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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?
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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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