What Is The Difference Between Headshots & Personal Branding Photography?


When it comes to creating a visual representation of yourself, there are two main types of imagery: Headshots & Personal Branding Photos. While they may seem similar, they actually serve different purposes. Headshots showcase an individual, whereas personal branding photos showcase you, your business, & your personality!

If you have a recent Headshot taken by a professional, you’re a step further than most - but did you know that a Headshot is only one part of your visual narrative? With a traditional Headshot, the focus is on you, usually shot from the chest up. In a Personal Branding Session, you delve deep into not just who you are visually, but into telling the story of what you do & why you do it via detail shots, lifestyle shots, photos of you in action, you with your products, etc.

While headshots are essential for creating a professional image & establishing credibility, custom personal branding images make it easy to share your unique story & to show off your personality. As entrepreneurs & small business owners, unique personal branding imagery is particularly important because it sets us apart from the crowd & helps to stand out from our competitors.

As we talk about these two types of photographs, we’ll discover the answer to this question: Do you need Headshots, Personal Branding Photography, or both?

Understanding the Difference Between Headshots & Personal Branding PhotographY:

Headshots: If you’re an individual who needs just a couple of simple photos to use on your LinkedIn profile, to provide to your employer, for internal company use, for an upcoming promotion, etc., a Headshot Session will likely be the best fit for you.

Personal Branding Photography: If you are an entrepreneur or business owner with a growing brand, you may find yourself needing a variety of photos in different settings to use for marketing purposes. If you want to showcase different parts of your business, introduce your team, share your services, & sell your products, a Personal Branding Photoshoot (with a traditonal Headshot or two thrown in!) is going to be a better fit for you.

What is a Headshot?

Headshots are typically used for professional purposes such as LinkedIn profiles, company websites, & business cards. They are simple & straightforward, usually focusing on just the face & shoulders. Headshots are meant to convey professionalism & are usually done in a traditional studio setting using a simple background. While headshots are very important for establishing credibility, they don't necessarily represent your unique personality or tell a story about your brand.

What Are Personal Branding Photos?

Personal Branding Photography is all about showcasing your unique personality & style - they capture the essence of who you are, not just what you look like! It's about showcasing your brand, your story, & your message, & photos like these can be used for a variety of purposes including social media, website content, & more. Branding photography is more stylized, more creative, & you can use the photos from your branding photoshoot to fulfill a wide variety of marketing needs.

As we navigate the modern business world, both headshots & personal brand imagery have become increasingly important. If you’re rebranding, want to build a loyal following, have new inventory/designs, have a blog/social media, or need visual content that attracts your target audience, you need specific imagery that will showcase your unique offerings.

A cohesive set of images unique to your brand is invaluable - it provides you with content that can fill out your website, with headshots of you & your team, styled product &/or lifestyle photos for your marketing campaigns... it’s your very own customized visual narrative!

Example: My client Kara is a financial planner - she had a Personal Branding Photoshoot where we took headshots, family photos, indoor & outdoor lifestyle images, & more for her to use on her website & across her different social media accounts. Click here to see more from Kara’s session!

So, where should you start? Creating a full roster of cohesive images that tells your customer a story is an involved process, & a Personal Branding session differs from a traditional headshot or portrait session in several ways. Since Personal Branding Sessions are far more customized than a Headshot session, there are multiple factors to consider including the location(s), outfits, branding colors, your brand messaging, etc. - these are all things that are planned out beforehand down to specific shots, clothing changes, props, & the smallest details. The possibilities are endless, & each session is customized to best reflect the type of business you run & the message you wish to convey about your brand.

To create impactful personal branding imagery, it’s important to work with a professional who specializes in brand photography. This type of photographer will work with you to create a tailored photoshoot that captures your unique personality & style! The right photographer will help you brainstorm ideas, select clothing and props, & choose a location that aligns with your vision. You may also like this post: The Top 5 Things To Look For In A Personal Branding Photographer


A great Headshot will help you establish credibility online, & a Personal Branding Photoshoot will give you a huge step up as you work to build your business, grow in your career path, & take your marketing strategies to the next level!


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Meet miranda

Hello! I’m a Portrait, Headshot, & Personal Branding Photographer based in Bend, Oregon.