This article by OPP Connect editor Adrian Bishop is reposted with permission from OPP Connect.

An international real estate brand consultancy has put together a list of do’s and don’ts on taking Realtor head-and-shoulders photos.

Ron and Alexandra Seigel, managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, based in California, say the key is to “smile with your eyes,” which are the window of the soul.

They tell OPP Connect, “One of our favorite photographers in San Francisco taught us the art of the business headshot. His business headshots illustrate these principles — the eyes tell the story. In the photo shoots, he would ask our clients to tell him about their real estate practice, and what they loved about it.

“He would urge the smile to their eyes, and this would make the perfect business headshot, and sometimes we left it at that. The smile was just in the eyes — the teeth were not needed. The photo would communicate the warmth, openness and competence of the agent.”

After sitting in on numerous photo shoots with some of the top portrait professionals, they have come up with the following tips on how to take the perfect Realtor headshots:

  • Do wear a favorite business outfit, appropriate to your marketplace, that is comfortable and that you love.
  • Do use a makeup artist for the shoot. This also applies to men.
  • Do hire a professional portrait photographer. Interview to make sure you will be comfortable working with that individual.
  • Don’t strike a dramatic pose (with your head to the side). Remember, this is not an audition for a role in a soap.
  • Don’t cross your arms. It is a signal that you are unapproachable and set in your ways.
  • Don’t pose with a phone in your ear. This says, I am too busy for you!
  • Don’t pose with your dog, cat or horse. This is a case of too much information.
  • Don’t pose with your significant other, if he/she is not in the business with you. Don’t pose with your child/children, as it confuses the onlooker.

Additional advice on headshots comes from the Connect Realty group. It believes a professional headshot can be the difference in an agent winning and losing business, and says they should be updated every two years.

It tells its agents, “It is no secret that 80 percent of homebuyers begin their search online, so a real estate agent’s online presence is crucial with the headshot playing the most important role.

“A professional photograph speaks volumes to potential clients. They are seeking to hire a real estate agent who conveys trust, honesty and integrity, and your appearance on your business cards, website and social media sites is the first impression you give them. Not to mention, buyers and sellers encounter a number of real estate agents daily, whether it’s through agent networking, attending open houses or receiving agent marketing material.

“Studies show that with the right photograph, an agent can actually win business. Your headshot should be used as a marketing tool to brand yourself, attract clients and help you stay memorable in this competitive industry. An unflattering or unprofessional headshot can, in turn, hinder your business and cause you to lose potential clients to your competitors.”

There is no shame in hiring a photographer to take the pictures, Connect Realty believes. “Surveys show that 100 percent of respondents feel more comfortable hiring agents with a professional photograph. It gives clients the idea that you hold yourself to a high standard and do things properly at 110 percent.

“A professional, flattering, appropriate headshot on your social media sites, website, business cards and/or marketing materials is crucial in creating a memorable first impression and building your brand.

“Consumers are looking to hire an agent they can trust, so let your photo be modern, simple and realistic.”

Users of the image-sharing site Imgur, which catalogs viral images, have curated a number of unusual real estate agent headshots, which can be seen here.

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