The primary difference between getting a professional headshot vs brand photography is time and quantity. Of course, it depends on the photographer and what they offer. Typically, a headshot session will be less involved and a lot quicker than a branding session. My headshot sessions last from 60-90 minutes. I usually showcase 20-30 images, and people choose 6-10 final portraits.
Brand photography will supply a marketer with a generous amount of imagery to use for their business outreach. I take each client through a branding process and deliver 50-60 final photographs. Therefore, more time is required before the photography begins. On the day of the photoshoot, the session can last up to 5 hours.
When a business becomes a brand
A business might begin the day you officially get your license. However, the brand begins the moment you make your first transaction or the day you announce your first 30-sec elevator pitch. The brand then develops through the clients you work with, and all people you associate with on a professional level. The evolution begins with how others feel about you based on how you've worked with them and how you present yourself as a business professional and a leader.
A great headshot, as well as brand photography, will positively influence your brand. People want to do business with real people. Without the visuals to illustrate who you are and how you do it, you're not making a bold impact. For someone who has not met you in person, not having those visuals may give them the impression that you are new or not serious about your business.
How a Headshot Influences your Brand
A great headshot establishes your personal brand. All business owners need a professional headshot. If not to show people what you look like, then to make yourself appear more professional. If you present yourself with a professional portrait, others will see you more seriously. The right headshot will put the face to the brand. It will also make you more approachable and more hireable.
How you present yourself in your headshot is critical. A headshot is successful when you know what you want to accomplish and who you want to attract. Nuances from your smile to your wardrobe make a difference. To understand more on this topic read my blog on the Anatomy of an Effective Headshot.
How Brand Photography Influences your Brand
Personal brand photography is storytelling developed with lifestyle photography showing you as the star of your own business. This process is more involved, and a qualified photographer should know ahead of time what their client's goals are, what makes them unique, and who they want to attract.
As a brand photographer, I begin walking every client through a procedure to understand their brand persona and how they want their audience to feel when they first see them. I put together a blueprint that helps me create a key shot list based on the editorial stories they want to tell.
These types of portraits are intended for illustrating narratives about your brand story. The primary purpose is for content marketing utilized on social media and email marketing. However, they can be used in every facet of your marketing. They will become your own personalized portfolio of authentic stock imagery. Brand photography is an excellent way to connect an audience to a brand on an emotional level. Overall this will create more followers and loyal customers.
Headshot vs brand photography, which should I get first?
How you plan on marketing yourself will help you to determine where to begin. If you primarily get leads from referrals or by utilizing Push Marketing tactics, such as print ads or GoogleAds, then you probably only need a headshot. If you only post on social platforms occasionally then you're not making enough of an impact on your audience to get new customers. Therefore, you have to decide how and where you want new leads to come from. If you are relying solely on referral marketing then you may only need a headshot.
Personal brand photography is for those businesses that are utilizing social media and Pull Marketing tactics to draw in an audience. Content marketing is storytelling. Brand photography will give you everything you need for your marketing. That includes great headshots. You will also get many editorial stories, in different orientations, to illustrate your message. The intention is to target your brand towards an ideal client. There will be more of an investment but your ROI is probably greater than with a headshot. Typically, you are given enough content to consistently post on social media for 6-12 months.
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