Few people enjoy standing in front of a camera to get their picture taken, but in 2019 leveraging your online image can help you stand out in an oversaturated market.
Using outdated or unprofessional headshots can impede your marketing efforts and cause you to get past up by your competitors.
As a photographer I’ve worked with hundreds of real estate agents to upgrade their digital marketing, and I’ve compiled the ultimate guide for getting great realtor headshots even if you aren’t photogenic.
Why You Need Realtor Headshots
It’s how people find you
You may work hard to network in person and on word of mouth referrals, but statistics show that 99% of Millennials search on online websites for their homes followed by 90% of Older Boomers and 70% of the Silent Generation.
Focusing on your online presence will make it more likely that these people will find your business.
That first impression matters
Studies show that your potential clients size up your likability, trustworthiness and competence within 1/10th of a second, and that only long term relationships can change their first impression once made.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the case of your online presence, that first impression could be worth thousands of dollars for your business.
What sets you apart from your competitors? Is it your ability to negotiate, or a specific process you use to save clients time or money?
When your potential clients search for realtors online, it’s possible that they will compare companies based on negotiation tactics. It’s also possible that they’ll shortlist people they see themselves working with.
As a photographer that works with many types of businesses, I feel that realtors understand this truth better than any other industry.
How to Get Great Realtor Headshots
1. Get clarity on your message
What is your specialty? If your area of expertise lies in luxury homes, you’ll want pictures that communicate that level of professionalism. If you primarily sell homes in mountain towns, your images should look different than someone selling condos in the city.
Define your Target Market. Who are you selling to? Planning a photoshoot around speaking to your target market, makes it more likely that you’ll resonate with the right people.
Find Inspiration. A simple way to communicate your vision with your photographer, is to find inspirational images. Pinterest is an incredible resource for this and even allows you to create a mood-board that you can share.
Photographers won’t copy images, but it helps to communicate visually.
2. Find a Professional Photographer
You likely know a friend or family member with a nice DSLR camera, but capturing professional headshots is more about correct lighting, and coaching than it is about equipment. If you choose to work with a friend or family member, be sure you’ve seen several headshots from them that have flattering lighting and natural posing.
The easiest way to find the right photographer, is to ask your network for recommendations, or do a simple google search for “realtor headshot photographer” in your city or town.
Once you’ve gotten names, be sure to check their online portfolio and client reviews to ensure that you’ll be getting great images and a great experience.
You’ll want to ask if you’ll be getting digital images with basic retouching. If they only offer physical prints, you won’t be able to build your online presence.
3. Find your location
Now that you’ve gotten clarity on your message and found your photographer, ask your photographer for location recommendations.
Here are a few of my favorite locations for realtor headshots:
In a home (can be staged)
In your home
In your office space
In the city (streets, shops, interesting architecture)
In a neighborhood (make sure it reflects your specialty)
Nature Background (Great for people selling mountain/beach/exotic homes)
With the right equipment, your photographer can blur out the background enough to ensure that you’re the focus, while still giving a feel for your message.
4. Plan your wardrobe
Everyone’s style is different, but sticking with simple guidelines will make choosing your outfits a breeze. I personally recommend that my clients bring three to four outfits so they have more images to choose from. Ask your photographer what they recommend.
Choose outfits that make you feel confident. When you feel confident in your clothes, that feeling can translate into your pictures through your expression.
Stick with solid colors, and avoid heavy patterns or prints. That’s right, paisley and stripes don’t work in your favor in headshots. If your potential clients are focused on your clothing or your jewelry instead of your face, they won’t be connecting with who you are.
Keep your jewelry simple, minimal or avoid it completely.
Shoes don’t often make the cut in headshots, but if a pair of heels makes you feel more confident, they are worth wearing.
5. Day of Photoshoot Tips
Get enough sleep the night before your photoshoot so that you look well rested.
Prepare your clothing well in advance. A great way to avoid showing up to the shoot stressed out, is to get all of your clothes ironed and on hangers days in advance.
Smile in all of your photos. Studies show that smiling conveys warmth, approachability and competence to your viewers. This in turn makes it more likely that your potential clients will feel confident reaching out to you.
Know your good side. If you prefer images taken on one side, make sure to communicate that to your photographer before the photoshoot. It is more likely that you will love your images if you do. There is evidence that people do have a better side and that even parting your hair in a different way can change perceptions.
Get multiple poses in multiple outfits. Even if you plan to use one image across all of your marketing, it makes sense to get multiple outfits so that you can choose the one that photographed best.
Stand up straight. Having great posture and a head held high signals the confidence and competence that your potential clients are likely looking for in a real estate agent.
Get rid of a double chin. This technique is used by professional headshot photographers, but may feel strange when you first practice it yourself. Pushing your head slightly forward and down not only makes you look more confident, it also defined your jawline to make you look more attractive. Practice this in a mirror to see it for yourself.
Relax and trust your photographer. If you’ve hired a photographer that has images you love, it’s likely because they know how to light and pose their subject. If you walk into a shoot ready to be coached, you will take the pressure off yourself and end up with more relaxed images.
6. After Your Photoshoot
Once you’ve finished your photoshoot and gotten your retouched digital images, it’s time to update your online presence.
Adding an image to your homepage, about me page, and your contact page can go a long way to building a relationship with the clients searching for a realtor.
All of your social channels and your email signature should have an updated headshots after your shoot. Here are the platforms to change first:
Online Realty Networks that host your realtor headshots
Google your own name to make sure you’ve updated any sites that show up on the first page with your image.
Now that you’ve read the ultimate guide for great realtor headshots in 2019, you know each step that will ensure you get your own impressive headshots.
Putting your best face forward online with the right message will make it more likely that you’ll connect with your dream clients, and ultimately be more successful in your real estate business.