Headshots or Brand Photos: What’s the Difference?
Headshots and brand photos are two terms that are often used interchangeably by people (myself included!) but in reality, they’re two different things and are used in two different marketing strategies.
Traditionally, a headshot is a formal posed portrait that is most often used as an online profile photo or business card image. The subject is usually looking at the camera so that they are clearly recognizable.
Professional headshots make fantastic social media profile photos and business card images because the subject’s face is large in the frame and looking directly at the viewer. They are especially useful for actors and musicians, professionals in traditional outside sales, job seekers, executives in large corporations, or company employees who need their image on name tags or business cards.
Brand photos are a group of images that tend to be more casual and don’t require the subject to always look at the camera. They are intended to shine a light on the subject’s unique personality and extend the business brand via images to “feel” a certain way. (Examples shown below.)
A good brand photo session should include a good mix of both headshot style images and casual brand images. A consultation with your photographer prior to your session is a good idea and will help make sure your photos meet your marketing needs!
Brand photos are most effective when used with a personal brand strategy which means connecting with your audience (usually on social media) at a personal level and showing your face regularly! Brand photography works especially well for solopreneurs and small business owners who take a personal approach to marketing.
Kate is the owner of Kate the Socialite, a marketing firm that services interior designers, organizers, home stagers, and other home industry professionals. We did two different “looks” for her latest brand photos. As you can see, we have a mix of slightly more casual images, paired with a couple of formal headshots and some “detail” images where her face isn’t in the image at all! This gives Kate flexibility and additional custom content to sprinkle throughout her website and social media feeds that goes beyond the traditional headshot!
Because “headshots” and “brand photos” do tend to get mixed up or used interchangeably, it’s important to discuss expectations with your photographer in advance. (Just like you have a conversation with your hairstylist to strategize the “coming-out-of-COVID” haircut you want before she starts in on the transformation!) Looking through the style of images in your photographer’s online portfolio can also be helpful. I always encourage my clients to send me a Pinterest board so that I can get an idea of where their head is at and I create a custom “shot list” of images in advance so that I don’t forget a particular creative angle or setup!
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