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The Critical Role Photography Plays in Your Personal Marketing and Real Estate Lead Generation.

One of the key components in effectively branding yourself and creating that all-important emotional connection with all your marketing materials is using great photography. This blog post covers the important role your personal photos play in your marketing, and hopefully give you some good tips that will help you get the best photos possible.

First of all, I think it’s important that you understand how critical nature of your photos. Like it or not, great photos can go a long way toward developing goodwill with people even before they meet you. A genuine smile, a friendly face and a natural pose will, without a doubt, make your marketing materials more effective. On the other hand, poor quality photos or poses that look forced can actually hinder the effectiveness of your campaign.

Now that you understand how essential good photography can be, hopefully you realize the other half of this equation. Great photography is not cheap. Achieving great photography starts with interviewing photographers, looking at their portfolios and making sure you find someone you feel comfortable with. To frame it in real estate terms, I’d say finding a photographer you’re comfortable with is every bit as important as a homeowner finding a Realtor they’re comfortable with when buying or selling a home. This person needs to really capture your personality on film, and for you to allow that to happen, you need to have a comfort level with them. But more on that later…

One HUGE mistake we hear a lot from agents is someone saying, “Well, my brother-in-law has a really good camera, so I’m just gonna ask him to do my photos.” NO. STOP. This is a recipe for disaster. Unless that person you know with the really great camera has all the lighting equipment a professional photographer has AND has experience shooting commercial photography, don’t use him. Find yourself a real professional and consider it an invesment in your future success.

Once you’ve hired a photographer, you can’t just jump in the studio and start taking pictures. You need to do some preparation, and one of the first things you need to do is location scouting, just like they do when shooting a movie. When we create a campaign for people here at Hobbs/Herder Advertising, we provide each agent with specific samples of the type of photos that we’re looking for. These might include photos of them in their office, meeting with clients, showing a home, participating in a hobby or sport, or just hanging out with their family. The poses we send provide the tone and content we’re looking for, so then it’s up to you to actually find locations to shoot those photos.

Agents ask us, “Do I really need to go out on the golf course to shoot this golf photo or can you just superimpose me on a golf course?” Yes, you NEED to go out on the golf course. Investing a few extra hours in your photo shoot will go a long way toward getting great, evocative images for your campaign. So don’t cut corners. And you’ll need to get out there and find locations for each pose where the surrounding environment will complement the content of your photo. If you can find several locations within close proximity of each other, all the better. But don’t cut corners just to shave a few hours and dollars off your photo shoot.

Another key area of preparation is choosing your wardrobe. You don’t want to be wearing the same thing in all of your photos, so you need to choose several outfits that you’ll wear throughout the course of your photo shoot. Our advice is to dress the way your clients can expect to see you when they work with you. If you don’t wear a suit to work, don’t feel like you have to dress up for your photos just because that’s what real estate agents do. In other words, be yourself.

Now that you have your locations in order and a variety of outfits to wear, you’re ready to begin shooting. When that big day comes, your goal is to create powerful images that communicate so much. The body language in a pose speaks volumes. If you’re taking a representative shot of you interacting with clients, make sure everyone is relaxed and natural. Taking photos of yourself with family, friends, partaking of a hobby, will be more natural to take, but make sure it comes off looking relaxed and not forced. It’s very important to include a hobby shot, or a social shot so that you present a more rounded, friendly portrayal of who you are. Pieces that are all “sales” will be less effective because there is less of the emotional connection.

When we create marketing materials for our clients, it’s a little easier because they just have to recreate each of the sample photos we’ve carefully selected and placed in the brochure and other pieces. Those sample photos we provide are intended to depict the overall tone of the photo and what’s happening in the photo, but we don’t want you to try to recreate it down to the last detail. Trying to do that is where agents get into trouble because suddenly they don’t feel natural and they end up looking like statues instead of real people. This is where a good photographer shines. A good photographer will work with you to make you feel natural and comfortable and bring out your true personality. A good photographer will look at the sample photo and capture the same “feeling” while also capturing your individual style.

One thing that IS important for the photographer to adhere to is the vertical or horizontal orientation of each photo. Far too often photographers shoot photos in the wrong orientation, which then compromises the design of your marketing materials.

This article talks a lot about what the photographer should do during your photo shoot as opposed to what you should be doing, and for good reason. During that shoot, you should consider your photographer the director in a movie and you’re the actor. Follow his or her instructions and be willing to experiment with different poses. Also, and very importantly – LOOSEN UP AND HAVE FUN WITH IT. I know you’re not accustomed to the bright lights and attention of a professional photo shoot – and for many agents, the whole process will fall far outside their comfort zone – but the more comfortable you are, the better your photos are going to turn out.

So to sum up, getting outstanding photos that truly capture your energy and your spirit and make you look friendly and approachable involves taking it seriously, finding a great photographer, and if you are a Hobbs/herder client, working with your creative team. It also requires a willingness to invest the time and money to “do it right.” And finally, it depends on you devoting yourself to the experience and having fun with it to ensure the real you comes across in all of your marketing materials.

We hope these tips have been valuable to you, and we wish you good luck in your quest for great photography. If you have any questions, please email us at or contact your Hobbs/Herder creative representative directly.