The 2021 Austin, TX real estate market has proven to be one of the hottest, – and the toughest markets in the US, – for real estate agents and clients alike. The inventory is extremely scarce, and the demand is at all times high. What is this market over-saturated with? The well-qualified and eager realtors like yourself, all trying to appeal to the same client pool. What does that mean for you as a realtor? It means that you have to be more tenacious than ever before and to be able to deliver above and beyond your client’s expectations every single time. But even before that? You have to be found and chosen by your next potential client!
That First Impression Really Matters
Studies show that your clients size up your likability, trustworthiness, and competence within 1/10th of a second and that only long-term relationships can change their first impression once made. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the case of your online presence, that first impression could be worth thousands of dollars for your business.
Out of curiosity, – being a curious artist and all, – I did extensive research online and went through real estate agent directories within a few of the Austin, Texas largest real estate companies with tens and even hundreds of company-associated realtors. The results turned out to be eye-opening. Very few agents within the company network had professional headshots attached to their online profiles! And among them, only one or two at each company had headshots that really stood out. What did the rest of the agents use? ‘Excuse my appearance, my picture was taken in the backyard at high noon on a fence background’ kind of image. Either that or a dull, boring, unimpressive headshot that belongs in the ’90s at best. See where I am going with that?
If you are reading this blog, my finding should reassure you that with the right approach and right tools in hand, you WON’T get lost in the sea of competitors. New eye-catching professional headshots that speak volumes and the right kind of online presence will help you avoid that very common problem. Use the following tips to make the most out of your new images, and drive in clients who are excited about working with you!
It takes more than just showing up with an idea in mind. You have to come prepared.
- Get Clarity On Your Message.
Before diving into action, take your time to think about the visual message you are trying to convey to your potential client through your images. Be specific. Think about your specialty. For example, if your area of expertise lies in luxury homes, your images will need to suggest that level of expertise. Create a list of your personal and professional traits that you want your new headshots to reflect on, then narrow your list down to the most important points so that you are not risking accidentally sending conflicting signals. This list will help guide your decision-making process.
While online reviews and personal referrals are generally great, keep in mind that people generally tend to have different requirements. What works for someone else might not be your ideal solution when it comes to headshots for realtors. Going back to my online search for a local agent, I can tell you that you are not going to choose the same photographers that most of these agents chose for their headshots, – for very obvious reasons!
After you have narrowed down your list of photographers to a few, make sure to get in contact with each one before making your selection. That way, you can make sure that the two of you are a good fit, and that you see eye to eye when it comes to your session and the final images. Ideally, a photographer should have a first consultation phone call available to you so that you both can have a feel for each other’s personality, discuss your needs and how the photographer proposes to address them creatively and professionally. Only when you feel that you’ve got a great match, go ahead and book them, then leave your hesitations behind and start preparing for your photo session!
- Best Value Isn’t in the Price.
Don’t base your photographer selection on their prices. This is the last thing you want to do. Remember, that great-looking headshots are one of the most important (secret) tools in your field of work, so treat your session as an investment in your career. Choose someone you feel confident about delivering the images you will love, and the message you want to convey. It’s important that you like the photographer’s work, and can fully envision yourself being photographed by them. The headshots that you will create together are the images that your nearest future income will heavily depend on, for one thing.
- Planning is the King.
Your headshot photographer should be able to provide you with personalized wardrobe selection guidance and helpful session prep tips. Your styling choices will directly depend on the message you are trying to deliver across (see pt. 1 above), the professional qualities you want to convey, and, last but not least, – your own business style.
It’s always a good idea to create a separate inspiration folder and save images similar to the look and feel you are after in there, then share and discuss it with your photographer.
Do not underestimate the choice of color palette for your headshot session outfits. It will play a very important role in your new professional headshots. Not only do different colors photograph differently, but psychologically, they also have the ability to strengthen or take away from the very message you want to send to your viewer. Not to mention that your outfits need to fully complement both your style and your complexion.
You do need to have a variety of outfit options, and you may realize that your closet simply doesn’t have enough of them, or that the existing options do not serve the main purpose of the shoot. In that case, there is no shame in a targeted shopping spree in preparation for your headshot session! On the opposite, it can actually take away part of the pre-session stress and add some fun to the process. With that said, do plan ahead, and have all your wardrobe options put together and ready a few days before your photoshoot. And, don’t forget to steam them so that you look well put together and as professional as you want to show up in your photos!
- Creating Your Persona
I don’t fear using this word with my clients. That is because, ultimately, what a business headshot photographer does is help you design the person showing up in your headshots. While that person needs to look like you, they need to be able to portray the very best version of yourself, playing to your strengths and appealing to your ideal client.
I always advise my female clients to opt-in for using professional stylist’s services. The main concern voiced by my clients time and again is that they will look somewhat different in their images than in real life where they do their hair and makeup themselves. You should not be afraid of that, as a professionally trained stylist will only enhance your appearance, and will never make any drastic changes to it unless specifically asked to (but hey, why would you want it for your headshots anyway, right?). However, the best and the most effective practices of on-camera makeup can make a big difference in how the camera ‘sees you’. That is one of the biggest benefits that a professional stylist brings to your session that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
- Adding a Little Personality
Don’t be afraid to show a bit of your true self in your headshots, and to have some fun in some of your shots. Do bring your favorite accessories, jewelry, etc. to the shoot with you. It is widely considered bad advice that I happen to disagree with. Sometimes, the images that reflect the true-you become some of the most favorite and the most overall-used by my clients, because these are the images that people notice and praise the most.
- Capturing Variety
Always make sure that your photographer knows where and how you are planning to use your new headshots so that they can provide you with enough variety, and tailor specific shots to your exact needs. For example, a header for your real estate website or Facebook page will require having at least one horizontal headshot taken. For a one-page online profile, on the contrary, you will need vertical images instead.
Don’t forget about the different sizes optimal for each purpose (the size of your business card versus a Facebook post). Make sure that you get everything you need out of your session by clearly communicating all that information to your photographer ahead of time.
It’s How People Find You
Have a list of all social platforms ready. Once you have received the new headshots from your photographer, start by updating your profiles in these channels one by one so that you don’t forget to update any of your accounts! Trust me, I know how tempting it is to show these images off on your Facebook or IG page right away, but being well-organized and taking care of business first is much more beneficial. Because that’s how people find (or don’t find) you.
Additionally, think about all the ways you can use your new headshots in print marketing, – ‘For Sale’ and ‘Sold’ signs, for example, would be perfect to add your new headshot to!
If you follow the seven tips I shared with you in this guide, you can turn your next real estate agent headshots session into the best experience, resulting in beautiful images that will help you easily stand out among your toughest competition.
Interested in booking your real estate headshots with me? Hop over here and fill out the contact form. I will reach out to schedule your complimentary phone consultation, and we will take it from there!