How to Deal With Distractions in Personal Branding Photography

I have something important to tell you. 

Wait. Hold on a second. 

What was I saying?

Oh right.  I was going to tell you that we all get distracted.  Whether because we have a bunch of stuff to deal with, a short attention span, or we simply lose interest in the things we don't really want to do.  The fact is, at one point or another, most humans tend to stop what they are doing, and pay attention to something else.  

So, what? Why is this important?  I'm glad you asked!

Distractions are prevalent in everything we do, sort of like this blog post.  I think I have started and stopped writing at least a handful of times, distracted by everything from an email requiring my attention, the music I am listening to, a Youtube video, and even a request to get dinner started.

I am pretty sure I am not alone when I say that a pet peeve of mine is listening to someone speak about an interesting topic, and they veer off on many different and irrelevant tangents. Its aggravating, don't you agree? 

Welcome to the Human Condition

Ok. I think we get it. Human beings, by their very nature, have a short attention span.  In most cases, it takes us longer than necessary to develop work product and it also takes us a longer to understand and appreciate it.  This is not to say that everyone has this affliction. But, let's face it, most of us do.

What Can We Do About It?

Now that we understand the issue, we have to develop a high-impact product, worthy of giving attention to.  Knowing that we only have a short amount of time in which we will be able to develop a connection with our audience, we need to find ways to stir their senses. 

Brick Wall Technique

I am professional headshot specialist. My goal is to showcase my client, and make them the center of attention.  Headshot photography is the only form of photography where the client is the product.  No need to confuse the subject matter or the audience. I prefer to avoid stuff that will pull attention away from what matters most. 

In the 1980's using a brick wall as a background was thought to be cool. Today, not so much.  Not only does Brick Wall Technique give an unprofessional look to a headshot or personal branding image, it also gives the viewer way too much data to consume.  With grout lines weaving in, out and around the subject, it's easy to lose sight of what matters most; the expression and the message.

This same principle applies to other outdated styles, like the halo and mystical smoke aesthetic.  This is where there is a spotlight (large or small) behind the subject, and some strange fog or smoke floating around.  All of these are distracting elements, and will pull attention from where you want it.

Flashy Jewelry

Ladies, I know many of you generally have a desire to adorn yourselves with jewelry to bring attention to certain areas, to finish an outfit, or simply because it looks nice. The reality is that in personal branding and headshot photography, less is more.  

You are already beautiful! No need to add to that beauty. Your audience will experience beauty overload and they won't be able to focus on your visual cue.  Keep the earrings to small studs, and no need to wear a necklace. Believe it or not, a great expression will create more of an impact than the jewelry.

Go Easy on the Makeup

I am not a big fan of lots of makeup.  Before you come after me with an axe or shotgun, I have some good reasons for this:

You are already beautiful! No need to cake on the makeup and hide behind it. Personal branding is about drawing an emotional connection with another human being, and it is also about showing that you can be / are vulnerable.

I know that certain types, colors and styles of makeup are trendy. Remember, you are crafting your own personal brand, not following trends!

This is exactly why I work with an incredible professional makeup artist, who not only understands my desired aesthetic, but is absolutely top notch in understanding complimentary colors and application.

Guys: No Makeup!  That's all I have to say about that.


Composition is a fantastic way of maximizing the amount of time a viewer spends on your image(s). The goal is to force a viewer, without them being aware, to spend more time looking at you.

This goes far beyond the art of photography. It is employing marketing techniques, business strategy, personal branding theories, style principles, and psychology, to compose an image that will minimize distractions, and maximize the amount of time people spend looking at your picture(s). The more time they spend doing that, the greater the opportunity for your message to penetrate. 

When presenting yourself or your personal brand, the last thing you want is to direct your audience's attention elsewhere.  You have a limited amount of time to make a big impact, a connection, and establish trust.  When you give your audience the opportunity to focus on anything other than your brand, you increase the likelihood that they simply won't care enough to develop a connection with you. 


Here are a few best practices:

  • Keep it simple. Don't wear anything overly busy or flashy. Your photographer can guide you on this.
  • Go easy on the makeup. It's meant to highlight features, not BE the feature. I suggest hiring a professional makeup artist, who understands makeup for photos.
  • Hire a professional headshot specialist. Make the investment in yourself. 
  • Trust your photographer. Presumably, they know what they are doing, and won't steer you wrong.  

If you're interested in learning more about personal branding strategy and how an elevated headshot image can boost your revenue, contact me or schedule your session today!