145: Going Beyond the Boring Realtor Headshot

June 14, 2022

Episode 79 Buyers Buyers Buyers

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We’ve all been there: you show up to closing and meet the co-op agent only to be faced with someone you don’t recognize who is nearly 30 years older than their “current” real estate photo. This has been a running joke in the industry for years, and it’s funny because it’s true. In today’s conversation we call in our favorite brand photographer(and money guru), Sarah Becker, to help us take our business photography to another level. Agents are their brand and need to have images for business cards, websites, email signatures, signs and most importantly, social media. Listen in for the big “no-no’s” when it comes to headshots and get some better alternatives as far as posing goes. Sarah gives us great tips on choosing a photographer, location, outfits and even props for a photoshoot. She also gives some great tips if you don’t have the budget for a photographer yet and want to take killer photos yourself. So much practical advice in one episode! Sarah Becker is a photographer in the New Orleans area and you can find her on social media, @SarahBeckerphoto.

Katy
In case someone chose not to listen to Sarah talk about money. Why don’t you reintroduce yourself and tell us who Sarah is? Full context though? Tell us everything about Sarah. So everyone knows who you are?

Sarah
Absolutely. So my name is Sarah Becker. I’m a bit of a serial entrepreneur. I have been a photographer since 2008. I am also a real estate investor. And I’m also a financial educator with my company. “Becker Talks Money”, you can check me on episode 141. If you skipped it, because you were scared, I understand. But let’s go back. I’m nice. I’m not gonna bite. And I have known Katy and Alissa for a few years now because I take their branding photos. So if you’ve ever seen a picture of Katy and Alissa, you have seen my work and their beautiful faces.

Katy
Go check out our Hustle Humbly Instagram, and you will see us there. I have a question about that, since you just brought it up. And please accept my apologies on the front end, because I always forget. I’ve had photographers before that got a little worked up. And we didn’t tag them every single time we used their photo. And I obviously use your photos all the time without tagging you. And you can tell me the truth, the honest truth. Does it bother you when you don’t? Well, how often do you feel like you want to be tagged?

Sarah
It does not bother me at all. I think I think when people are bothered by it, like I understand why people are bothered by it, probably just starting out. They’re trying to make a name for themselves. But you know, what I have found in my business is that word of mouth matters a lot more than being tagged on Instagram. And you know, if someone were to ask you like, oh, like I’m a real estate agent in New Orleans, and I’d love to get some photos. Do you have any ideas? And you said, No, I have no idea. I’d be like, Oh, what about me, but I know that you’re gonna say Sarah Becker. And that matters so much more to me than a tag. And I will also say, I mean, this is kind of like a humble brag, and I don’t mean it to be but I have had the amazing opportunity to work with so many amazing, amazing business owners and I get tagged multiple times a day on Instagram, and it’s it can be overwhelming and I feel bad that I don’t always share every picture I’m tagged in because it would just be Share, share, share, share, share, share, share again I’m very #blessed to be in that position. So no, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t even notice. And you know, sometimes I’ll see you post a picture that I took and I’ll share it because I’m so excited that it looks so good.

Katy
Okay, thank you, that makes me feel so much better because I’ve had photographers in the past that made me feel very bad and uncomfortable; not that I was trying to slight them but like I forgot or like just you know.

Alissa
It makes you feel better. I have definitely posted pictures of myself that other photographers have taken and forgot to tag them. Okay, so we’re you know, like we’re all here but you know, we found you because you took our good friend Anna Kornick’s pictures and she tagged you so at the same time I’m like well shoot that’s how we found you that way.

Katy
Well, that’s true but also having you on the podcast helps right.

Sarah
No, I’ll I accept your apology. Thank you for the podcast.

Katy
Humans of Greater New Orleans area. This is Sarah she could take your photo.

Sarah
141 was more like my money thing. And yeah, this episode is all okay, because it seems like I’m an artsy visual person.

Katy
Yeah, that’s a great question too. Because you are one person doing both of these things. So you’re very like right brain and left brain like, what are you?

Sarah
Yes, I consider myself whole brained. Not left, not right. And I’m also you know, I’m very ambivert people like are you an introvert or an extrovert? I’m both like, I really just like to straddle all the lines of personality.

Katy
I love that and we’re not going to dig deep into that. I’ve never heard ambivert, but I have heard of an extroverted introvert, which is how I identify. So I have a limit, like I love people and I can get out there. But at the end of the day, I’m gonna need some quiet time and y’all have to get away from me. And when I hit the limit, it’s done. Yeah, very interesting. Okay, so let’s talk photography today. So Alissa, you can just come along for the ride. You’re just our eye candy. Today, we are not going to talk about real estate photography, which is a totally different ballgame. And I don’t think that you take real estate photos. It is a totally different skill set. And it’s very, like regimented and not artistic at all or technical. And what we’re talking about is branding photos and taking photos that you would use them in maybe your social media content or in your business. I want to start at the very basics. Most people when they get into real estate, the first thing they say is I need a headshot. Right. So let’s talk about headshots because I have some opinions and I want to hear your thoughts on, do you take headshots? What are your thoughts on you know business type headshots. And what are some good tips for people?

Alissa
I almost feel like headshots and business cards are in the same family. Do people do them? Katy
Because you need the headshot to put on the business card. But do you even really need a business card? No, but you need headshots to put on all the websites and all of your email signatures. Sarah, tell us, do you ever take headshots?

Sarah
Yes, I absolutely take headshots. I will say you can make headshots feel fun, you can make them feel lively, but there are definitely some things to stay away from. So I always tell people I don’t want to see you wearing a white button down. I want you to wear something that you wear when you’re meeting a client for the first time or something like that or something you feel comfortable in? Number two, think out of the box with the background, your background does not need to be white. Where do you go when you walk your dog? Is your home photogenic? Let’s invite people into your space. So always ask your photographer to take multiple angles like portrait and landscape because that’s a nice way to make your headshot look a little less headshotty. And then I also recommend making eye contact with the camera because this is the first time someone’s going to see you. And to try to have that connection with them. And also, if you know what your ideal client is, if you can do something in your headshot to connect with them. If you are an LSU alum and a lot of you know, ideal clients are going to be LSU alum; we’re an LSU shirt.

Katy
Now talk to me about poses because I’ll tell you what annoys me to no end on, the crossed arms. I cannot stand the crossed arms because of body language.

Sarah
I think it’s because people don’t know what to do with their hands. Here is a word of advice. Your hands are not in your headshot. So it doesn’t matter what you do with them. I love hands in pockets. You know why? Because it brings your shoulders back, it relaxes your body. Just put them in your pockets. No one’s gonna see them and then it relaxes the top part of your headshot space.

Katy
That’s a great tip. Just shove your hands in your pocket. You know, like Talladega Nights and Ricky Bobby’s, I don’t know what to do with my hands!

Sarah
Yes, and I will say as someone who has also photographed many weddings in her career, men and groomsmen never know what to do with their hands. I mean, that’s really why we have bouquets for bridesmaids is to give them something to do so the struggle is real.

Katy
So the other thing is we have a lot of teams in real estate, like two person teams. And this is the other one that annoys me when they’re back to back, arms crossed,like they’re Charlie’s Angels.
It’d be funny if we’re making like a finger gun, but it’s like our cross back to back.

Sarah
So very similar to what you talked about, like how when you cross your arms, it’s kind of a closed off position. I love a shoulders together kind of moment where you’re both facing a little bit and to each other because it shows the body language in between you as comfortable and then your other shoulders kind of toward the camera. This is kind of hard to describe. I really think about the audio part of the podcast. And I also like that you can be close without looking like it’s an engagement photo. I have done so many Team photos. No, we don’t wanna look like we’re getting married, like we’re colleagues, you know, but that does not mean that you need to be standing stiffly next to each other.

Katy
Okay, I want to tell you the funniest story. So before we started the podcast, before we knew you, we had a photographer come to Allisa’s house to do our first set of branding photos So Alissa does not like those partner tight photos. If you’re not super close, it looks weird. Like you have to get kind of close. Some of the photos are the photographer is like, put your arm around her. The face that she’s making is absolutely hilarious. And she’s like, Why? Why I don’t want to be touched. Please stay away from me. It’s not comfortable. But I guess my point is, that was hilarious to me. And we have come a long way. So you see us now when we’re like, Okay, fine. If you want to touch, it’s gonna be okay.

Sarah
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if the photographer isn’t offended, you should definitely do a roundup of those photos on your Instagram. Like it really started from the bottom, now we’re here.

Alissa
Starting the podcast, I had to get used to hearing my voice, seeing me on camera, taking photos, taking photos of myself working on my laptop, and it was all a whole new world to me. Now it’s not at all. Now I have no problems.

Katy
To be fair, our listeners, especially new agents are probably like, I’m uncomfortable being photographed. I don’t want to wait, oh, yeah, photos in front of my computer or doing stuff. And maybe they want to be present on social media. But they also don’t want to put their face in it. And I think they’re just pushing through and doing it over and over again. You just kind of get used to it. And I think maybe answer this for me, Sarah, how do you find a good photographer that’s going to make you comfortable? How do you know? Because we’ve used different photographers and they are all different. And having someone who makes you laugh or makes you feel comfortable does make the process a lot easier?

Sarah
Yes, that’s a great question. So for me, word of mouth is always the biggest, like if you see a photos of an agent, and you’re like, I like those, ask who did them. I also will say that a lot of photographers are like, I’m an artist. There’s nothing wrong with that. But you know what artists don’t necessarily want to tell you what to do. They’re not going to tell you how to pose, they’re not going to take control of the situation. I think for branding photos where you need to be directed, you need a type A personality. It’s not like a wedding where someone can just sit back and photograph what unfolds. So I would also look for someone that you know is going to come fix your hair because it looks good. I’m going to tell you to get closer even though I know you’re not going to like it; I know the photo is going to look better.

Alissa
I feel like I’m right now in phase two of the awkward spectrum because I’m fine taking them, but I’m still not great about sharing them. I’m fine sharing pictures that I’m in with Katy on to our facebook page, but all the wonderful headshots are cute but wasted. If you go to my Instagram, it’s always me, like my face is there occasionally but in a group setting or doing something. It’s not just professional photos. I don’t know why it makes me feel strange.

Katy
Alright, so this is the reason why this is all important anyway, because people have to get to know you because you’re providing a service where people are spending time with you. Just like your photographer is providing you a service and they’re spending time with you. And if they go to search for you and get to know you online before they hire you, they need to get a glimpse into that, right? So for instance, I recently posted one of the photos Sarah took of me alone sitting on a bed reading a book. Oh, Jay and I went to a wedding and I made Sarah come because I wanted to write off the hotel room. And it was in Covington, which was this October.

Alissa
I was like, I don’t recognize this bed. And we weren’t there.

Katy
Sarah don’t tell her we were alone together. Sara came and took some photos because I wanted to write off the hotel room. And it was very expensive. So we took the photos in the hotel room. But I posted one of those photos and I retold the story. And honestly I pulled a caption from an old social media post from two years ago. I retold the story of my name, just the origin of my name. But someone will go to my social media and be like, oh, this is interesting, I’m gonna click here, and I’m gonna read about it. And people made so many comments on it. And if you don’t connect with your audience like that, they don’t feel like they know you, like you, trust you and want to use you. Do you share photos of yourself? Do you find it difficult to remember to do that?

Sarah
Yes, yes. To all the above, I think that practicing helps a lot. The more photos you post of yourself, the more comfortable you’re going to feel. I felt that way with reels; I was so uncomfortable. I did my first reels and thought there’s no way I will do this. But now I do them all the time. And they’re so fun. And I also would challenge you to think of it kind of like reverse engineering. Who are the people that you really connect with on Instagram? Go to their feeds and you are gonna realize that they are posting a lot of photos of themselves. It’s literally how we connect in this day and age with people. So that always motivates me to kind of think about like, Well, who am I connecting with? I want to make sure that the people who follow me connect with me in that same way.

Katy
Yeah. I don’t look at all of them and say I want to post every one of these. There’s a handful, but that’s why we take so many photos. 50% are garbage to me. I’m like, I’m not sharing these. I don’t and not because you took them because I don’t like the way I look. You could share every one of those photos and the people who follow you. It’s totally a mineset getting through photography. And having it is important because if you go to a real estate agent’s feed and all that is in there are just sold/just listed and houses, right? I know what you do, but I don’t say Oh, I’d like to work with you. I know the story of your family or where you live or where you like to hang out or your favorite restaurant. I don’t know anything about you other than you sold the house down the street. Well, so what, that doesn’t compel anyone to take action? Sarah, tell us some common photo mistakes. So we talked about a few in reference to the headshot, but if you were branding photos, or even if you’re taking photos of yourself, what are some mistakes that people make?

Sarah
So I think the biggest mistake is probably not being personal enough. One tip i like is If you’re taking photos of yourself is to actually take a video instead. To set up your phone on the tripod, take a video, go back, you can do a few little poses. And then once you have the video, you can skim through it and screenshot the poses that you like. I always tell people that’s what you want is you want it to feel natural, like someone’s sitting in the room with you. And you know, we don’t sit in the room with our arms crossed. And if you do that’s a bad sign. You don’t wanna hire that real estate agent, right? No. So that’s a good thing. And I will say that probably the biggest mistake is just kind of corny, but it’s not taking them right. It’s not sharing them. Like as long as you’re sharing something like, again, Done is better than perfect. Start somewhere and you can always improve over time because practice improves.

Katy
Yeah. And you just get used to seeing yourself just like you get used to hearing yourself. You just thinking like, I’m just desensitized to being annoyed about this

Alissa
This is our third or fourth photo shoot that we just did. It was the easiest, quickest, smoothest, the most photos in all. I mean, we just have it down now.

Katy
Yeah, it does kind of become a science if you’re working with the same photographer, I believe that you just kind of get into a rhythm a little bit. And then you know what we need based on what happened last time. So let’s talk about planning your branding photoshoot? I think that you need to know if maybe you have upcoming content or something that you do all the Alissa always takes a photo with her open house sign or with her sold sign because she likes to add it to her post with the houses when she’s doing an open house so that at the end, there’s her holding the open house sign it look very cute. But tell us your thoughts on how to plan for a branding shoot? Because I do think that’s why it moves a little bit more smoothly.

Sarah
Yes, absolutely. You’re so good at planning. And I think that that comes to thinking about your quarterly content calendar, like what are things you want to be talking about? Obviously, that’s going to be different for you guys, because you were talking to your buyers or sellers, but also other real estate agents. But I think for real estate agents kind of thinking about what neighborhood do you want to be selling and buying? And let’s go to the most popular coffee shop there and take some pictures. Really be thinking about where’s your ideal client, let’s go there for the photos. And then making sure that you have a lot of photos kind of like with different facial expressions so that no matter what you’re talking about, you could like it’s kind of corny, but you could look surprised or you could look excited or you know, you can look sad, and you’re really good at doing that. And then I can kind of see how you post them. And that also helps as we planned shoots together because I know which pictures you’ve chosen to use. And that helps me create more photos that are like that.

Alissa
Is it funny to you to see our hustle humbly posts and how we use the picture for which episode?

Sarah
Yes, I love it. It’s so fun for me. I read every single one.

Katy
We have so many pictures toasting because we toast every episode and then want to post that. So we have an asinine number of pictures of us toasting. It is kind of funny that it’s repetitive. So whenever we saw you this time, we had to bring multiple types of beverages and because then we realized it was hard to keep up with the content because we would just have us toasting that one, you know champagne glass in like three positions and well, nobody wants to see this over and over and over again. So now we’re choosing coffee and we’re choosing a cold drink and we’re choosing tea. What else can you bring? So let’s talk about props. What are some good props for a real estate agent? What should they bring to their photo shoot that they’ll be able to utilize and make them feel and look more natural.

Sarah
So nothing is really helpful before a branding shoot is to as you were going about your day, literally take note of the things that you’re using. Are you using a lockbox? Do you have an emotional support water bottle Alissa. What are you doing throughout the day? Do you always have a planner with you? Or are you more of a phone kind of girl. What do you have in your purse? What are you carrying around from client to client and use those things? Because really what I like to do especially in a first branding shoot is think about what’s your ideal day. Let’s photograph that day because then you’re gonna have lots of different moments you can share on social.

Katy
Okay, answer this for me, because I don’t know if I have an opinion or not. Agents are in their car a lot. You’ll see this with photos of them in the car or photos of them on the phone. Cheesy not cheesy?

Sarah
That’s real. I think that’s like, Hey, I’m on the go. I’m working hard for you. I like it. But you know, we also have a quantity issue now that we didn’t have five years ago, where you just need a lot of images. Back then you could be like, oh, I need one image for my business card, one image for my website. Now, it’s like, well, if you’re going to post every day, you need 30 images a month.

Katy
Okay, we kind of talked about what to wear and what not to wear. But is there any other tips on, is it solids better? Or patterns? What do you advise as far as clothing?

Sarah
I think it totally depends on your personality. What is your favorite thing to wear? And you’ll hopefully have to wear that if your favorite thing to wear is like your college sweatshirt. And it’s like ratty and bleached, stained, okay, we’re not going to wear that. But maybe we could wear something similar. And you want to wear something that is going to help people recognize you. So, if you were wearing a three piece suit in your headshot photo, and you show up wearing a t- shirt and jeans to a showing, that’s not consistent. You need to be photographed wearing what you’re going to wear when you meet with clients. So that’s one big thing. And then I always, think too, that something that looks good on you is helpful. And when in doubt, poll your audience. Everyone’s audience is so different. And what’s going to resonate with them is going to be different.

Katy
That makes sense. I want to tell a story about branding photos I took before the podcast. And it was probably one of the first times I did them for just real estate, you know, as an agent, and I didn’t it was mostly just a few different outfits in different positions. It wasn’t me on the computer or anything that would have been more helpful. But I wore a nice Navy shirt or whatever, white shirt and then I had a denim jacket on. Okay, right is my favorite. Not now because I have so many more. But at the time. I love that picture. I put it on my business card. And I put it on my Zillow. And if people saw me as the lead person, here I am in this denim jacket. And I would ask you, I’m like, What do you think about this picture? They’re like, Oh, I love it. I said Does it make you feel like you want to have a beer with me? Because that’s what I want it to be like, do you feel like you want to go for a beer with me? And they’re like, yeah, totally. And that’s how I felt when I felt like I was comfortable in it. It looked like something I would obviously wear and that it was very approachable, right? Like it was a very approachable outfit. The other thing I don’t think people take into account is they like to get very done up in the hair department. But they never show up to their appointments that way. And I think that is such a good point difficult because then you’re like, Oh, here you are with your full beauty pageant hair. But when you come for showings, you’re in a messy bun. Well, you could take a cute photo and a messy bun. You went out in public like that to do the showing, so why didn’t you take the photo like that? And I think people really miss the boat on that. Because they just do their hair. And maybe like I wear glasses. I wouldn’t show up for my brand photos with my contacts. And then every showing I go to I wear glasses. That doesn’t make any sense.Who are you when you show up? And I think it’s really important that we take the pictures looking like who you are when you show up?

Sarah
Yes, that’s huge. If you take one thing from this episode, that’s the best thing to remember.

Katy
How often would you say an agent or Realtor would want their brand photos done?

Sarah
That’s a really great segue from what we were just talking about, because if you were a person who’s changing hair look all the time it could be a problem. If your hair is brunette, and then you dye it blonde, it’s time for new branding photos. Because again, you want to be showing up how you actually look in your branding photos. But if you’re not doing that, I would say every six months is ideal. I totally wish and a lot of people do it every year. But when people do it every year, they kind of peter out and or their branding session is really intense and overwhelming because we’re having to cover a lot of things. So I think every six months is a sweet spot for a typical real estate agent. Now I know the three of us shoot together more like once a quarter. And that’s necessary because again, you have the podcast, you have other things going on that you need to have content content for.

Katy
Yeah, and it really it just depends if you were putting out a ton of content as an agent, then you might need to go to quarterly because you have to pump out so much content. But if you’re kind of an average poster, and you want to make sure your website and your everything is up to date then yes, every six months make sense to me.

Alissa
So I do our Monday posts for the episodes. So I go through all of our branding photos to find the photo that I think is best for that episode. And I knew this go round that even if we weren’t doing complete outfit changes, we needed a lot of different shirts. Because I found that I was always looking at what I have posted, like, what do our squares look like, and I didn’t want that purple shirt showing up all the time. And so we brought a lot of different shirts this last session where we were just changing just to change it up. And we changed all the time. And it was so helpful.

Katy
I think it’s also helpful when you’re going to a location that has, like, we went to a coffee shop and we did some inside and we did some outside and there was a white wall next to the building next door. We did some there. Try to utilize all the space that you’re in. If you do it in a house, take some of the living room, take some in the kitchen, take some at the front door. I think that being quick and moving from place to place, even if you’re wearing the same shirt, or you’re just changing the shirt three times and moving around the facility or if you can do two locations even better. Which brings up my next question, how many outfits do you think is this the right thing? Is there a right answer? What is your thought?

31:15
I don’t think there’s a right answer. I think that you should always ask your photographer, how many photos am I going to get from the session. Because when we shoot together, we shoot a lot. I probably have a top percentile of how many photos I actually deliver. So I think it’s really important to plan according to your photographer. But I agree with the more shirts and tops that you can switch out. Kind of how we did it this last time, it was really easy for y’all just to switch your shirt. So we were able to kind of keep going, the more you can plan ahead, the better.

Katy
I think that is a great point too. If you can be prepared for your photographer for some still shot items that they can do while you’re making that outfit change. So do they just want to take a picture of your computer? Or just your phone? Or do you have some brand categories? Are you always drinking coffee or wine? Or can they take pictures of that somewhere while you’re doing the outfit change? And then you just end up with a few extra photos that you aren’t in. But that would be helpful for your brand?

Sarah
Absolutely, I think that any props that you’re bringing, you should absolutely get still photos of those. And that’s a great use of your photographer’s time. I don’t think I stopped shooting at all this last time. Even though y’all were changing multiple times, it was always something else to shoot. Alissa, to your point that kind of helps break up the feed to have some still photos going off to be photos of you or photos of you in action. And again, like when it comes to outfits. I also think it depends on how often you’re doing them. I’ve had a couple clients in the past where I shot for them every single month. So if that’s the case, you really only need two to three tops, right? Yeah, but if you’re gonna do a three to four hour branding shoot once a year you would or bring 12 tops.

Alissa
What else do you feel like people can do to help make your job easier when they show up for branding photos?

Sarah
Planning things out is so helpful for me. But again, it’s very individual to each photographer, like some photographers are more fly by the seat of their pants or whatever. And then I also think that being willing to take any kind of photo is helpful. To know that this is all an experiment. And so not to get too in your head about it; to know that there’s some photos are gonna work, some photos aren’t. To have that kind of outlook can give your photographer the confidence to try some things they may not normally try. And normally those are some of my favorite photos.

Katy
How long is a branding session typically? Is there not an answer? Is it photographer dependent?

Alissa
Our last one was long and I needed snacks.

Sarh
I think that the last one we did was right at two hours. I think people petter out at 90 minutes. So I really think about it in 90 minute blocks and 90 minute increments. And you know, in the future, we could do something like a 90 minute morning session, break for some lunch and then do a 90 minute afternoon. So I’m not saying you need to limit it to 90 minutes, but at 90 minutes, people need a break. People need a snack; photographers included.

Katy
Yeah, it’s a lot of time to be smiling and posing and a lot of time. And you’re saying if you’re only doing it let’s say once a year and it’s a long day, what if you’re having a bad day? What if you’re having a bad hair day? What if you’re not feeling your best? It’s not like you can just automatically show up and say, I’m ready to smile and I’m feeling so great today. Sometimes you don’t feel great. And so the more frequently you take them, the less you have to worry about that because you have to put so much pressure on yourself. People put a lot of pressure on themselves.

Sarah
I think as a photographer my ideal schedule would be like 90 minutes every quarter.

Katy
Yeah, I think that makes perfect sense. I think it’s a nice rule of thumb. Okay, so we didn’t really get deep into specific props. But can we talk about props and poses? like, I think a laptop, right? We talked a little bit about what you use every day. But for any agent or any business, you need your laptop, and you need to be photographed in front of it or behind it. Some type of beverage in your hand, I feel like it’s always natural and helpful. What are some other go-tos like that?

Sarah
Yeah, so I love something that you could overlay text on later. So whether that’s like a stack of books that you’re carrying, or a notebook you’re writing in, like, I think that that can be super helpful. We have not really done this with the two of you because you have each other but I love another person as a prop. To be able to like walk someone through a house or like meet that person for coffee and have some interactive photos. I think that’s great, because that helps people. Yeah, it helps people mentally put themselves in that other person’s shoes to see how you’re interacting with them. A close up of both of your hands having a coffee. Leading someone into a house, but it’s from the back of them, but like their faces, you’re explaining something to them. Like it could be kind of like a little enactment of what a showing would be. I love that. I also love an open house enactment. So you know, what do you do to prepare for an open house? I know Katy, you and I have done that. Are you going to put flowers out? Well, let’s get those flowers. Let’s cut these stems, let’s put them in the vase. Are you going to bake the cookies? Are you going to light the candle? Things like that I think are also really helpful. The more things you can do to show an action, like obviously, we only have the computer shot, but the computer shot is kind of a bummer. Because it’s really like only your fingers are moving. The more action you can show. Back to the car photo, I love people putting things in the back of their car, people taking things out of the back of their car, again, action. Because what you’re trying to show is how hard you’re going to work for these people. These people that are gonna hire you.

Katy
So it’s kind of a running joke in the real estate field that Realtors would get a headshot when they started. And then they would continue to use said headshot for 20-50 years and never change it. And when I talk about showing up with a different hairstyle, these people showed up in another decade, like during hair. It’s like a joke. And I think it’s so funny because I feel like we’re getting past it now like the younger generation of Realtors are like, well, I need current photos. But when I got in, there were lots of agents that you go meet at closing and be like, what, that’s you?

Sarah
I’ve had that experience as a buyer.

Katy
Okay, and how did that make you feel as a buyer?

Sarah
Very disoriented.

Alissa
It’s so funny because I was recently thinking about adding some highlights to my hair because I am getting some grays and I have dark hair. So they like to shine in the sun. But then I was like, then do I have to evaluate all my photos?

Sarah
Yeah, I don’t think highlights mean you have to evaluate all your photos. But if you lose 100 pounds and chop your hair, then it’s time.

Katy
We’ve even taken photos while Alissa was pregnant. And you don’t want to not use the photos. So you kinda have to be mindful of more like waist up or like what she was holding books in front of her stomach. Can we talk a little bit about in the interim. So let’s say you’re getting brand photos once a year or twice a year? What are some tips for agents to take their own photos? Like if they need to take some photos? Or like if they’re having a friend? They’re partnering up and taking some photos in between? What are some good pieces of advice? I love that video that makes total sense. But are there any other tips if you’re taking photos on your own?

Sarah
So I love the video trick. Also lighting, lighting, lighting, lighting. Put yourself in flattering light; put yourself in daylight. I know a lot of influencers use a ring light, that is not great for photos. Make it daytime, make it natural light. And then if you’re doing them like on your iPhone and you want to edit, I will say find a couple presets that you really like and then edit consistently for your feed. I’ve even created some mobile presets for clients that look like I’m taking photos in between. I’d like them to look like your photos that can help make it more consistent. So I think that that’s huge. Just showing up; just doing it is the most important thing. It does not have to be perfect. If you really feel like this is not a strength of yours, I always tell people black and white it, make them black and white. You don’t have to worry about the color contrast or anything weird coming in. And you can use your professional photos for the color.

Katy
When you do presets, are you just using Adobe Lightroom? The mobile version?

Sarah
Yes, I love Lightroom, the mobile version. I have people who use Afterlight and really like it. The best system is the one that works for you. So which app do you like? Try a couple of them. I like Lightroom. But of course it is because I use Adobe Lightroom on my computer to edit everyone’s photo. So I’m familiar with the vernacular and know how to do the presets. But again, anything works as long as it’s consistent. Some people literally will just go into the photo app and up the exposure, up the contrast, and they’re good to go.

Katy
What about any equipment that would make photographing yourself easier?

Sarah
I love the clicker, the tripod. You can get both those things for 25 bucks on Amazon. So that’s not a huge investment. And you know, for me, personally, I feel more comfortable taking my own photos in that sense than asking my husband to take a photo because then I just feel weird.

Alissa
I think it’s funny how even this goes back to mindset and just feeling confident. You are your business. So you put yourself out there so that people know you.

Katy
And if you’re a secret agent, that’s because they don’t know you; it’s very important that they know you. And if they don’t know you, they’re not going to choose you and it is that serious. I think photography is that serious? Like, if they can’t see you, if they don’t know anything about you, then maybe they’re just going to pick the agent that they do know because they need to connect. This is a big deal; they don’t want to talk to you about all this very personal information and very important decision and they don’t know anything about you. So I think brand photos are actually very important and vital in your business. And I think all of this was super helpful.

Sarah
I would just say again, done is better than perfect. Try it, do it. The more you do it, the better you’re gonna feel about it. And the more people you’ll be able to connect with will be able to find you, which is what it’s all about.

Katy
I love it. I think the tip of just going through your normal day and imagining what do you do? Yeah, get some photos of that. Use those props. Makes perfect sense.

Sarah
I was listening to a podcast and someone was saying, you know, I like to show up on Instagram stories throughout the day. And so I just set my alarm for every hour, every 60 minutes, it goes off and I share what I’m doing. That’s a lot you don’t need to do this as a real estate agent. But as you’re thinking about what things to share, do that for one day and then just jot down what you’re doing. That’s a great way to prep for a branding shoot.

Katy
Okay, let’s do a toast. Today’s toast comes to us from Deborah Blowers. I am brand new, but I’d like to make a toast to my broker who was sharing a listing with me so I can learn and has been patiently answering my mountains of questions. Her name is Kathleen and they are in central Ohio. Okay, so cheers, Kathleen. And congrats to Deborah for getting started and Kathleen is taking her under her wing. I like it. That’s so nice. Okay, Sarah, tell the people where to find you before we leave that in case they didn’t listen last time.

Sarah
You can find me on Instagram @SarahBeckerPhoto or on the Internet at SarahBeckerPhoto.com

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Two Realtors fostering community over competition through light-hearted conversations.

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