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Headshot or Personal Branding Photography?

Whats the difference and why does it matter?

We all know that using an image of yourself on social media or business profile can allow you to gain attention, encourage trust, and convey your personality.

A headshot is a very powerful way to stand out and communicate who you are visually in a way that words cannot. Whoever you are and whatever field you work in, the way you visually brand yourself is an essential part of your business success. But what is the difference between a headshot and personal brand photography?


Headshots, as the name suggests, are photos which typically show a persons head and shoulders. Headshots are often used with CV’s, on websites, business cards and for online profiles. Headshots can come in different styles such as formal or relaxed, corporate or creative, serious or fun and can take place indoors or outdoors with natural or studio lighting. They are often a more straightforward photoshoot with one or two outfit changes and a single location or background. The aim is to create a small number of professional photos to depict your professional image.

Personal Branding Photography

Personal Branding photography is a lot more involved. They aim to showcase your personality and elevate your brand and help to tell the story of you and your business. It often involves creating a variety of portraits and professional looking imagery to use in your brand communications over social media and on websites. These sessions might involve multiple locations, outfit changes and set ups. Often a photographers will take the clients through a brand questionnaire and offer style consultancy as part of the package.

“Do I need headshots or personal branding photos?”

Now that you understand the technical differences between headshots and personal branding photos, you might want to ask yourself: “which one is right for me?”. The main things to consider are…

What are you using your photos for?

Generally the goal of a headshot session is to capture one or two flattering images for use on social media profiles or the “about” section of a website. Headshots work perfectly for these platforms because the closeup crop works well with small thumbnail images.

Personal branding sessions tend to take a lot longer and are much more involved but they produce more photos, sometimes with multiple locations, wardrobes and backgrounds which can be useful for having a diverse array of content.


Costs for the two services can differ quite a lot because of the involvement in terms of consultancy and communication and the overall length of the session or sometimes sessions. If personal branding isn’t in your budget then having few headshots can be a good place to start!

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