Personal branding is vital in the real estate industry. The “personal service” nature of the profession means that your headshot is central to getting recognised. Buyers and sellers gravitate to approachable and personable agents, so it’s important to get your face out there. This includes your company’s Facebook, your website, your business card, public benches, billboards and maybe even property listings.
The internet likes to make fun of cheesy photos, like this blog dedicated to funny and terrible real estate agent headshots. Our guide below will help you know if it’s time to get a new set of headshots, and walk you through what to do when the time has come.
This list is mostly for the average suburban real estate agent. Some of this may not apply to real estate agents in very niche positions. So if you are positive any of these steps do not apply to your niche, then feel free to disregard it.
Real Estate Headshots: The DO List
Do use a recent photo. Make sure you keep your personal branding up to date. It is important that your prospects recognise you when they finally meet you. Every few years you should update your photos. Especially if you change your hairstyle or change your facial hair. Using a photo of you that’s 10 years old might seem a little deceptive or lazy, and you don’t want your prospects to associate you with this behaviour! Photo quality changes significantly over 4 or 5 years, so it’s easy to spot an old photo.
Do ensure it looks good cropped. Many social media sites will automatically crop your photo to a square. Make sure your picture still looks good cropped to that shape. Cropping is also handy if you want to cut out your clothing or background if it looks a bit dated.
Do have an appropriate setting. The background of your headshot should match your particular branding. If you specialise in a particular type of property, you can emphasise this with the setting. For example, a specialist in seafront properties might have their headshot taken in front of the beach or a beach house. However photos in your office or against a traditional solid backdrop are suitable in most circumstances. Keeping the background recognisable but out of focus is important to help keep the emphasis on you.
Do wear appropriate clothing. It is important that you look comfortable in your photo. As mentioned earlier, people may quickly dismiss your professionalism if your real estate photo is overly awkward or dorky. Avoid wearing a suit that doesn’t fit properly, or that you look uncomfortable in. Also make sure you wear something with sleeves. Many headshots when cropped may make you look naked due to the cut of your dress or top. That’s likely not the look you’re going for.
Real Estate Headshots: The DON’T List
Don’t use props. Props are very cheesy. Holding a “sold” sign, a mobile phone or some house keys in your headshot looks comedic, rather than professional. Gimmicks won’t make people take you seriously, and these photos also generally don’t crop well.
Don’t include anyone else. In most cases, avoid using a photo with your wife, children or pets. This won’t crop well, and will raise more questions than it will answer. Even though you might really love your family, and want to convey that part of your personality, it can also communicate that you mix your professional and private life, which can be disconcerting for prospects. Unless you have a small family-owned real estate business and all of you work there as a team, it’s too great a risk to include them in your headshot. Keep it simple and relevant and just include yourself.
Don’t over Photoshop it. It’s fine to touch up the brightness and a few minor fixes, but if you go overboard, people will notice. People are getting good at identifying heavily altered pictures. Keep in mind that you are not promoting yourself as a model, you are promoting yourself as a good real estate agent. You want to look trustworthy and professional, not like a wax statue.
Don’t be a poser. Don’t strike a pose no matter how cool you think it looks. Just look friendly and approachable. A photo of you sitting down or standing in a way that looks comfortable (but not slouching) is best. Make sure you look like you’re having a good day and business is going well.
Example of a good real estate agent headshot
To avoid any controversy we are not showing any examples of bad real estate agent headshots, but you can see some examples on the Tumblr page we mentioned earlier. Here’s an example we found on Facebook that demonstrates all of these tips. Samantha McCarthy is a Sales Consultant at hockingstuart. She is not affiliated with our real estate marketing tool at all but has allowed us to use her photo in our example.
✓ Looks to be a recent photo.
✓ Looks good cropped to her shoulders.
✓ Is taken in an office space, framing her in a professional environment.
✓ Features professional clothing.
✓ Doesn’t feature any props of gimmicks, just herself.
✓ Doesn’t include anyone other than Samantha.
✓ Hasn’t been heavily edited, if at all.
✓ Doesn’t use any unusual poses or expressions.
How does your real estate headshot rate? Is it time for a refresh?