9 tips about How to shoot personal branding photography

What is personal branding photography?

Now you know what your personal brand goal is from reading our previous blog post. This article is all about how to present a personal brand visually because photos can elevate the context around the brand. It is called personal branding photography.


Today, posting your best looking images is not just for models and celebrities. Because many people realize that their personal brand will become more important, we can easily find good looking portraits of business people, chefs, nutritionists, athletes, bloggers, ane even eSport streamers. These people are starting to see the importance of personal brand strategy. Now more than ever, people are building their online brand and creating content to showcase their skills and online personality. The sooner that people realize this importance, the more opportunity they can get from the future of internet.


In this article we dig into the details of a personal brand. One of the key elements is personal branding photography. We see the biggest player in online image gallery space is Instagram. Instagram’s daily active users (2019) now has more than 500 Million accounts worldwide. This is a significant amount to see the trends of a personal brand in a visual sense. This also shows why you should care about the image you use for your profile. But don’t panic! In the next section below, I will share with you some tips for improving your personal branding photography.



“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.”

Ralph Hattersley



Now let’s have a great looking photo by following these 9 tips

Hire a professional photographer

This way, if you can afford an experienced and skilled photographer, you’re almost guaranteed to have a very good looking image. But I know all of you may have your own reasons not to hire a professional photographer. But keep in mind, if you can squeeze in a professional photographer within your budget, it’ll likely pay off and you’ll get a much better outcome. 


Do it yourself

The alternative way is to do it yourself. Nowadays, many people are able to have a nice photo either taken by themselves or by their friends. Some of you might have the proper equipment and knowledge about photography. Even then if you don’t have the money for high tech equipment, many modern cameras already include advanced software and many features that enables you to make your picture look nice. 


Ok camera

The medium range of smartphone cameras can also give you good enough quality. Even the compact, no brainer cameras have good enough quality to get the job done. It doesn’t need to be a DSLR to have good quality. For this topic, I will show you some tips by using your smartphone.


Smartphone Camera Tips

  1. Use portrait mode (iPhone & Google Pixel)
  2. Bring down exposure a bit
  3. Step away from the wall
  4. Take more photos
  5. Use live photo


Good looking dress

In this case, good looking dress means looking good in your style and connecting with your personality. For example, if you are a businessman or businesswoman you probably want to wear a suit. On the other hand, it’s not necessary to wear a suit if you are a firefighter or a chef. So the most ideal good looking dress should connect with your personal brand and also be good looking. Depending on your personal brand, career, or position, you might consider buying a new suit or dress or a new apron to appear nice and professional in your photo. Because old yellow stains on fabrics can make the photo look bad, which would not be a good representation of your hygiene, for example. 


Composition is important

Portraits that have good composition is probably more interesting. The normal portrait photos we typically see is just the subject standing in front of the background. But if you want to have better composition, you can improve this by just looking for the frame within the architecture and the background. Also, you can try to shoot from a different perspective. You can expose some objects in the frame to make the picture look different.


Watch Peter McKinnon’s guide about shooting better composition in his video.


Good background (connection)

For a personal brand photo, it has to have an interesting background. And be sure that

every element reflects your personality. You can try to go to different locations around your town and maybe find some interesting textures and colors for the background. And remember to step away from background a bit to get focus length on the object and a little blurriness in the background.



Good Lighting

More important than a subject having good composition, lighting plays a big role in photography. It will make the subject stand out from the background with the light direction affecting moods and tones. You can experiment about light direction by changing the positions of your light and your subject.


This video shows 4 different set ups of simple lighting to improve your photography.


Use color

Use the right color in your photograph. This is important because color is connected with psychology. In design school they teach the basic theory of color to students to help them understand how to choose the right color. We found some basic info on Wikipedia about color psychology.






CompetenceGood TasteMasculineSophisticationAuthorityRuggednessGriefHappiness










High quality









Pleasant facial expression

Even if you have great equipment or are in a stunning location, facial expression is the most important key to set the tone of your photograph. A serious look compared to a playful one are completely different facial expressions. To prepare for this before your photo shoot day, you can practice in front of the mirror on how you want to express your feelings and tones. You can try different facial angles and an open mouth smile or closed mouth smile and different eye expressions too. With your eyes, you can try to soften them or express a sharp focused look.


You can’t fake your personal brand

In summary, personal branding photography should express true personality in each photograph. Having a beautiful, good looking photograph on your social media profile doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get more attention. Yes, you may have one really good picture but thousands of other people have good pictures too. Then, the key is your “true personal brand personality”. 


You’ll know it’s great when your photography is able to reflect your true personality or your business out from it. The personal brand photography will do its job in many aspects. It’ll catch other people’s eyes at first glance. That photograph can pique curiosity and questions or they may answer the questions by itself. In the end, the purpose of a photograph is to support your personal brand by “building trust”. 


Remember, personal branding is all about trust building. This is important because the next trend is business branding on top of personal branding. After people can feel like they trust you, you’ll get more value from it and will surely lead to forging trustworthy, fulfilling and mutually beneficial long-term relationships.

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