Classic Headshots vs. Brand Portraits

Branding Tips

Which do you need for your business?

Example of an outdoor headshot

Headshots are what most business owners think of when they consider getting portrait photos done. However, often what they actually need are a series of brand portraits.

Here’s a brief overview of both to help you figure out which ones you might need for your business:


What is a Headshot?

A headshot is a classic portrait photo of you, often from the shoulders up. The primary reason for a headshot is to help people put a face to the name, and it’s perfect to use as your profile photo on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, Skype, and other virtual meeting platforms. Headshots are also great on your business cards and for company team pages where you would like a cohesive look with all staff photos on the same plain background.


The main focus of the image will be on your face. Because of this, headshots have simple backgrounds, such as a studio background or blurred environmental background. Since the attention is primarily on the person, there shouldn’t be anything else in the photo competing for the viewer’s attention.


Headshots generally don’t tell much of your brand story since they have a plain studio or blurred background and don’t include brand-specific props. They also don’t show behind-the-scenes, you working with clients or action shots.

How many photos do you need?

Generally, you won’t need more than a few images, and you can often get by with just one good one. It’s ideal to use the same one as your profile photo across all your social media platforms anyway. It provides consistency and makes it easier for people who follow you on one platform to recognize you on others.

Brand Portraits

What is a Brand Portrait?

Brand portrait photos are a mix of full-body, ¾ body and close up shots of you and can include:

-action shots of you working with clients, interviewing podcast guests, presenting at a workshop or making products

-behind-the-scenes photos

-classic headshots

-casual lifestyle poses

-photos of you with props that help tell your story

-close up shots of your hands working with tools or equipment

-photos of you doing things you love outside of your business


Brand photos can have a variety of backgrounds. They often use locations that help tell your brand story.

For example, you might have your portraits done in your painter’s studio if you’re an artist. The background of the art studio will help tell your brand story and help people understand that you’re an artist.

If you’re a life or business coach, you might choose a coffee shop for your photography session location since that’s where you typically meet clients. Plus, it can help clients imagine themselves sitting across from you at the coffee shop and working with you.

If you’re a holistic healer who has a deep connection to nature, you might consider having your photos taken at a beautiful park.

If you’re getting your photos done at a photography studio, you might choose a backdrop in your brand colours or a themed backdrop that has meaning to your brand.


Another big difference between headshots and brand portraits is that brand photos help tell your brand story by showing clients what it’s like to work with you, giving glimpses behind the scenes, using locations/props/outfits specific to you and your brand, and showing what you like to do outside your business (e.g. hobbies, self-care, family).

Where to Use Them

Brand photos are perfect for your social media feed and stories, lead magnets, ebooks, blogs, newsletters, marketing materials and websites. They’re also essential for helping establish the know-like-trust factor with your ideal clients since brand photos help them get to know you.

How Many Do You Need?

With brand photos, you’ll want anywhere from 10 – 100 images per session. Having a beautiful collection of on-brand images to pull from whenever you need to write a blog post, run a marketing campaign or post on Instagram will save you a lot of time and makes creating consistent content much easier.

Brand Portraits and Headshots in Calgary

Please reach out to me if you have any questions about brand photography and headshots. I primarily serve the Calgary area, but I’m also willing to travel to select locations in Canada too. Or you can learn more about brand photography HERE.


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