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Should I book a headshot session or a brand photo shoot?

February 13, 2022

Should I book a headshot session or a brand photo shoot?
Should I book a headshot session or a brand photo shoot?
Should I book a headshot session or a brand photo shoot?
I'm Kate!

On the blog you'll find resources to help you plan for your shoot, and manage your growing image library. You can also learn more about me and my previous clients.


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Choosing between a headshot session and a branding shoot depends on three main factors – what you want to cover, how much time you have to spend on it, and what your budget is.

Let’s run through these one at a time to help make the decision a little easier.

Headshots cover the Who

Headshots literally focus on your face. It answers one question and one question only – WHO? The purpose of this type of shoot is to generate a clear and accurate picture of you as a person, at a surface level. Imagine you’re meeting with a potential client in a busy cafe – if they’ve seen a recent, clear photo of you it’s going to be a whole lot easier to spot you in the crowd!

If your immediate image needs are for:

  • your website’s About page,
  • LinkedIn profile,
  • an article you’ve written ,
  • a speaking gig,
  • your email signature, or
  • the occasional Facebook or Instagram post (to remind your followers who they are following),

then a Headshot session will help you tick those boxes. I personally enjoy a headshot that hints a little at the subject’s character, so including a small detail or two never hurts!

Examples of headshot photography, featuring Sarah from Heard Write

Brand Shoots cover What, Where, Why, When, And How

A branding session aims to tell a deeper story. A brand has many more parts than just the person or people behind it, and a branding shoot should show off as many of these factors as possible. For example:

  • What does your business do/make/sell/provide?
  • Where can clients access your products or services?
  • Why do you do what you do? Why is it important?
  • When is your offer going to be useful or relevant to your customer?
  • How is your service delivered? How is your product different from the alternatives?

Examples from a Brand Shoot for Bob + Frank

Every business should have an image library that answers these questions in photos. Headshots are a great starting point, but if you’re looking to tell the bigger story of your brand, then it might be time to book in a branding shoot.

The Time Difference

The time spent on a headshot session is fairly minimal. You’ll need to spend a little while considering what to wear, some time on grooming (e.g. a haircut, or makeup if that’s your thing) and finishing up with the actual photography session of around 30 mins to an hour.

A brand shoot will take a lot more planning time prior to shooting, as it should be both aesthetically on-brand and strategic. You need to consider locations, products and/or props, people to feature (professional talent or not) and more. Coordinating all of these may take hours or even days, so it’s not something you can jump into at a moment’s notice. 

The shooting time for a brand shoot can be anywhere from 2-4 hours for an individual, or multiple days for a larger company.

The Cost Difference

A headshot session with Urban Safari ranges starts at $350 for individuals. It’s a great way to get a feel for professional photography, without a large upfront cost.

Branding shoots for a sole operator or small team sit between $1000 – $2000 and can go up to $4000 – $5000 for a comprehensive story of a larger company in images. The investment is worthwhile, but may require more budgeting ahead of time.

If you haven’t had a professional photo shoot before, starting with headshots is usually a smart move.

Businesses who are just starting out, particularly service providers, will be able to get a website up and running with some new headshots, and kick off their social media presence. Once you’re more established and have a good grasp of what makes your brand different, a branding shoot will be really valuable.

Check out our upcoming Headshot Days for available dates and times:

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I acknowledge the Kaurna people as the custodians of the lands and waters of the Adelaide region, on which I live and work. I pay respect to elders both past and present. I acknowledge and respect the Kaurna people’s cultural, spiritual, physical and emotional connection with their land, waters and community. ♥

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