Earlier today I found myself smiling awkwardly at a camera while standing between two “soft-boxes” and wondering whether any errant nose hairs were showing. Not my idea of fun! A necessary evil though because I need new pictures of my ugly mug. You probably do too. We’ve all seen the agents that have pictures from 10 years ago or more on their cards and websites. You can tell can’t you when you see those pictures? Is it their clothes? Their hairstyle? Who knows… but you can tell when you see the picture that it is out of date and so can other people when they see YOURS.
So why was I getting head shots taken now instead of next month when I have more time? (Yeah right… it always looks that way!) Frankly having a good picture matters more now than it used to. In the “old days” your clients only saw your picture when you sent out a direct mail piece or if you were lucky enough that they happened to notice your face on their cluttered refrigerator. (You sly devil… the old refrigerator magnet trick.) Well now with Facebook and Twitter they might see your face EVERY DAY. Does your profile picture make them smirk and think “Wow… agent X really ought to update that!” or think something even worse?
Now, you might be thinking that you are above that sort of thing. Putting your personal picture on business communication is just cliche, cheesy, and kind of sad. For the most part I agree with you. There are very few professions that humiliate themselves like this besides real estate and maybe insurance. However, when it comes to social media the data says facial pictures work the best. So maybe those long years of horrible real estate business cards were onto something! The engagement rate for comments, responses, retweets, etc. all go up when a human face is in that little profile pic instead of a logo or artsy picture. I have some thoughts on why that might be:
- Even as babies we naturally focus our gaze on human faces
- Social media is conversational. Face-to-face communication has always been the most powerful
- People scan feeds. Their eyes “catch” on faces they recognize more than logos
- Seeing a person feels more “honest” compared to a “faceless business”
Whatever the reason, the result is that you are damaging your efforts by not using a picture of yourself that LOOKS like you. (You NOW. As in this year.)
I’ve never been a fan of having my picture taken. Even as a little kid my poor mother would have to chase me around furniture while I madly attempted to escape the torture known as posing. I was in no way looking forward to the photo session today. I was picturing Austin Powers crawling around on the floor screaming “Yes! Yes! Yes… No! No! NO!!!”
Fortunately, getting the shots done was relatively painless. In fact, once the lighting was adjusted it didn’t take much time at all. Turns out business headshots are a lot easier than lingerie model photo shoots. Who knew? While I’m still waiting to see the final result, the initial images in the camera viewer looked surprisingly good despite it being pictures of me! I came away with a few recommendations for you:
- Ask what colors of backgrounds your photographer prefers and therefore what colors of clothing to wear or avoid
- Make sure you do any trimming or plucking that you may overlook in your normal daily routine. No reason to count on photoshop and not fun to be self-conscious later.
- Take a change of clothes or shirt. It helped me to relax to take a break and change. I don’t know why but maybe it will help you too.
If you happen to be looking for a photographer for real estate headshots in the Salt Lake City area, I worked with Andrew Battenfield and thought he did a great job!