Trainer Rachael Hite used the ultimate cheat to update her headshots — AI. 10 pics and a few days yielded 100 results. Here’s what she learned and how it could save you money.

This article was last updated May 10, 2023. 

In a recent series of articles, I took a deep dive into the logistics of how hard it is to achieve a “professional” look. Over the years, as a trainer, I have advocated for agents to update their headshots regularly to keep their marketing fresh.  

You have seen agents using artificial intelligence to craft up avatars for their marketing, but StudioShots promises a realistic headshot that you can use for your business, so I decided to put this new tech to the test.

When you have to paste your face in all places, you want it to be your best face, right? I started a new job in October, and my schedule and budget were two factors in going out and getting new headshots. So one of my new co-workers grabbed a quick shot, and I used Lensa to clean it up and “make it work.” 

As much as I disagree with the conversations about appearance and professionalism, I can’t deny that in sales, you have to play the game whether you like the rules or not. 

Thinking back to the 2000s

Whenever I tinker with my physical appearance, I always track back to reality television, and there is a little bit of guilt involved every time. There was this really popular reality TV show showed called The Swan on Fox where the producers found women who felt they were “ugly ducklings” and, through radical plastic surgery, changed their physical appearance so they would be supermodel gorgeous.

The show has been labeled one of the worst reality shows in TV history. It really shows the damage our culture causes against women who just want to be loved, feel beautiful and accepted, and they were willing to bleed and destroy their personal lives to do it.

This show kind of lives in my brain when I think about how much time and effort women put into our appearance. 

Whether someone at the moment is asking us to or not. Some of the worst conversations we have about how we look are with the person staring back at us in the mirror.

How it works

Like most AI tools that are popular right now, this was ridiculously easy. I visited the site, answered a few quick questions, selected the lowest tier package and uploaded 10 pictures.  

Felt cute, sent a selfie to my boyfriend: One example I sent to the AI

That’s it. Then I received a pleasant email (also probably AI-generated) about how they were backlogged and to expect my pictures in just a few days. A few days later, I was sent a zip file of 100 images to choose from. It warned me that on average, customers liked two or three of the 100 offered. Why?  

Well, AI, in some instances, when trying to understand my face, didn’t quite get my proportions right. My eyes were too large, not the right color, my chin too low, my mouth too wide. I have a whole folder of women who looked like me but still were not quite me.

Studio AI headshot kit. Not quite right, but pretty close

After sorting through, I chose the closest picture and sent it to my friend for a blind reaction. I got a great response a few moments later, and she wanted to know where I had it taken.

Studio AI headshot kit.The most realistic one

The results are shockingly realistic. The skin texture is next level. They even kept my wrinkles and “evil 11’s,” as I call them.

The picture is me when I’m hydrated, with professional-level makeup, perfect hair, and really stylish clothing and jewelry. 

 I’m posed at the perfect angle. My gaze is connecting and engaging. Just perfect.

What I thought

The style of the portrait is something that, locally, I would have paid $700-plus for, not including the hair, makeup, and the hopes and prayers to get my face to cooperate that day. Instead of two hours of getting sweaty and ready, there I was calm, cool and collected.

It was creepy but also really satisfying in a way. There you go world. You want a professional headshot? Done. Crossing it off the list. I’m sure this is just the first of many types of program offerings. This method was way easier than my previous article about DIYing a headshot.   

This is the ultimate cheat, and with a little tweaking, you could save yourself a ton of money and game the system. Now what will happen to my picture, my personal information, or how safe this actually is, your guess is as good as mine. 

I didn’t read the fine print kids, and I will laugh if I get a virus for my impulsivity. But it does make you think: If AI can get this so right, so quickly, the question of what’s next may knock your socks off.

Rachael Hite is a former agent, a business development specialist, fair housing advocate, copy editor, and is currently perfecting her long game selling homes in a retirement community in Northern Virginia. You can connect with her about life, marketing, and business on Instagram 

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