Your headshots are an extremely important part of your brand as a real estate agent.

They’re on the business cards you hand to prospective clients, they’re plastered on billboards, park benches, and listings across the web, and they play a role in how approachable, professional, and trustworthy you look to the outside world.

Want to make sure yours are as good as they possibly can be? That they sell you, your services, and your hard-won expertise successfully? This guide can help.

Pro Tips to Follow

Obviously, you don’t want to use a selfie stick or have your spouse or best friend snap a picture on their iPhone. Headshots are a big part of your overall branding, and they’re worth the splurge on an experienced professional photographer. Just make sure you choose one who has experience in headshots and is familiar with the area you’ll be shooting in.

Speaking of, think long and hard about your location. Do you want to do a simple shot at your desk or in front of a basic background? Should it be in front of your city’s skyline or another landmark in the area? What do you want the picture to convey? Homing in on the overall message you want to send can help you determine the best spot to shoot. Remember, you can always shoot multiple options and choose the best one (or two or three!) later on.

Other tips to keep in mind:

  • Get a new outfit you love. You’ll feel more confident going in with a brand new outfit you feel great in. Aim for something simple, yet professional.
  • Consider calling in a pro. For women, maybe this means getting a blowout and a professional makeup application, while for men, it could mean a professional shave or a new haircut.
  • Smile (with your teeth visible.) This helps you seem friendlier and more approachable.
  • Get some sleep. The night before your shoot, be sure to turn in early. You want to be rested and at your best for your photos.
  • Choose comfortable poses. Avoid crossing your arms or standing at awkward angles. You want to look welcoming, confident, and at ease.
  • Get at least three good shots. You want a head-and-shoulders portrait, a full body shot and a larger, more environmental shot. These will give you the most to work with in your branding and marketing efforts.

You should also try to avoid wearing anything too busy, bright, or ostentatious. The client should be looking at your face — not your clothes, jewelry, or other patterns in the photo. If your outfit or accessory choices detract from your overall message, you might want to consider a wardrobe change. Generally, grey, blue, and dark tones are best.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing the wrong photographer. Don’t go with the first one you find. Solicit referrals from colleagues, and do your research. Read reviews, check out portfolios, and meet with a few photographers in person before deciding who will get your business. Make sure they have the skills (and the proof of those skills) to make your headshots a success.

Some other common headshot mistakes include:

  • Not getting a second opinion. When your photographer gets your proofs back, go through and pick your favorite four or five. Then, go to a trusted friend or loved one, and see which ones they like best. Which ones convey more confidence? Which ones make you seem friendly and approachable? You can also use tools like Photofeeler to get unbiased feedback on your options.
  • Keeping the same headshot too long. A great headshot only lasts a few years. By then, clothing, makeup, and hairstyle trends have changed, and you’ve likely changed in appearance as well. Your headshots should always accurately reflect what a client can expect upon meeting you. That helps build a foundation of trust and kicks the relationship off on the right foot.
  • Forgetting the hi-res. Always ask your photographer for the high-resolution versions of your headshots. You might need these for media opportunities, for designing any web or marketing content, or even for MLS and listing sites. You will also want to ask about the legal use of the photos, as well as copyrights.
  • Not practicing. It seems awkward, but always practice your smile and poses in the mirror before getting a headshot done. You can also practice with your spouse or a friend. Make sure you find a few options that are both comfortable and flattering before heading to your shoot.
  • Bringing in props. Props are just distractions. Don’t pose with a pet (it’s unnecessary), a phone (it says you’re too busy) or any other prop that could take away from your overall message. 

A great headshot is worth a thousand words. Vet your photographer, go into your shoot with a few poses in your arsenal, and keep your overall message in mind, and an A-plus headshot is just a few clicks of the shutter away.