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Home » 10 Essential Tips For Real Estate Headshots: A Do This, Not That Guide For Agents In 2023

10 Essential Tips For Real Estate Headshots: A Do This, Not That Guide For Agents In 2023


Taking headshots can be stressful, especially if you’re paying a hefty fee for a professional shoot. Here are some tips to help you nail your Real Estate Headshots the first time.

In a do-this-not-that format, we take a look at some common mistakes, and highlight lots of examples of photos that get it right… as well as those that miss the mark for a professional Real Estate Agent headshot.

Do you remember that website that showcased the world’s worst MLS photos? You know, the awful ones that went viral and made you literally cringe (or cry laugh)? Imagine the same concept, but of the world’s worst headshots.

You have to admit… Real Estate Agents (as a whole) have some bad ones. Let’s make sure you’re not one of those agentsshall we? Great photos do NOT always make great headshots.

Read on for tips to consider going into a professional photo shoot.

1. Choose the right clothing.

Do This…

Dress in professional clothing.

Look smart. Take your wardrobe up a slight notch for your photo session. But please, not completely out of the realm of how you actually dress / how your clients will actually see you on the job. Your future clients will appreciate your professionalism, and still recognize you on day one.

Not This…

Dress in clothes that are too casual.

Even if you dress to the nines when you actually meet your clients, you might have missed the chance if your headshot didn’t portray a professional impression. Would-be clients will keep scrolling.

2. Be prudent with your accessory choices.

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Include Accessories That Are Tasteful + True To Your Style.

Your look is yours alone. Wear glasses most of the time? Then wear them in your headshot! There aren’t any hard-and-fast rules about what you can and can’t include – but keep in mind that you want your choices to stand the test of time so your photos doesn’t feel outdated too quickly.


Not This…

Include Accessories That Are Trendy Or Distracting.

Having great style is one thing… but including super trendy or oversized accessories in your headshot is a no-go. Not only will it distract from the overall shots, it is likely to feel outdated sooner than it should, something you can easily avoid by making more timeless choices.

3. Don’t show too much skin. We mean it.


Do This…

Show A Little Skin… Conservatively.

Be confident in your own skin. But not so confident that you cross the lines of professionalism. If you wouldn’t wear it to the office, don’t wear it for your headshot. Enough said.

Not This…

Show Too Much Skin… Provocatively.

This is not the time to show off too much skin. Keep the crop in mind, too. Even if it’s your favorite shot of your face – if you crop every bit of clothing out of the shot, it still pulls the entire photo out of ‘professional’… and into ‘tacky’ territory. And goodness, me… no cleavage in a headshot, please.

4. Let your personality shine… but don’t get carried away.


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Let Your Personality Shine Through.

Want an artsy shot? What to show off your signature bright fingernails? Great! Within reason. Just make sure the focus of the photo is still setting a proper impression of you as agent. Too much “flair” when you’re being judged in a single photo can end up working against you. Make sure the shot showcases the version of you that your future client will be drawn to (presumably as the intelligent, helpful agent you are).


Not This…

Let Your Personality Hijack The Photo.

Your headshot is not the time to try to wow your audience with humor. And sorry, it’s also not time to showcase your love for your dog or your favorite hobby. Best case, you’ll get an eye roll instead of a phone call. Worst case, it’ll actually make a negative impression on those who haven’t met you. Keep your headshot to the business-y version of you, and let your ‘larger than life’ or ‘hilarious’ personality win them over in person. Mmkay?

5. Get creative for a shot that stands out from the crowd.


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Add Variety With A Non-Head-On Angle Or Use Of Natural Shadows.

Creative angles and use of shadows can make a headshot stand out in a good way. Make sure any shadows aren’t too dark, and don’t hide your face. And even if it’s not a head-on shot, it’s still best if you’re looking at the lens. It’s okay to get creative, as long as you are engaged with your target audience, and keep it professional.


Not This…

Add Variety That Makes People Wonder What The Heck You’re Doing.

You’re not atending a modeling shoot. You’re a professional. Trade the strange leaning and awkward gazes for standing tall and smiling. You can make your headshot your own without making people wonder what you’re doing (or what you’re looking at) in your photo.

6. Experiment with poses ahead of time, so they feel natural on photo day.


Do This…

Pose In A Natural Way.

Take a breath, and allow yourself to get comfortable in front of the camera. Being at ease will translate into confidence in your shots, and clients want to connect with someone who can lead them through a huge life event, in buying or selling their home. Allow yourself to relax, and know that posing is okay if it’s natural and you’re feeling comfortable.


Not This…

Pose In A Way That Feels Contrived.

Not sure what to do with your hands during a shoot? Just be sure to avoid striking an unnatural pose when you’re going for a professional headshot. While the photos might be cute for another purpose, they’ll translate as contrived (or worse, fake) in a business setting. Hold a small prop if your hands really need something to do.

7. Choose your props wisely.


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Carry An Appropriate Prop.

Tools of the trade (think tablets, laptops, pens/folders) can be fine to include in on-the-go type shots. Just don’t overdo it. Let them feel like a natural part of your photo, not like a photo prop that has to be placed just-so. Remember, people are looking at your headshot to gauge a connection or make a guess at whether you’d be a good fit for them professionally. Keep the focus on you. Simple is best.


Not This…

Carry On With Inappropriate Props.

No props should cover up your face in a headshot… so even on a sunny day, this is no occasion for shades. And I hope it goes without saying that you should NEVER take a professional headshot with alcohol or cigarettes/cigars, etc. It’s not appropriate in a professional setting, and is a no-no. Limit your props to tools of the trade, and make sure they take a backseat in your overall photo.

8. Embrace (don’t fight!) your age. This includes not over-editing your headshot.


Do This…

Embrace Your Age.

With age comes experience, and that’s everything in the Real Estate world. Embrace your age, and update your headshot often. You can capture a youthful look despite your age if you have a little fun with your setting and poses.


Not This…

Embrace That Decades-Old Headshot (and hold onto it for dear life).

Despite how much you wish it still looked like you, it doesn’t. You don’t want the real life version of you to be shocking when you meet someone. Let the real you shine. If you think it’s time to update your headshot, it probably is.

9. Smile.


Do This…


A smile in a headshot wins every time. Would-be clients will connect most if you’re looking at the camera, and wearing a smile. Friendly and approachable is the vibe we’re going for here. Have some fun, and say cheese!

Not This…

Do anything but smile.

Really… if you want your headshot to connect with new potential clients, you need to show those pearly whites. Not smiling isn’t going win anyone over. I mean… keep things professional – and don’t make it cheesy or overdone, but at least make a point to look confident and happy.

10. Use the internet to collect inspiration and share it with your photographer.

You can tell a lot about your likes and dislikes simply by browsing examples of Realtor headshots online.

Grab a few that you like, and save copies of them. This way, you can look at them side-by-side and figure out the common photo features and backgrounds that you’re drawn to.

Share some examples of what you’re going for with your photographer ahead of time so you’re sure to be on the same page. Doing this in advance will help make the most of your time with your photographer.

Best of luck with your headshots, and we hope you’ll be better prepared after reading these tips!

BTW. Before you go… did you know that this site is dedicated to providing Real Estate Agents with all sorts of information and resources to help them with their businesses?

Poke around here, and you’re likely to find some new tips and tricks for your Real Estate business. We are your people.

If you browse our Retirement Planning section, you might even unleash the motivation to set your own retirement plan into motion!  For me (an active Real Estate Agent), it’s more about financial independence than a formal retirement, but I’ve got my eyes on the prize. Financial freedom!

Curious how much money do you actually need to save up in order to be able to retire? We have an article for that!

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