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  • Writer's pictureJulie Gile

Your Headshot Isn’t Cutting It. Here’s What You Need Instead...

I want you to know exactly where I stand on headshots:

Headshots are not enough.

Your brand personality is not a static, posed image of you from the shoulders up. You’re so much more than that!

Of course, headshots are still necessary - we’ll talk about the time and place for them, in a moment - but the vast majority of people who come to me for a headshot end up needing a personal branding photo session, instead.

What’s the Difference Between Headshots and Personal Branding Photos?

The biggest distinction between a headshot and a personal branding photo is the level of formality.

Headshots are formal, with you looking directly at the camera. This makes the photo eye-catching yet static. There’s normally a plain, white, or gray background in a headshot photo. It’s a very basic way to have your photo taken. Think of this as just a scoop of plain ice cream.

Business Headshots

Personal Branding Photo Session

A personal branding photo can be less formal. You can be moving, completing a task, creating a project, or interacting with other people. There’s a sense of movement and action in a personal branding photo, and the result tends to be a more engaging experience for the viewer.

The goal of a brand photo shoot is to connect with your audience.

Another distinction is the amount of YOU that’s shown in a branding photo. Personal branding pictures take into account your environment, props, tools, and much more. You may not even be looking at the camera, in a personal branding photo, but you’re still capturing attention through the context of the setting and what you’re doing. I use the details of what you do to build your story. Think of brand photos like adding the cone, sprinkles, whipped cream and cherry on top of your plain ice cream scoop. Now we have a full blown sundae :-)

Personal Branding Photography Session | Julie M Gile Photography

When to Use Headshots

Every personal branding session I complete includes some headshots because they’re a standard photo you want to have on hand. If you’re a featured speaker or podcast guest, for example, your host will typically want a headshot to include with promotional materials.

You will also use a headshot on your social media profiles because you want to have an engaging “look” that is cohesive across all platforms and in all marketing materials.

Realistically, you need both headshots and brand photos. I'll make sure we have a cohesive set in your final gallery.

Why You Need Personal Branding Photos

If you're really looking to build the story of your brand, you need a personal branding photoshoot. And what entrepreneur or leader doesn’t want to create an engaging experience in today’s crowded digital marketplace, where everyone's competing for attention?

“Personal branding” is a massive buzzword, right now. You’re constantly being “shopped” online. Your clients or customers are trying to figure out more about you, your brand, and what you’re all about - at all hours of the day.

They might come across your website or social media profile while in the grocery line or at their kids’ soccer game. They’re scrolling quickly and don’t have a lot of time. That’s why it’s so important to convey a thousand words in a picture.

You need to convey your personality and a story through branding photos, plain and simple. That’s how you build raving fans as a small business owner, entrepreneur, or industry specialist. The way you portray yourself online through personal brand photos is a piece of your success puzzle.

And this is how you’ll create real connections with your audience.

Ready to uplevel your stale headshot? Let’s talk through your options.

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