Taking Professional Real Estate Portraits and Realtor Portraits
So what’s the best way to photograph Real Estate professionals? I’m a Professional Commercial Portrait Photographer located in Pittsburgh PA and I’ve been shooting portraits for quite a few years now. I’m here to share with you what I think are the main things to consider when taking realtor portraits.
If you’re a Realtor and not a portrait photographer, there is still information here that you can use when preparing for your portrait.
Professional Looking Portraits
A Real Estate Professional should really have professional-looking portraits to use for their marketing needs. Professional looking photos communicate that the realtor is a true professional and not a someone that doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. Professional portrait photographers will understand what this means, but realtors may not. Professional portraits will at the very least have the following characteristics: Accurate Focus, good exposure, an appropriate background, good lighting, the proper expression, a flattering pose, and quality retouching. Non-professional photographers won’t even know where to begin. That’s why a professional produces professional-looking photos. Here are a few more details.
Wardrobe Selection for Realtor Portraits
AS the photographer, I prefer to let the subject choose their own wardrobe for the portrait. That’s one way that they can come through with their own personality and personality is very important in this industry. I usually suggest that the subject bring several options and we both get to talk over the selections before the shoot.
Makeup for the Realtor
Most realtors tend to be “every-day normal-looking people” and they’re usually not model material, just as photographers usually aren’t either… Having a makeup artist is a nice touch, but not necessarily a must have. With Photoshop as easy to use as it is, I can usually get by fixing any blemish issues that may arise. If the budget exists, or the client prefers to have a makeup artist, then by all means, hire one. Just make sure that the makeup is subtle and not meant for a super-model. The realtor needs to look normal and approachable.
Appropriate Background or Environment
The background you choose for the realtor portrait is very important. It should at the very least hint at person’s profession. That’s a good rule for any environmental portrait.
It’s usually a good idea to keep the background a little soft by shooting with minimum focus. This softens up the background and directs the viewer’s attention to the subject. I usually prefer to shoot near wide open. That tends to make the photo a bit more “sexy” and professional-looking.
There will be times when realtors need to have their portraits on a studio background. The company website may require it or maybe the company they work for has a standard look that they need to comply with. In that case, do what you need to do…
Good Portrait Lighting
This is one are where professionals can stand out from the armature photographer. Professionals not only have lighting equipment but can recognize good lighting and are able to create it on demand. I suggest that you don’t go for anything “cutting-edge”, but just nice, standard, portrait lighting. Light from the front, and make sure the subject separates from the background. The shadows shouldn’t be too dark and of course, the exposure needs to be right on the money.
The success of most portraits depends on getting a friendly expression. Realtors need to come off as friendly, approachable, and above all, trustworthy. I like to shoot a variety of expressions, especially different degrees of smiles. Some people tend to squint when they smile, so it’s a good idea to shoot everything from a little smile to a great big smile. Here’s a post I wrote on getting the best possible expression in a portrait.
Posing is a whole specialty in itself. I like to turn the subject slightly to the side. This tends to “slim” people down as much as possible. I also like to pose people so that they’re hands are clasped in front of them. By doing this, their arms help “V” down the silhouette of the person. Another pose I like is “folded arms”. Not all people can pull this off, but I find that it works pretty well.
Some people don’t like the folded hands pose because they read one time that it’s defensive body language. Personally, I think that’s crap. If the subject has a friendly expression, then the pose should be all about making the subject’s body as attractive as possible.
If there are things to sit on or pose beside, then I try other poses that make the subject look at ease and comfortable, but it the person is standing out in the open, I find that the clasped hands and folded arms are my two favorite poses. I will sometimes try “one hand in the pocket”, but that usually doesn’t work so well.
Subtle Portrait Retouching
The realtors you photograph must look like real people. Don’t go crazy on the retouching. They need to look like normal, trustworthy professionals, not plastic super models.
If you are a Real Estate professional looking for a portrait photographer in the Pittsburgh market, I hope that you consider calling me to shoot your photo. If you’d like to discuss that project or any other, you can reach me by phone at 412-232-4444 or contact me by email. I’d love to take your Professional Realtor Portrait.