We often come across customers who confuse the terms "headshots" and "personal branding" photography when looking to hire a professional photographer for promotional self-portraits. While this mistake is understandable, we want to clarify the difference between the two and provide some tips on how to choose the right photographer for your needs.
A headshot typically shows only the head and shoulders of the subject, as the name suggests. However, it's not uncommon for clients to request headshots only to realize during the photoshoot that they actually wanted ¾ length or full-length body shots.
The second critical difference between headshots and personal branding photos is how formal the subject appears. Headshots usually have the subject staring straight into the camera with a standard pose, while personal branding photos let the subject get creative - looking away, interacting with props, or even doing a happy dance. And let's not forget about the poses: personal branding shoots capture more natural and casual poses compared to headshots.
Now, when it comes to the background, headshots are usually shot in-studio against plain white, grey, or black backgrounds to put the focus solely on the subject. On the other hand, personal branding sessions focus more on the environment and require on-location shoots to capture the essence of the subject's brand.
So, which one do you need? Consider what you'll use the photos for. Typically, headshots are perfect for social media profiles and website bios since they work well with small thumbnails. Personal branding sessions are more elaborate and produce numerous photos, ideal for banner images, advertising, and business cards. If you're a coach, mentor, consultant, or real estate agent and rely heavily on your personal brand, opt for a personal branding session to showcase your brand's diversity. No one wants to see the same photo plastered across every page of your website and social media. Plus, photographers usually include a traditional headshot within personal branding sessions.
Cathy & Jenn of CatsMac Photography, Cobourg, Ontario.