Most agents ask themselves, Do I really need a professional headshot? After all, why not use the selfie from your beach vacation or crop a family photo? Or, your brokerage took headshots a while back; why not use that one? A professional, updated headshot is more important than most Realtors imagine. Your headshot will be many clients’ first impression of you and your brand; additionally, you never know when you might need one!
Larry Laughter, an Account Manager for Wow Video Tours in Charlotte, NC, hosts “Next Realtor Up Lifestyle Shoots” to give agents an opportunity to have professional headshots taken at a low cost and in a fun environment. Of all the agents who come, few have a professional headshot.
Why have a headshot taken? Larry tells agents, “This is your image; this is what sells your listing.” Using a professional headshot indicates confidence and, for agents who don’t feel confident, can increase their self-esteem. “Fake it till you make it,” Larry pointed out. “Realtors can’t be bashful.” Katrina Cherry, an agent who had her headshot taken at one of Larry’s events, agreed. Her headshot, she said, “has given me more confidence in marketing and my social media engagement has increased.” In a market where nearly everyone starts their home search on the internet, your online profile will be clients’ first impression of you and your brand. Most people form impressions in one-tenth of a second, so they won’t wait to meet you before deciding their opinion of you. People like to put names to faces; if you have no photo at all, clients can’t relate to you. A selfie gives a less than professional impression, and an updated headshot is important because clients can tell when a photo isn’t current and want to trust that the agent they see online is the agent they’ll get in real life.
Having a quality headshot conveys approachability and professionalism. Ask Eric Maynard! A Realtor in North Carolina, he has always used a headshot for his business. Since his previous headshot was a few years old, Larry took an updated one for him. Eric sold a luxury house in one day, so he put his updated headshot on flyers and business cards to send around the clients’ neighborhood. The owner of the highest-priced home in the neighborhood told Eric that he sees Realtors’ flyers everyday, but when he saw Eric’s, he said, “That’s the guy who’s going to sell my house.” Why? Eric’s flyer was far more professional than the others he had seen- it set him apart from his competition who used “a selfie in their bathroom mirror or a picture with something in the background.” Eric received many cash offers on the home and sold it in one day. He puts his headshot “everywhere”- his business cards, yard signs, and all of his branded marketing. “You don’t get a second chance at first impressions,” he said. “I’m building a brand of excellence.” Having a professional headshot can be the determining factor in a client’s choice, and Eric pointed out, “I wouldn’t hire someone to sell my $400,000 or $500,000 house who can’t invest a few dollars in a headshot.”
You never know when you might need a professional headshot. Besides using your headshot for marketing on your website, social media, and sites like Zillow and Realtor.com, having a headshot at your disposal is essential. You may need to provide a photo for your brokerage, or you may be featured on a website or publication. Scrolling through personal photos or snapping a quick selfie is not a convenient or professional way to provide a headshot; be ready with a professional image. Jessica Cloward experienced this firsthand, saying, “A group I am a part of asked me to be a speaker at their virtual event and they asked for my headshot. When I sent it in they freaked out and thought it was incredible!” Had she not had a headshot already taken, she would have been scrambling to find a professional picture to give them. Additionally, the quality of her headshot showed that she was a professional and a good match for the organization’s needs.
What makes a good headshot? Your outfit, pose, and attitude are key. Dress the part of a professional; wear solid colors and avoid busy patterns to keep the look clean. Also, wear a favorite outfit to help you feel confident. For posing, Larry suggests opening Pinterest and finding three poses you like. Print them out and study them, keeping these ideas in mind (in addition to any you came up with) when you go to the photographer. Having the printed copies on hand can also help your photographer pose you. If you’re planning to use your photo on LinkedIn, consider angling to the left so you’re “looking” at your profile. Jess, a photographer and the support manager at WOW, says agents should “present themselves in a way they typically would. If you don’t typically wear your hair up, don’t wear your hair up for the headshot.” Keep the makeup look natural, like you would for an important meeting. For agents who feel intimidated by having their headshot taken, Jess says, “There’s really no reason to be nervous. Just have fun with it and loosen up a little bit; the photographer’s going to be super friendly and walk you through the process. It’s really all about having fun and relaxing; the photographer can capture you and your true personality when you are just being yourself.”
Having a professional headshot taken costs time and money, but your business is worth it. Invest in your brand by updating your headshot; show clients you are serious about what you do by scheduling to have a headshot taken today.
Do you have a professional headshot? Have you had success because of your headshot, like Eric and Katrina? Let us know in the comments!