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  • Writer's pictureGarrett Thompson

Headshot vs Personal Branding Session: Which to Choose for Your Next Photo Session

Let’s face it… images are needed for a lot of different business and personal applications. Whether that is an online profile, new website or as part of an application, having an up-to-date photograph is a crucial piece of the marketing process.

At Floating Leaf Studios we offer a range of options aimed at providing the exact imagery you need to be successful, and we are often asked which session type makes the most sense for our client’s needs.

Here is a detailed breakdown of the differences between our traditional headshot sessions and our personal branding sessions:

Traditional Headshots

Everyone is familiar with the traditional headshot, which we say resembles school photos in elementary school. 

Typically shot on a solid color background in the studio or with a repeating background outside (bricks, trees, etc), they give the client a couple solid options for their new profile photo or to include on a website.

These sessions are quick and efficient, usually done in less than 30 minutes. The client receives basic posing advice and gets a couple of different options in expression and angle (looking right / looking left). Wardrobe choices are limited to 1-2 different options, giving the client an opportunity to add a sport coat or similar accessory to give some diversity to the images.

The images receive a basic editing in post production, where the photographer balances out lighting and color tones, and removes any stray hairs or blemishes that wouldn’t be there in two weeks.

Traditional headshots are great for employees of the company, where everyone is trying to look uniform for the company website. They are also great for someone looking for a quick refresher to an existing headshot from the past.

Personal Branding

The personal branding session gives the client an opportunity to showcase more of their business or personality while receiving several different types of images from the shoot.

These sessions are usually a combination of studio and on-location images that give context to the client and their business or needs. Props or other items can be added to the images to help tell the story they want to tell, and can give a more personal feel to the images.

Personal branding sessions can last up to two hours and involve more advanced posing and expression that can go many different directions. The goal is to make the client comfortable while giving more life to their images through different angles and posing.

While a client getting a traditional headshot might only receive a handful of final images, a personal branding session can provide a client with 30-50 images from the shoot, giving them more choices when using the images later.

The client has the opportunity to bring a diverse range of wardrobe options and can implement a wide array of clothing and accessory options that make sense to their story.

The images still receive the basic editing in post production, with color and lighting adjustments being included in the session fee. More advanced cosmetic editing is available for other needs, like removal of items or adjustment of clothing color, etc.

Personal branding sessions are great for business owners or entrepreneurs that need a wide range of imagery for multiple uses, like marketing campaigns or entire website designs.


Personal Branding

Generic, traditional 

Specific to your needs

Quick, efficient sessions

More methodical, slower approach

Simple posing

Diverse posing, angles

Few photos

Lots of photos

For use on:

  •  online profiles

  • business cards / websites

  • applications

  • Ideal for employees

For use on:

  • Marketing campaigns

  • Websites

  • Ideal for business owners / entrepreneurs

At the end of the day, the type of session the client chooses will come down to their needs and how they intend to use their images. 

Whether they want quick and efficient, or a more personal and diverse approach to their session, Floating Leaf Studios has the ability to create the perfect experience that leaves them with stunning images for whatever their needs would be.



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