This article is part of a larger series on Real Estate Lead Generation and Marketing.
A realtor headshot is a keystone of growing your business and personal brand—helping you convey trustworthiness, confidence, and professionalism to attract more clients. However, it’s important to take the time and effort to hire a professional photographer and prepare for the photo shoot with the right clothing, attitude, pose, and smile. We’ve gathered 12 tips to guarantee your realtor headshot will help you build a recognizable brand and instill confidence with your clients.
Once you’ve taken your headshot photos, it’s important to make sure they look exactly how you want them to. While many photographers will retouch your photos for free, some will only do so for an expensive additional fee. Take a look at the freelancers on Fiverr with prices as low as $5. Choose a freelancer based on skill and price to get your headshot professionally retouched so you can present your face to the world with confidence.
1. Review Other Realtor Headshots for Ideas
Many real estate agents don’t necessarily feel comfortable in front of a camera. If you aren’t excited about your photo shoot or don’t have any ideas, don’t hesitate to gain inspiration from other real estate agents. Although headshots are meant to be relatively simple and keep the focus on you, looking through others’ headshots can help you think about your background, posing, hairstyle, and even your expressions.
For example, all of the agents in the real estate company above have very different headshots. Each of them has a different background, angle, styling, and expression. By looking at how a group of agents approaches their headshots, you can get a clearer understanding of how you want your headshot to look.
2. Dress for Success
When you think about getting dressed for your realtor headshot, think of what you might wear to the first meeting with your dream client. While commercial real estate agents might wear a suit and tie, some residential agents could be more casual with jeans and a button-down shirt.
It’s important to choose clothing that makes you feel confident and represents your target audience. For instance, the headshot below feels formal because of the combination of the suit jacket, the pose, and even the outside location. This would likely appeal to a more formal or corporate audience.
The headshot below still feels professional, but feels slightly more laid-back because of the agent’s ripped jeans, leaning pose, and the location inside a home. This is an effective headshot for agents who want to put out a more casual vibe and attract clients in a more suburban neighborhood.
In addition, ask your photographer if they have any suggestions on what to avoid. Things like patterns or bright colors can be difficult to photograph, and you’ll need to be mindful of what will be shown in your background. Most photographers will advise you to avoid:
- Busy patterns
- Excessive jewelry or accessories
- Too bright or neon colors
- Wearing all black
- Ultra-trendy clothes
- Baggy or loose-fitting clothes
3. Learn Power Poses
The way you feel will naturally show in your photos, so do what you can to set your shoot up at a time and place where you’ll feel confident. However, even if your biggest deal of the year fell through the morning of your shoot, you can still trick your brain into feeling confident with power poses. According to The Psychologist, this concept dates all the way back to the 19th century, when psychologist William James noted that emotions come from physiology. Therefore, your bodily expressions contribute directly to your emotions.
It may feel silly, but raising your arms above your head like Superman for a few minutes has been shown to increase feelings of power and confidence. Spending even a minute or two before your shoot in a power pose can increase your confidence and result in a better picture.
In addition, consider choosing a few poses before your photo shoot. Even if your photographer helps you pose, you likely won’t feel as confident if you’re in an unfamiliar position. Try out a few poses in the mirror and decide on one or two that feel the most natural.
A study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin shows that people who look happier in photographs are viewed as more trustworthy than those who appear unhappy in photos. Interestingly, smiling doesn’t impact viewers’ opinion on competence. However, when asked who they would choose to be their financial adviser, test subjects chose the happier-looking person every time.
Studies from Photofeeler came up with virtually identical results: people who smiled in their headshot were seen as far more likable and influential than those who didn’t, but only slightly more competent. The takeaway should be obvious: don’t forget to smile.
5. Get Professional Hair & Makeup
Your realtor headshot will be used on social media, in your marketing materials like flyers and business cards, and at events or sponsorships. To present the best version of yourself, consider getting your hair and makeup professionally done before your photo shoot. This is another way to help you feel confident, get more professional opportunities, and generate more real estate leads in the long run.
6. Don’t Pose With Accessories
It’s relatively common to see real estate agents with photos of them working on their phones or computers. This often happens when they want to have a shot of them working in their natural element. However, technology generally doesn’t make a good impression in photos. It’s a distraction from what the headshot should focus on—you. It may even communicate that you spend too much time looking at screens instead of building relationships.
Your headshot also shouldn’t be a group photo. Even if part of your real estate brand is showing your family, lifestyle, or pets, your headshot isn’t the place for it. Instead, holiday cards are great for family pictures, and you can share the animal you bring to showings on social media. The only exception to this rule is when you are part of a real estate team. In this case, you should have an individual headshot as well as a professionally photographed photo of the group together.
7. Try Multiple Different Styles
The most common and versatile photo you can have in your branding arsenal is a head and shoulders portrait. However, take the opportunity to get additional shots that you can use to expand your branding and marketing content. Ask your photographer about doing full-body shots, shooting in different locations, or changing your outfit.
These different types of shots will come in handy as you assemble many types of branding and marketing. Plus, you don’t have to create a full branding portfolio or collection of real estate marketing materials from scratch. Instead, use tools that are already available through resources like Market Leader. Market Leader is a lead generation and marketing tool, and it includes professionally crafted monthly newsletters, multichannel marketing templates, and an extensive content library and marketing suite. See what Market Leader can do for your marketing today.
8. Choose the Right Background
The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a background is to make sure it doesn’t distract from the image’s focal point—you. In fact, one of the best headshot backgrounds is pure white, which is especially powerful when it comes to tiny profile pictures that appear online.
However, your background can also be relevant to the real estate you work with. If you work in the city, like the agent on the left, an artfully blurred street scene or brick wall can be an integral piece of your real estate marketing. On the other hand, agents in a more rural or suburban area may respond more to something like a blurred forest or pastoral scene, exemplified by the headshot on the right.
It’s likely that your headshot photographer will naturally choose the background and add a blurring effect. However, you should still have photo editing abilities of your own. With Canva, you can easily perform basic edits on photos, like cropping, adding filters, and adjusting the lighting. There are also thousands of templates and elements available for you to easily create marketing materials and transform photos.
9. Get High-resolution Copies
The primary use of your headshot may be for your website, print materials, or real estate bio, but it’s important to make sure you receive high-resolution copies. You may need your headshot for print ads or other opportunities in the future, and low-resolution photos can look visibly blurry and unprofessional.
10. Avoid Over-editing Your Realtor Headshot
Light editing or retouching is an important part of the headshot process. It’s another way to help agents present the most confident versions of themselves. However, if you aren’t a professional photographer, it can be very easy to take a retouching or editing tool too far. Over-edited photos can easily look unnatural, awkward, or washed out.
Instead, a professional photographer should have this built-in to the cost. If you still need to put the finishing touches on your photo, search for a photo editor on Fiverr. There are thousands of freelancers available for an affordable price, and you can choose one who fits your needs, timeline, and budget.
11. Gather Opinions on Your Headshots
It’s almost impossible to judge your own photo objectively, so it’s wise to get opinions from other people. When you get your photos back, choose a few of your favorites and send them to real estate associates, friends, and families for opinions.
Alternatively, you can upload your headshots to Photofeeler and receive unbiased opinions from thousands of users. Once you upload your picture, Photofeeler users anonymously rank it according to three categories: competence, likability, and influence. If you’re having a hard time choosing between two options, Photofeeler can be a great way to get unbiased opinions.
12. Update Headshot Frequently
Some real estate agents think about their headshot like it’s a once-in-a-lifetime necessity. The reality is that your physical characteristics change over time, so your headshot should too. Buyers and sellers will undeniably make a decision about an agent based on their headshot, so it should look like you do. As a general rule, get a new headshot approximately every three years.
How to Hire a Professional Headshot Photographer & Costs
Just like a great real estate agent, mortgage broker, or home inspector, a great professional portrait photographer can be an asset to your business for many years to come. Being successful in real estate means being willing to invest your time and finances in the right things, and finding a professional photographer over an amateur or trying to do the job yourself is a worthy investment. The cost of portrait photographers can range drastically, from about $25 to $500, with the national average sitting at $175.
Most real estate agents already have a few photographers in their sphere of influence. However, not all of them may have experience with professional headshots, and likely aren’t the best fit for your business.
To confidently find and hire the right photographer, follow these tips:
- Ask for referrals: Ask other agents in your area or your brokerage for their best recommendations, or search through social media to find a few options.
- Look through their portfolio: Photographers highlight their best work, so make sure you like their portfolio and style. Examine their sample headshots, and make sure they’re composed with great lighting.
- Evaluate their retouching skills: Ask to see examples of photos they’ve retouched, as it can tell you a lot about their skill.
- Make sure their personality is a good fit: To look your best, you need to feel comfortable and confident. Have a conversation with the photographer before booking, and decide whether this photographer is the best fit for your personality.
- Determine the price: Most photographers have a few package options, but make sure you know the price and the deliverable before scheduling a photo shoot.
- Establish copyright rules and expectations: Generally, photographers maintain all copyrights unless you sign a contract that says otherwise. Communicate about all the ways that you plan to use your headshot and confirm the legalities beforehand.
The first step to building the foundation of your brand is to get a professional realtor headshot. If done properly, your headshot will convey trustworthiness and confidence to prospective clients and build your reputation as a real estate professional. By following these tips, you’ll get a headshot that takes you one step closer to building your brand, landing clients, and growing your business.