. For example, you can get closer to the subject and cut the upper part of the head but leave the whole forehead.

On the opposite side, you can crop the lower part, but try to avoid the neck line. Otherwise, the cut will look too violent. Another point to avoid is the chin.

Another type of headshot puts the crop midway through the shin. This portrait is almost a full-body shot but it doesn’t include the feet.

Technically speaking, it’s just like shooting a full-body portrait, though. The camera should be at the same level, the posing and clothing are just as important as you show most of the body, etc.

FAQs on 3/4 Portrait Shots

How is a 3/4 portrait different from a Profile Shot?

A profile shot shows the subject from the side, highlighting the shape of the face. In this context, a 3/4 portrait is not referring to the crop. Instead, 3/4 refers to the angle of the head in relation to the camera. It means that the subject’s head is turned 45 degrees. This way, it shows three-quarters of the face, creating a sense of depth and dimension that is not as prevalent in a strict profile view.

What’s the best lens for shooting a 3/4 portrait?

Generally, portrait photographers use lenses with a focal length between 85mm and 105mm for 3/4 portraits. These lenses help create a flattering perspective without distorting the subject’s features and allow for a comfortable distance between the photographer and the subject.

Are there any special lighting considerations for 3/4 portraits?

Lighting can dramatically affect the mood and depth of a portrait. A common lighting setup if you’re showing 3/4 of the subject’s face is using Rembrandt lighting. This is characterized by a small, triangular highlight on the cheek under the far eye.

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