Excuse the wonky bits! I'm refreshing & rebuilding!

The difference between headshots and brand photography

If you’re thinking about booking photography for your small business, I suspect you’ve come across all sorts of terms – headshots, brand photography, personal branding, documentary – how do you tell the difference between headshots and brand photography and decide what’s best for you and your business?

Here’s how I explain it to my lovely clients!

Why do I need photos for my business?

For telling your story! Photos help you to tell your business and personal stories, so the clients you want can find you and book you or buy your products.

At the very centre of your decision making, then, is exactly what you need your photos for, and what you need them to do for you.

Are you trying to get your personality and vibe across on LinkedIn, or are you revamping your entire website and putting yourself out there as the face of your brand?

Do you know your ideal client, and what they would like? Do you need beautiful brochures or regular social media posts? And what is the story you’re sharing?

All these questions will inform what kind of shoot you book – headshots, an introductory brand photography session, or the full works. Or later on, a top up shoot!

Ok, so what’s the big difference between headshots and brand photography?

A headshot session shows you, your face, and your personality in a single photo or series of photos.

A brand photography session goes so much deeper – it includes headshots as part of the session, but there’s a deep dive planning process, real clarity on your messaging, and the resulting images are a bespoke photo library tailored to your brand and your business.

What’s brand photography, or a personal branding shoot?

Two names for the same thing, brand photography and personal branding photography are the commonly used words for a photography session which brings out everything you are and do and stand for.

The end result is a library of stunning, on brand images which perfectly reflect your personality, your business message and your ideal clients.

And it’s fun! Brand photography is more than headshots, although of course headshots feature in your session.

Your brand shoot will show off you, what you do, what you deliver and how you create your own brand of business magic, so you can show your clients right from the first time they discover you.

Starting with the Brand Clarity workbook, followed with a call where we explore your brand and what you’re looking to tell the world together, and then planning your shoot in depth, means I can create a series of images which work well together and show you and your business off in a way that is in tune with who you really are.

And there’s time to catch all the little details, too!

Each of my brand shoots is bespoke to my client – no cookie cutter standard shots here! Of course there are images which are common ground to most entrepreneurs, because they’re useful to have, but yours will have your feel and style to them.

All about professional headshots

Professional headshots are the absolute minimum in terms of photos if you run a business. You’d be amazed how many people don’t have a single photo of themselves on their website.

But people buy from people they know, like and trust – and it’s really much easier to trust someone when you’ve seen their face before you speak to them or spend money on booking them!

An amazing headshot will show you in the right light, appropriate to what you do, and at your best – and will convey your essence to your clients.

You might be nervous of headshots because you’ve previously experienced conveyor-belt corporate headshot sessions, where you’re wearing a suit, forced to smile, and in an office you’re really not that keen on. This is reasonable – those kind of photos are no fun at all!

Even my corporate sessions aren’t like that, and my headshots for entrepreneurs are fun, relaxed and based around your personality – my speciality is making sure you forget to be terrified!

We talk about what to wear and any props you want to bring, and they are short sessions with the intention of getting you two to five shots for your about page, your social media profiles, your business cards, and anywhere you need to show your face.

Are your shoots styled?

Good question – yes and no. Yes, I will whizz round and remove anything which obviously doesn’t fit with your brand and your vision, and I always advise and help with carefully planning wardrobes, props and stories to shoot.

But in all my photography I believe in authenticity and being real – aiming for a polished rather than airbrushed version of you and your business.

So – fresh hair colour, newly done nails, giving your desk a tidy and buying your favourite flowers for your living room for the day of your shoot – absolutely yes.

Full professional makeup when your usual routine is a slick of lip gloss, trying a brand new hair colour or wearing clothes which aren’t what you’d wear to meet real, actual clients – absolutely not.

While I want to create images you absolutely adore and are so excited to share, I believe there is no point creating a version of you or your work in your marketing that doesn’t exist. You want to delight your clients, not confuse them 🙂

Having said that, I am all for locations – you don’t have to have your shoot at home or in your usual workspace to be authentic, and choosing your favourite cafe, hotel or park can lead to some brilliant shots, especially if you do work or meet people there!

And what’s best to choose?

It really depends on what you need! If you’re revamping your website, overhauling or creating your brand, or need lots of social media content, then a brand photography session ticks all the boxes, with a bonus of getting clearer on your vision.

However long you’ve been in business, it never hurts to revisit your core messaging! I’ve also done some very successful shoots with new entrepreneurs and new businesses, where we’ve designed a shoot based around their personality and they’ve built their brand from that. It’s uncoventional but it’s a brilliant way of ensuring you’re at the very centre of your business.

If you’re trying something new, want to update your profile picture, need to pep up your About page or you’re always being asked for a photo to go with your guest posts and appearances, then a headshot session is probably what you need for now. But it doesn’t have to be sensible!

In short, the difference between headshots and brand photography is the depth of planning and the size of the resulting bespoke stock photo library for your business. But both have their place in a well-equipped marketing plan!

If you’d like to talk about magical brand photos or headshots for your business, I’m all ears! Drop me an email and let’s chat!

Or hop on the mailing list and join the free Improper Job Collective – where we all totally get it and we’re on the same journey.

With love & narwhals, because underwater unicorns,

Carla