Photo Critique: Corporate and Business Headshots

Learn how to improve your business portraits, corporate headshots, and environmental portraits in this live critique show as Karl reviews images submitted by members.

Offering his feedback on each of the images submitted, Karl highlights the positives as well as shares some tips and advice for improvement. Throughout the critique Karl offers advice on everything from working on location with mixed lighting, to positioning and posing people and what to charge for business portraits.

Karl also discusses why attention to detail is so important and shows some simple Photoshop fixes and retouching techniques that can easily be applied to enhance these types of headshots.

Topics covered in this show include:

  • Business portrait photography tips
  • What makes a good business portrait
  • Location photography & shooting with mixed lighting
  • How to position and pose people
  • Composition tips for business portraits
  • Retouching techniques for business portraits

Many of these points are covered in more detail throughout many of our business portrait classes. We also have a complete course on environmental portraiture and shooting on location.

To see our upcoming live critique shows, please check our live show schedule. You can also find all of our past critique shows here.


  1. Karl, in the photograph by Ryan Boswell, which you noted was from a masterclass, the subject’s pupils were widely dialated, indicating that she was actually in a dark room—unless she was on some kind of medication. It looked very odd.

  2. Thanks again Karl for your comprehensive critiques. I have learned a lot from them. In this headshot critique, I’ve notice that some photographers shoot people with a low-camera position shooting upwards while others shoot at eye-level or sightly higher than the subject’s face pointing downward. Is there a standard for business photography or would the camera position be determined by what enhances the subject overall?

  3. I don’t use them, but facial touch-up panels seem to be a good tool when time is short. The downside is letting the app do what it pleases. There is always the opacity slider to regulate the input of the panel. Learning a lot.

  4. Thanks so much for the feedback! My first real portrait shoot done in February 2020 right before the lockdown. Since joining KTE this past month, I’ve learned so much I’m eager to do a reshoot. Appreciate the comment about seeing a bit more space on the left. I think I had the softbox super close, but I probably could of expanded in photoshop. I’m going to see if I can add just enough to give the allusion of more space on the left :). Thanks tons!

  5. Karl,

    Thank you so much for critiquing my photo of Chef Syre. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t catch the wire over his head. Ugh! Yes, a very quick fix, indeed. I’m actually fairly proficient at Photoshop and was able to make the edit in about 1 minute.

    This photo is 2 years old and I hadn’t looked at it in a long time, which is no excuse, I know. But I do remember spending some time getting a bunch of specs off his jacket and a few other things in the photo. If I get caught up in one part of the photos, I do sometimes miss other little details that may be there.

    Thanks again! This photo is one of my very favorites (and one of Chef’s!) and I appreciate the feedback on it.


  6. Hi Karl, quick question as I missed the live show. You talk a lot about burn & dodge and liquify corrections, which I’m more than able to carry out, however, is it not the case that you need to keep as true to the subject as possible? I’ve recently undertaken a head shot & creative shoot for a client and held back from making too many corrections. In one of these shots you even slimmed down one chap, which I would have never even considered before.

    Really love your education platform, have learned so much in the last 3 years. Thanks Karl.

    1. Hi Jason, thank you. I think I covered in the show my thoughts on the right and wrong of the levels of retouching and the reasons it is necessary, it was around 7min 20sec in. I also covered how human visual perception in real life is very different to how we see people in photos and why, those explanations should hopefully provide the answers to your question. The larger guy that I slimmed down was more of an example than saying this is what you should do.

  7. The thing that amazes me about these critique classes is how it is clear that Karl REALLY analyzes every single photo and takes the time to sort of “reverse engineer” the lighting in his mind and explain what was done right and what needs improvement on every single shot. I appreciate that Karl really cares if you learn something no matter if you are a beginner or a professional. His passion for this shows.

    As an example Karl commented on all 4 light positions, the subject’s hand position, the gels i used, and even guessed correctly the occupation of the subject correctly (hotel manager).

    I only got to see about 20 minutes live can’t wait to see the rest when I get home. Thanks Karl for the class and the critique.

    1. Thanks Ryan much appreciated. Are you working as a full time professional photographer as that was really great lighting control and consideration? All the best Karl.

      1. Yes off and on for the last 2 years now however I’ve been a student of the field for over 20 years as my hobby. First I shot non profit events for about a year but now I’m getting a chance to use other skills and your site has helped me tremendously.

        I’ve seen a lot of content over the years and this stuff is gold. Keep up the great work sir.

        1. Thanks Ryan, well certainly based on the work you put into the business portrait image you have an eye for it. Cheers Karl.

  8. Thank you so much Karl for your feedback, you’re absolutely right, dodge and lightening the face made it better.

  9. Thank you so much Karl, really appreciate the feedback! Just starting out with portraits and that hero/supporting cast analogy is a great one to keep in mind — my Dad is quite a ham, and he def doesn’t want to be upstaged by his workshop tools lol! Thanks again for taking time to do all those reviews, really helpful 🙂

  10. I crushed the blacks too much, the image looked ok in RAW file, I don’t know why I did that, thanks for pointing that to me. It’s the first time for me to make such stupid mistake.

  11. It’s ver strange to see the portrait like that, I just saw it cause I joined the live late. As soon as you opened it I noticed it’s too contrasty. I used a macbook pro but I just have no idea why it came out like that.
    My iMac was broken and just bought a new one, I’ll check it on this new machine and make some adjustments. Thank you so much for the critique.

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