At their best, cartes de visite offer very clear images, much more lifelike than the similarly-sized tintypes, probably due to the shorter exposure times. Subjects seem to be able to compose themselves into a less frozen 'portrait' stance.
Most of the examples from my Nova Scotia collection include the photographer's name and location, and the cartes served as an advertising medium:
Most are pretty formulaic, either head-and-shoulders or standing, often in an oval frame:
On back: Photographs of likenesses of deceased friends copied, enlarged and framed