How to Get Great Realtor Headshots
Few people enjoy standing in front of a camera to get their headshot taken, but in 2020 leveraging your image can help you stand out in an oversaturated market. These tips will help you know how to take real estate headshots. Getting a great picture is easy, and can be natural.
You likely already know that realtors are in the business of relationships. The perfect way to market for relationships is to show your face through photography. Realtor headshots are crucial for anyone that wants to stand out and as a hire.
Using outdated or unprofessional headshots can impede your marketing efforts and cause you to get past up by your competitors. Make sure your portraits work for you, and avoid unprofessional mistakes.
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 a great realtor headshot even if you aren’t photogenic. In the new world of digital marketing you have to show up to be seen and these tips will help create the best headshots. A professional headshot photo shoot may seem daunting until you know all the details. Read all of these tips for a great photo.
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 and headshots will make it more likely that these people will find your business the day they need you.
That first impression matters
Studies show that your 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. Your headshots and pictures matter. You’ve likely seen a real estate headshot that made you cringe, but this guide will help you create the best headshot for your company.
A professional headshot is a photo that builds connection to your business from the start.
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 clients search for realtors, 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, realtors understand this truth better than any other industry.
Here’s what you need to do
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 photo shoot 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
Want to know where to get professional realtor headshots? 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. A nice camera isn’t what makes you look professional. 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 hire the right photographer that does headshot photography 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 portfolio and client reviews to ensure that you’ll be getting great images and a great experience. Check out their business on Yelp or Google My Business to make sure they are the perfect hire for you.
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 presence. Photography rates can be pricier than you might imagine for business portraits, but they are an investment that should have a return.
3. Find your location
Now that you’ve gotten clarity on your message and found your photographer, ask your professional photographer for location recommendations. The background you use will communicate to your audience.
Here are a few of my favorite portrait locations for professional realtor headshots:
On location – Natural setting
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 camera, your professional photographer can blur out the background enough to ensure that you’re the focus in your photos, while still giving a feel for your brand.
4. What to wear for real estate headshots
Everyone’s style of dress is different, but sticking with simple guidelines will make choosing your outfit a breeze. I personally recommend that my clients bring three to four professional business outfits so they have more photos to choose from. Ask your photographer what they recommend for your outfit.
Choose outfits that make you feel confident in your photo. When you feel confident in your clothes, that feeling can translate into your pictures through your expression.
What is the best color to wear for a professional headshot? 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 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. Your real estate headshot serves a purpose of connecting you with your future customers, make sure nothing is distracting from that connection in your portraits. Your photography is part of your branding and your headshot will likely be the first thing people see.
Shoes don’t often make the cut in your headshot, but if a pair of heels makes you feel more confident, they are worth wearing. If you are walking around to get the photo in your session, consider comfortable shoes.
Your real estate headshot should be an extension of branding in your industry. Don’t wear something overly professional in your portraits if that’s not your brand. Don’t look for inspirational photography to help you choose outfits if the photos don’t align. Wear an outfit you’d wear to meet with your clients. It builds trust.
It might be a good idea to take the weather into consideration if you’re shooting your headshot outside. Places like Virginia or Washington feel very different from Texas and LA, and looking cold in your headshot isn’t ideal.
If you’re shooting in a professional studio, you can choose any colors for you picture. Shoot outside and the grass or leaves can create a green color cast in camera. Ask your photographer for advice.
Hair and Makeup for pictures
Generally when you’re planning to have your hair and makeup done for your headshot, you don’t want to stray too far from the truth. Your headshot should look like you.
Wearing over the top makeup in your photo can take away from your credibility if you don’t normally look that way. I tell my clients to keep their makeup simple in their headshot. Fake lashes and lash extensions can really open up your eyes in your photo, but you need to make sure you’re not getting lashes that are too thick or glam.
A professional makeup artist will know what to do when they work with a headshot photographer. If you want to do your own makeup, it will be a realistic and simple version of you in your photo.
Makeup done correctly can make you look like a polished version of your every day.
5. Day of Photoshoot Tips
Getting a portrait that you love putting out in the world requires a little forethought and time. Professional headshots for realtors require that you use these tips to look perfect on the day of your photo shoot. You want to look your best in your real estate headshot.
Get enough sleep the night before your photo shoot 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 before your professional headshot. Wearing a dress or a blouse always looks great in photos. If you don’t believe your brand message aligns with a dress, stick to what you know. The colors should compliment your skin tone and the environment you’re in. Aim to dress in one outfit before you arrive at the photo shoot.
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 clients will be confident reaching out to you. Practice your smile in the mirror. One quick suggestion for working on your smile is to give a silent fake laugh. This will ensure that your smile seems more authentic. Another tip is to take your smile away and bring it back as needed. A tired smile doesn’t look real. As a business it’s a good idea to always be friendly in your photos.
Know your good side. If you prefer portraits taken on one side, make sure to communicate that to your photographer before the photo shoot. It is more likely that you will love your photography 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 of the photos.
Get multiple poses in multiple outfits. Even if you plan to use one real estate headshot 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 be 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 portraits and photography 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 a more relaxed headshot.
Posing for your pictures:
When you have the right photographer they will coach you on how to pose and walk you through poses that will flatter you and your brand. Getting a professional headshot means you can’t look stiff or awkward. People won’t feel attracted to your business if you have a stand offish pose. Ask your headshot photographer if they coach you on the day of the session. Look at the poses they have used in any photo they have to make sure their subject looks comfortable and approachable.
Don’t push your arms against your body as that can make your arms look bigger.
If you want your professional headshot to look professional, you can’t be slouching or too laid back. Poses with a straight back tend to show how confident you are. Poses where you lean slightly towards the camera help the photos to appear more approachable. Each pose should communicate success every time.
A pose with your arms crossed can feel uninviting unless you have a big smile on your face. Professionals should aim to smile in every pose so that people look forward to hiring you.
6. After Your Photoshoot
Once you’ve finished your photoshoot and gotten your retouched digital photography, it’s time to update your presence with your perfect headshot.
Adding a headshot or picture 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 or brand. It’s an easy path to success for professionals.
All of your social channels and your email signature should have an updated headshots after your shoot. Here are the platforms to think about adding your portrait to first:
Realty Networks that host your realtor headshots
Platforms for professionals
Google your own name to make sure you’ve updated any sites that show up on the first page with your image. If you see a headshot you don’t like, see if you can access the page or host to change the portrait yourself.
Now that you’ve read the ultimate guide for great real estate agent headshots in 2020, you know each step that will ensure you get your own impressive headshots. Portrait photography can be intimidating when you don’t know what to expect. I hope this headshot guide helps to ease your fears about getting your own photography done.
Putting your best face or portraits forward 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.
Marketing with pictures for your business can be easy when you have the right content to start with. Aim for portraits that tell a story about your business. Personal branding photography and portraits are a new niche that allows agents in the new world of social media to stay top of mind.
In a world where everyone is shouting to be heard, you want to be the business that people remember when they need what you are selling. Portraits and pictures help to keep you in mind. You want your photography to serve you and your business so that your potential customers already know who you are when they want to buy a home, and end up hiring you.
Print marketing with your headshot
Using your image on a sign in front of a home or on your business card is likely where you’ve seen print materials most. In addition to the sign, many people use their headshot on a bus stop seat, a billboard, a brochure or rack card. Using a sign or a billboard ensures that people get a great first impression along with your contact.
How often should I get my headshot done?
Anytime you’ve changed your appearance you should update your headshot. Your portrait needs to be a reflection of who you are. If you show your headshot on a brochure or on social, you should aim to keep it relevant. Portrait photography can build trust when used correctly.
If it has been a year or two since your last headshot, consider updating your photography. If your face is on a sign, but you don’t look like that sign, you need an update.
I hope this advice will help you to plan your next headshot and be confident as you upgrade your photography presence.
If you’re interested in booking a portrait photographer you can trust that understands the real estate industry, please email me or sign up for my newsletter. I do travel to places like Washington, LA, Texas, and Denver. Save time marketing and get a picture that gets you more business.
If you’d like to see more examples of our headshot photography check out our portfolio.