The Perfect Head Shot

After determining how they get the caramel in a Caramilk bar I am going to try and answer the age old question of “Why do Realtors have pictures on their business cards?” As a marketing guy I actually know why, but I turned to the internet for some man on the street views:

From Yahoo Answers:

  1. So you know what they look like.
  2. Facial recognition – see a face remember a face- the name comes after.
  3. Because we realize that many times people remember the face before the name and in any sales biz recognition is everything!
  4. In addition to face recognition it helps while dealing with other Realtors and showing their listing(s). That way works as an ID as well a business card.
  5. Realtors are like little franchises. They work “WITH” the real estate company, they don’t work “FOR” them. That being said, think of the many times you may have seen McDonald’s advertising in a newspaper or magazine. They never forget to insert their logo, a Realtors’ face is his or her logo. This is because as they are building their businesses, they would like you to recognize their billboard/face if you passed them on the street. This way when they are on their own and no longer working with ABC Realty, you remember them as an individual agent, not the company they previously worked with.

What I find interesting is how correct all of these answers are. I would add a few more points in favor of Realtors putting their picture on their card:

  1. Buying or selling a home is the biggest financial transaction most people make and they must pick a Realtor that they feel they can trust and work with. Often this means finding someone their own age or in their “likeness”. Getting to see the Realtor before you call them can reduce the time it takes to find a match.
  2. People buy from people they like and a picture allows a potential client to determine if they might like this person, at least physically.
  3. If it is true that people buy or sell a home every 7 years, a picture on a business card reminds the client of who they are dealing with and creates familiarity.
  4. A Realtor is their own brand and when they use a slogan their physical appearance is part of that brand. If the branding is done correctly there should be an instant connection between the physical appearance and their slogan.

Any more ideas? Let me know.

A strong head shot on your business card or Web site can help bring you more business and conversely a bad photo can turn off potential customers. Your image should convey trust, professionalism, and confidence at the very least.

Photographer Scott Southall, owner of OC Portraits in Orange County, Calif., says a head shot should convey trust, professionalism, and confidence. Following is a mix of his comments and mine, but his are the ones that sound like he knows what he is talking about.

Keep your head shot current. What does a photo of you looking 20 years younger and 20 pounds slimmer say to the client when they meet you? (I fibbed about what I look like, but you can trust me in everything else I do) Update your photo whenever your appearance changes, probably about every three years.

Think business portrait, not glamour shot. Don’t go overboard with digital plastic surgery to remove wrinkles and gray hairs. Your photo should be a true representation of yourself. In Vancouver I recommend Dave Montizambert of Montizambert phtography. He has a service called Quickshotz People where he charges $ 149.00 and offers the following services:

  • Instant viewing
  • Digital capture
  • One image of one person
  • White background set (other choices $15.00 each)
  • 15 minute shoot time on QuikShotz set
  • Special ” vanity brush ” enchancement
  • Same day turn around

The reason I mentioned Dave is he photographed my wife for her business card and as he is carrying out his “vanity brush enhancement” we both looked at each other as he melted away the years and had to stop him before it looked like her grad photo.

Find the right light and frame. Lighting and framing can make or break a photo. For example, light striking your face predominantly from the left side can subliminally convey trust; a tight crop usually creates intimacy, making you look more approachable; and a smile along with smiling eyes conveys genuineness. A good photographer can recommend proper lighting, framing, backgrounds, and poses.

Dress appropriately. Your target market will help determine proper attire. If you’re in a coastal recreational market, a Bahamas shirt and casual dress may be appropriate, whereas a more formal market may call for a suit and tie. Regardless, don’t let your wardrobe, hairstyle, or makeup negatively distract prospects. I recommend you dress the same as you would during the average business day so people aren’t surprised when they meet you in khakis when your were photographed wearing a suit and tie.

When I worked for IBM we were mocked and made fun of because we wore a uniform of wing tip shoes and blue suits. At first I didn’t understand the need to dress conservatively, but it soon became obvious that with thousands of IBM sales people calling on tens of thousands of companies, if we all negatively distracted one buyer a day and lost the sale, revenues would be severely impacted. In all the years I wore shiny shoes and conservative suits I can’t say I ever lost a sale due to my poor attire.

Choose the right photographer. Find a photographer who realizes that getting a good head shot requires more than snapping five frames. The person should be tuned in to you and what you do, make you feel comfortable, and be honest in telling you when a smile looks more like a smirk.

Here are a few before and afters that I would like to share with you. The names have been erased as it is only the photos that are relevant.

ony Breen Orig Card rev. Tony Breen Business Card Picture rev

Cosmo Before Cosmo BusCard_v2abc

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