3 Considerations to Create the Best Real Estate Headshots in Los Angeles

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By The Light Committee

Most real estate agents understand how important it is to have the best headshot possible to use in marketing for new clients. You can passively use a headshot in your materials like business cards, a website, or yard signage to get noticed. You can also use it to create a brand out of your face, such as with Google Local Services ads, billboards, bus posters, and much more.

A real estate headshot of a woman in natural light in Glendale, CA
Want an Outdoor Headshot or In-Studio? Each Has Unique Messaging Advantages

Before you book a headshot session with a Los Angeles photographer, or in any other city, there are some things to consider. You might want to chat with the photographer you are thinking about to see how they can help with three things that will impact how your headshot comes out and how good they look when you use them.

Should You Choose a Headshot Session Indoors or Outdoors?

You might be on the fence trying to decide to do your headshot session in-studio or outdoors with natural light. On the one hand, with the control a photographer has in the studio, you can go for a polished, professional, focused look. On the other hand, with natural light in the right setting you can create a warm and inviting look. It can be tough how you want to present yourself.

Why not do both? Your headshot is an investment that can literally by itself help make you money. Like it or not, in some cases a potential client will be influenced to do business with you or not do business with you just by your headshot. Many studies show this. So, when getting headshots go all in.

There are many reasons why doing a session in-studio and outdoors is a good idea. A studio shot can be used during marketing efforts when you want to appear professional. For example, when you are marketing your ability to negotiate the best deals; when you are presenting your tactical capabilities like how you list a property or how you help with escrow and more. You might also want to use studio headshot when advertising on a business card or online and want to present as professional.

You might want to use an outdoor headshot in your marketing when you are selling clients on your approachability or how you will be there for them to address all their needs. You might want to use an outdoor warm and inviting headshot in your social media posts when you are trying to convince a client’s emotional side on why they should work with you. “I know how important finding your dream home is and I will bend over backwards to be the agent you need to help make your dream come true.”

men studio professional headshots in los angeles wearing a suit
A Studio Headshot Can Provide an Overall More Polished Professional Look

How Should You Present Yourself in Your Headshot?

Present yourself in your headshot how you would to a client. What does this mean, exactly? When you meet your clients, what do you typically wear? Do you go full suit? Do you go full business casual? Do you wear something in between? Do you wear makeup or jewelry? Are you always clean shaven?

The reason these are important is because a potential client that called you has likely seen your headshot before they called. If you then present yourself in the opposite clothes from what they saw in your headshot, it can be disconcerting. Your very first impression made was in that headshot. So, match that expectation as much as possible. So, the best overall advice in this case is to wear in your headshot what you will likely be wearing the first time you’d meet a client. It should also be what you’d normally wear each time you meet, or at least until a rapport is established.

Also, remember to update your headshot if your look significantly changes. Again, it can be disconcerting if you do not. What does it mean to say, “if your look significantly changes?” If you’ve gained or lost noticeable weight. If you’ve cut your hair short or let it grow long, or if you’ve changed its color. If you’ve grown or removed facial hair. If you started or stopped wearing glasses. If you’ve changed the style of clothes you wear.

Basically, imagine if your best friend went away for a year and you have not seen them the entire time. When they come back, you have an expectation of how they’d look from the last time you saw them. If you can imagine seeing in them anything that has noticeably changed, then consider the same for yourself and update your headshots.

woman real estate agent headshot outside Los Angeles
A popular perception about an outdoor headshot is that it can appear more inviting, as it adds natural warmth

Technical Things to Keep in Mind to Optimize Your Headshot

You are likely going to use your headshot in various places. You might use it on your business card. You might use it on front yard signage. You might use it on the agency website. You might use it on social media or other online profiles. There are technical considerations to ensure your headshot stays premium looking across all of these scenarios.

On Your Business Card

Take control of how your headshot will look on your business card. Usually, a person will take the headshot given to them by their photographer and hand it over to the business card designer. Then the designer shrinks it down to fit on the business card.

Instead, before you start working with a headshot photographer, ask your business card designer what actual size the photo will be on the business card, in either inches (like 1 inch wide by 1.25 inches tall) or in pixels (like 300 x 375). Then, you can ask your chosen photographer if they can provide the headshot in the standard sizes they provide but also in the dimension of 300 x 375 pixels at 300 DPI – which is essentially print quality. Now, go to your card designer with this headshot and tell them not to alter it, to ensure the best quality.

This way, you keep control of how it turns out. When a business card designer is shrinking it to fit, who knows what else is being done.

On Front Yard Signage

The most popular real estate sign size is 18 inches tall by 24 inches wide. So, just like above, figure out what size headshot you’ll be fitting in there. This is important because if a photographer gives you an 8×10 print quality file, but you want to use a size of 9.6×12 inches, you’re going to need to stretch it by around 20 percent, which means losing sharpness.

So, ask your photographer in advance if they can provide the size you need and submit that size to the yard sign designer. This will ensure the sharpest result, helping your sign pop more than most – or at least more than people who stretched their headshot.

On the Agency Website

I think you get the idea by now. Find out from the web designer what are the pixel dimensions that they use on the website and what is the typical file size of the headshot. For example, they might say they use headshots sized at 600×600 with a max file size of 100 KB.

Armed with this information, ask your photographer in advance if they can provide a headshot in that size with maximum quality for those parameters. Now, your photographer can do the compression to maximize quality instead of the website designer, which is primarily concerned with minimizing file size over how good the quality is.

On Online Profiles

For online profiles, most of them do their own compression when you upload a shot. It is recommended that you ask your photographer to provide a headshot with an ideal resolution for most online profiles in addition to a print quality file.

Now, test as you go. For example, on LinkedIn upload the print-quality file and check out how it looks on a desktop and on the app. Now delete the headshot and try the other resolution the photographer provided for most online profiles. Which one did LinkedIn compress to look better? Go with that one. Repeat on each online profile you will be using your headshot on.

Follow at least these three guides and you’ll be on your way toward maximizing the results and uses of your real estate headshot to stand out from the competition.