I'm looking for English word which describes the photo of head facing sideways relative to camera.

For example in this mugshot: Mugshot, profile and full face

The right photo is portrait, what would you call the left one? In my native language it's called "profile". But if I say profile photo, people will think Facebook profile photo.

  • 1
    You can refer to it as a Side Profile
    – Aequitas
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 1:38
  • 2
    RE: But if I say profile photo, people will think Facebook profile photo. That depends on the context. There are plenty of ways to disambiguate words with more than one meaning.
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 19:55
  • What an unfortunate choice of picture. That man was a saint.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 13 at 14:31

4 Answers 4


The photo on the left is a "profile", "profile view", or a photo taken "in profile".

And yes, online "profiles" do confuse the issue. OTOH, it's a nice look at language evolution if you think about how an online "profile" is a quick "outline" of the person.

The outline of a profile (the black-paper-on-white-background pieces you sometimes see) is called a silhouette.

Alternatively, in 3D modeling, this view might be called a left or right orthographic view, indicating it is one perspective on the 3D plane.

  • 1
    'Profile view' also might be a common way of referring to this perspective of someone's 'head outline'...
    – Crowie
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 20:28

Firstly, they are both portraits:

A painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person, especially one depicting only the face or head and shoulders


The position of the head relative to the camera is irrelevant.

The one on the left is:

a portrait in profile.


The one on the right I would call:

a front-on portrait

  • I don't think mug shots are portraits....
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 14, 2023 at 18:53

It is called "profile" as well. See, for example http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/profile . It comes from the practice of creating outlines by projecting the shadow of the figure and tracing the outline on the paper, and in majority of cases the figure was positioned so that the nose, lips, forehead were visible. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silhouette or search for "silhouette art profile".

You can also call it "side shot" or "side view".


The first one is called "profile shot" or "side-view shot" It's usually taken to get a clear look of your jawline/nose/etc.

You can learn more about different types of shots on Serif.com.

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