personal branding photography example

Picture Perfect: Choosing Between Portrait and Personal Branding Photography


High-quality images are essential in today’s social media and online presence. To help you understand the differences between portrait and personal branding photography, we’ve created this easy-to-follow guide so that you can choose the perfect photography style for your needs.

Say Cheese! All about Portrait Photography

What is portrait photography?

Portrait photography is a timeless art form that focuses on capturing the essence of people’s faces, expressions, and personalities. The goal is to create visually appealing and emotionally engaging images that tell a story about the subject.


Who’s it for?

Anyone who needs photos of themselves or loved ones, such as family portraits, headshots, or senior pictures.


Types of portrait photography:

  • Family portraits: These photos capture family members together, preserving memories and documenting milestones.
  • Headshots: Used mainly for professional purposes, headshots are close-up photos of an individual’s face, often required for resumes, portfolios, or social media profiles.
  • Maternity and newborn sessions: These portraits capture the beauty of pregnancy and the early days of a newborn’s life.
  • Environmental portraits: This style places the subject in a specific environment, such as their workplace or a meaningful location, to provide additional context and depth to the image.

Techniques and styles:

Portrait photographers use various lighting, composition, and posing techniques to create unique images. Some popular styles include:

  • Natural light: Utilizing sunlight or other natural light sources to create soft, flattering, and authentic images.
  • Studio portraits: Shot in a controlled environment, studio portraits offer precise lighting and backdrop options for a polished, professional look.
  • Lifestyle portraits: This candid approach captures subjects in real-life situations, showcasing their personalities and emotions more organically.
An example of a portrait photograph

Lights, Camera, Brand! Personal Branding Photography Explained

Personal branding photography example
A photograph for the River Surfing Club of Thun

What is personal branding photography?

Personal branding photography is a specialized form of photography that focuses on creating a visual identity for individuals and entrepreneurs. These images help build a strong online presence and attract their target audience by showcasing their personality, work environment, and interests. Personal branding photography tells the story of the person behind the brand.


Who’s it for?

Professionals looking to stand out online with eye-catching images that showcase their personality, work, and interests.


Types of personal branding photography

  • Professional headshots are polished and sophisticated close-up photos used for social media profiles, websites, and other professional platforms.
  • Lifestyle images capture the subject in various situations that reflect their day-to-day life, hobbies, or passions, giving a more intimate glimpse into their personality.
  • Behind-the-scenes shots showcase the work process, offering a sneak peek into the person’s work environment, team members, or creative process.
  • Product or service photos for entrepreneurs showcasing their products or services are vital. Personal branding photography may include images of the products in use or styled to complement the brand’s aesthetic.
  • Themed or conceptual images: These photographs are carefully planned and styled to communicate a specific message, idea, or story that aligns with the individual’s brand values and goals.

Portrait versus Personal Branding Photography: Spot the Differences

Target audience:

Portrait photography caters to a broader audience, including individuals, families, and groups looking for images that capture their essence and preserve memories. In contrast, personal branding photography specifically targets professionals, entrepreneurs, and influencers who need images to build their brands and establish a strong online presence.


Goals and focus:

Portrait photography aims to create visually appealing and emotionally engaging images that capture the subject’s personality, expressions, and emotions. On the other hand, personal branding photography focuses on crafting a cohesive visual identity that tells the story of the person behind the brand, showcasing their work, passions, and unique selling points.


Visual storytelling: While portrait and personal branding photography can tell stories through images, personal branding photography emphasises visual storytelling more strongly. This involves creating a series of shots to convey the subject’s brand message and personality, often following a specific theme, colour scheme, or aesthetic.


Photoshoot session planning and preparation:

Personal branding photography often requires more extensive planning and preparation than portrait photography. This includes defining the goals and objectives of the session, creating mood boards, selecting wardrobes and props, and scouting locations that align with the client’s brand. In contrast, portrait sessions may involve less planning, with more emphasis on capturing the subject’s natural expressions and emotions.


Image usage and distribution:

Images from portrait photography sessions are typically used for personal purposes, such as decorating homes, sharing with friends and family, or commemorating milestones. On the other hand, personal branding photography images are primarily used for professional purposes, such as website banners, social media profiles, marketing materials, and press releases.


Understanding these key differences between portrait and personal branding photography can help you decide which type of photography best suits your needs and goals. It’s essential to clearly communicate your objectives with your chosen photographer, ensuring they understand your vision and can deliver images that truly capture your essence or elevate your personal brand.

Portrait photograph example
Personal branding example photograph
Personal branding photograph example

Tips for Choosing the Right Photographer

Assess your requirements:

Begin by determining your specific photography needs. Are you looking for a classic portrait session, or do you need images to build your personal brand? Understanding your goals and target audience will help you decide whether you need a portrait or personal branding photographer.

Research and referrals:

Start by searching online for photographers in your area who specialize in the type of photography you seek. You can also ask friends, family, or colleagues for recommendations. Word of mouth can be a powerful tool for finding a talented photographer who has already delivered great results for people you know.

Review portfolios and styles:

Each photographer has a unique style and approach to their work. Spend time browsing through their portfolios to get a sense of their style and expertise. Look for a photographer whose work resonates with your vision and preferences and whose images demonstrate the quality and creativity you desire.

Read reviews and testimonials:

Check out reviews and testimonials from previous clients to get an idea of their experiences working with the photographer. Look for patterns in the feedback, such as consistently positive remarks about the photographer’s professionalism, communication, or ability to capture the desired images.
Budget considerations: Determine your budget for the photography session and inquire about the photographer’s pricing structure. Remember that the most affordable option may not always provide the best results, and investing in high-quality images can be worth the expense.


Communication matters:

Reach out to potential photographers and discuss your ideas, expectations, and concerns. A good photographer should be receptive to your needs, provide helpful suggestions, and be open to collaboration. Their communication style and responsiveness can indicate how well you’ll work together.


Schedule a consultation:

If possible, schedule a face-to-face or virtual consultation with the photographer. This will give you an opportunity to discuss your project in greater detail and get a sense of the photographer’s personality and professionalism. It can also help to establish rapport and trust before committing to a photography session.

By following these tips and taking the time to research and communicate with potential photographers, you can increase your chances of finding the right professional who can capture the perfect images for your portrait or personal branding needs.


Now that you know the differences between portrait and personal branding photography, you can make an informed decision when choosing the right photographer for your needs. By understanding what each type of photography offers, you can effectively communicate your vision to your photographer, resulting in images that capture your essence or boost your personal brand.

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