4 Characteristics of a Good Branded Headshot

April 27, 2019

Let’s talk about branded headshots

There is a such thing as a bad branded headshot, but we’re here today to make sure that doesn’t happen to you! Headshots are so important for any personal brand. Consumers feel more comfortable purchasing from those they feel comfortable with. A great headshot is the perfect way to introduce yourself online and gain that trust of potential clients.

There are FOUR characteristics every good branded headshot must have. They need to be effective, simple, on-brand, and flattering. Let’s dissect these characteristics.


You want your headshots to give insight into what you do and communicate the mood your brand is all about. In the photo below, Katie is calmly note-taking while at a coaching session. She is a business coach and founder of Cottage Hill Magazine. The portrait shows you what she does by utilizing an environmental portrait. Notice how she’s not looking at the camera. The photo still gives you a clear view of her face so potential clients know what she looks like.

Katie O Selvidge branded headshot


If your headshot contains too much fuss, your audience loses the focus of your headshots, which should be you. K.I.S.S (or, keep it simple, stupid as Dwight K. Schrute says. “Great advice, hurts my feelings everytime”). Eliminate all unnecessary items from your shots. These can be things hanging on a wall behind you such as art or decor, items off your table (a few key pieces are ok if they relate to your brand) and furniture moved to eliminate clutter. LESS IS MORE. In the shot of Elizabeth below, we focused on her by moving all furniture out of the room. She dressed in a simple white frock, which is very on-brand for her. Which brings us to our next point…

Bare by Elizabeth branded headshot by Lightbulb League


Utilize this chance to show off the textures, colors, and vibe of your brand. Sharon of Pressed Paper is all about high quality product, simplicity, and relaxing. Although she makes amazing handmade paper of all colors, her brand colors are very neutral so a black and white film stock was fitting. This photo is calm and simple, which is what I think of when I think of her brand as a whole.

Pressed Paper branded headshot


This should be an obvious one, but there are a couple of aesthetic elements that play into this. You want great light and location, good angles, maybe even hire a professional hair and makeup artist, and obviously hiring a great photographer helps with all of that. I can do an entire separate blog post about how to find the right photographer for you (and I probably will) but making sure that you’re working with an experienced photographer that works well with different kinds of professionals, in different settings, with different lighting situations. In the photo below, Kaley wanted a flattering photo, so we chose to show off her amazing hair and natural makeup, plus look at that lighting. Dead. RIP me. SO good.

If you’re in need of new headshots, make sure your headshots encompass these things! If you need help with these things, that’s what I’m here for 😉 click here to inquire about your brand session + headshots!


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