How to Prepare for Your Personal Branding Photo Shoot

branding Feb 22, 2017

If you can only do ONE thing to improve your visual brand, it should be professional head shots. Professional headshots can make the difference between you being perceived as lacking credibility, to being THE person who your ideal clients trust and want to work with.

As a service-based solopreneur who is the face of your brand, you don’t want just any professional head shot however -  you want personal branding headshots.

Unlike stuffy corporate headshots where you’re posed in an awkward position with a gray backdrop, your personal branding head shots should capture different facets of your personality and be shot at various locations.

Below I’ve laid out exactly how to prepare for your personal branding head shots to ensure your photos align with your brand and can be used across your brand’s many touchpoints.


You are the face of your brand, so you’ll want to capture many different expressions of your personality to use in various contexts across your brand.

For example you might use your headshots in blog posts, newsletter articles, social media posts, website headers, and promotions for talks and webinars.

Let’s say you’re a business coach who is posting a blog about “How to Banish Overwhelm as a New Entrepreneur” - wouldn’t it be cool to include a picture of you looking “overwhelmed”, with the title of your blog post overlaid on top?

The personality facets that you’ll want to capture during your photo shoot depend on your unique brand and business, but below are some ideas to get you started.

Know that any emotions you might perceive as “negative” would be used in a marketing context to promote a talk, blog post, social media post etc. that addresses overcoming that particular “negative” emotion in relation to what you do.

Possible Personality Shots to capture during your photo shoot:

  • Joy
  • Surprise
  • Admiration
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Confusion
  • Confidence
  • Shock
  • Boredom
  • Desire
  • Anger
  • Dissapointment
  • Love
  • Stress
  • Peace
  • Conviction
  • Worry
  • Doubt
  • Eagerness
  • Excitement
  • Sorrow
  • Embarrassment
  • Envy
  • Frustration
  • Satisfaction

Prepare to capture the right Personality Shots on photo shoot day: 

Think about the different topics in your business that you might write or speak about in the future. Then create a list of Personality Shots that could pair with these topics.

Send this list to your photographer in advance so she can be sure to capture the Personality Shots you want on photo shoot day.


In addition to capturing different facets of your personality, you’ll also want to capture a variety of Lifestyle Shots - pictures of you in action.

While most of these shots should be related to your business, don’t be afraid to include some personal Lifestyle Shots too, especially if you have a business that promotes work/life balance!

The exact types of Lifestyle Shots you take will depend on your business and brand.

Possible lifestyle shots to capture during your personal branding photo shoot:

  • Speaking to an audience
  • Shooting a video
  • Meditating
  • Working at a coffee shop
  • Jumping for joy
  • Sipping a cup of coffee
  • Meeting with a client
  • Journaling
  • Cooking a healthy meal
  • Doing a cartwheel in the middle of the street
  • Hiking
  • Reading a book

Prepare to capture the right Lifestyle Shots on photo shoot day: 

Before your personal branding photo shoot, you’ll want to create a list of shots that you want to capture, including locations where these pictures will be taken.

Keep in mind that many personal branding photographers charge an additional fee to shoot at various locations, so be sure to ask about this fee before you choose your photographer.


It’s important that your head shots align with your brand personality, look and feel. Don’t expect your photographer to capture the essence of your brand if you don’t know what it is yourself.

The best way to prepare to take head shots that align with your brand, is to work with me first. I will help you clarify your brand personality, style, colors and so much more!

However, if you do plan to get your head shots taken without working with me first, below are some pointers to help you align your photos with your brand.


Choose locations that make sense with your brand. For example, if your brand’s style is natural, take pictures outside in nature. And if your brand’s personality is warm and inviting, avoid taking pictures in a cold office building.


Know your color palette before you arrive at your photo shoot. You don’t need to dress from head to toe in your brand colors, but you do want to stay within a range. For example, choose one or two main colors along with some neutrals that you’ll wear in your photos.

My brand colors are red and gold with neutrals of black and warm gray. While I stick mostly to wearing these colors in my photos, I’ll wear other colors too, as long as they are earthy, muted tones, that appear like neutrals.

But I never wear pastels, that would not go with my edgy, elegant, nature-inspired style.

Beyond the colors your wear, you also want to consider the background colors in your photos. For example, I wouldn’t take a head shot with the big blue sky in the background because that would be too much blue. But give me a funky red wall or the golden sunlight bouncing off tree trunks and I’m set!


Style has to do with the look and feel of the clothes you wear and the backdrops you choose.

I’ll use my brand again as an example.

My brand’s style is edgy, elegant and nature-inspired. In my photos I wear elegant clothing (draping crystal jewelry, sequin tops, lace and silk), combined with edgy clothing (black leather jacket, red patent leather pumps and animal print).

To achieve my brand’s “nature inspired” look, many of my pictures are shot in natural settings - outside with golden sun-lit backgrounds, amidst trees, fields, or even in town in front of a rugged alley wall.


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