What is the difference between headshot and brand photography?
Posted on 7th February 2022 at 16:07
What will your photos be used for?
Questions to ask yourself are firstly, do you need a photo for LinkedIn or social media profiles where you need to get your personality across? Or are you revamping your website or doing a re-brand? Maybe your want to create beautiful brochures or do a sustained social media campaign? If you are not sure what you need for your website and marketing photos then read on.
1. What photos do you need?
All these questions start to form a picture of the type of shoot you require. So what is the difference between headshots and brand photography?
Firstly the term brand photography is simply a label – you may have heard the expression personal branding photography or website photography or social media photography.
They are all essentially different terms for a wider, more in depth photography shoot than a headshot session.
The skill of a professional photographer is not in simply taking a photo, but in understanding what the photos will be used for, who they need to communicate with and what the photos are trying to say.
2. Why headshots?
Headshots show your face and your personality. Professional headshots or profile pictures, are the minimum that anyone in business needs. The egg head or blank social media profile doesn’t generate confidence in potential clients or connections, no matter how inspiring your posts.
The old expression, people buy from people, and the ‘know, like, trust’ mantra is helped if the About Us section of a website has faces. I don’t know about you, but I always look people up before I meet (and sometimes before I call) them so that I know who I’m looking for and what to expect.
Great headshots do more than identify you. They give off a vibe, people read into them. As a result, a selfie or a photo from a wedding or holiday just won’t do!
Look at my tips for acheiveing great headshots.
3. How do you prepare?
For any type of shoot, you will need to think about clothes. Formal, informal, colours or patterns, etc. I usually suggest a range from formal through smart casual through casual…depending on what you are trying to say with your photos. Don’t bring a tie if you never wear one, and don’t wear anything you hate yourself in!
Your photographer should guide you on this. On the day itself, everyone is nervous…you are not alone in hating having your photo taken. Mercifully, headshots photography sessions are relatively quick. I take around 30 minutes. I also direct my clients so they don’t feel like spare parts not knowing how to hold themselves or what to do….it can even be fun!
4. Is there more planning for a brand shoot?
The difference between a headshot session and a branding or website shoot is the amount of pre planning and the length of the session.
These longer, more in depth sessions should consider who your target market is, what your message is and what you will be using the images for. This might come easily to you if you have worked on your brand and messaging, but sometimes it needs more thought and consideration. Your photographer should help tease this out with you, so then they can start to visualise the photos that they will create.
The result should be a library of images bespoke to you and your business. This will include headshots but really tells the story of your business – how you work, what your messages are – visually connecting with your audience. They can be used over time, in different situations and different mediums.
5. What do I need to do for a branding shoot?
Things to think about, as well as clothes, are where the photography will take place. Location is important as it is more than just a backdrop. It says something and conveys a feel. In discussion with your photographer you may brainstorm or storyboard multiple locations.
They could be your home office, a posh hotel or a groovy café where you meet clients. You may be an outdoors person and so showing this side of you is important to you. It depends on what you want to say – consider props and people for the photos as well.
If you have products rather than a serviced based business, then visioning a lifestyle shoot to sell the essence of your brand is key. This will involve styling, location, props and probably people.
All these elements should be discussed with your photographer as they will be instrumental in organising the shoot with you.
Deciding on what type of photography you need
So essentially the difference between headshots and brand/website photography is the planning, the place and the people. The output is also different. With headshots for example I offer three images, but for the branding sessions you get a library of photos. You get more from the latter and you can use the photos in different ways, over time. Both are needed as part of a good marketing plan!
In the end it really boils down to what you need. If you are revamping your website or your brand, or need social media content, then a full branding shoot is for you. If you have changed hairstyle, lost weight or developed your personal style it may be that updated headshots are what you need in the first instance.
If you are unsure, do get in touch for a chat and I can help you work it out. My 'what to expect' guide is free to download at the bottom of my commercial photography page, which you might find helpful as well.
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