Beginners Guide

Guide For How To Take Real Estate Headshots

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A Guide on How to Take Real Estate Headshots

Knowing how to take real estate headshots can help to increase your income and expand your list of services offered. Luckily, as real estate photographers, we already have all the gear necessary to take on this task.

This article will outline everything you need to know about how to take real estate headshots.

Table of Contents

How to Take Real Estate Headshots

Learning how to take real estate headshots will certainly help your business. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to capture a great looking headshot in 20 minutes or less every time.

It’s such a quick and easy way to increase the total amount on the invoice you’re delivering. You’ll also be offering a needed service to your clients. It’s so helpful to them if the same person that photographs the homes they sell can take their headshot as well.

It also can be a great introduction to new real estate agents. If a new agent needs a headshot and calls you, it only makes sense that they will call you for their real estate photography needs as well.

Finally, it’s simply another part of real estate photography that other real estate photographers might not offer. An expansive list of services that realtors can take advantage of is an excellent way to land and keep clients.

Now, here are some great tips on how to take real estate headshots.

Use the Right Gear

Most real estate photographers already have the right camera equipment to capture real estate headshots. Ideally, you’ll be using a 24-70mm f2.8 type lens plus a flash, either on-camera or off-camera.

Although a tighter lens is ideal, you can still get some great portraits using something like a 16-35mm f4, you’ll just want to make sure you’re photographing at 35mm. Any wider and the portrait looks a bit wonky.

If you only have super-wide lenses like a 10-18mm, then you might want to pick up a 50mm prime lens. They’re very inexpensive, great for portraits, and will certainly pay for themselves after just a couple headshots.

Any flash will do for headshots. If you don’t already have a flash, go ahead and check out our article Best Flashes for Real Estate Photography. They will all work perfectly for real estate headshots as well.

We’ll talk about how to use a flash later in this article. For now, just understanding that a lens of 35mm or tighter and a flash are two things you’ll definitely want if you’re going to be offering realtor headshots.

Lighting is Everything

Lighting is everything. As real estate photographers, this is something that we all already know. So when you’re photographing a real estate agent, find the best light and then try to set up the photo so you can utilize it.

The shoot will likely be taking place at their office or in one of the properties that they’re selling. The best tip I can give is to find the most natural light possible and have the agent pose so it’s lighting up their face.

Use windows (like you see in the image below) to allow beautiful, soft light to do most of the work for you. Then, use your flash to fill in the shadows. This will give you a great balance rather than having the flash overpower the photo.

If you’re working with an on-camera flash, then just check to make sure it’s not too powerful and overexposing the photo. Find the balance where you see the natural light coming from the window, but still have some light from the flash filling the shadows.

In your using an off-camera flash, place it on the opposite side of the agent to the window at about a 45 degree angle. Again, you’re going to be using it as a way to balance the natural light.

If the ceiling is white or even slightly off-white, you can point the flash straight up and have it bounce off the ceiling. If the ceiling is a darker or saturated color, it’s best to either use an umbrella or find something white to bounce the light off.

how to take real estate headshots

Use the Correct Settings

Using the correct settings is a pivotal yet simple aspect of how to take real estate headshots. Here are the general settings to use:

Shutter Speed: Keep the shutter speed at 1/60 or faster. Anything slower than that and you risk having a blurry image from movement.

Aperture: Ideally, you’ll be photographing with an aperture between F2.8 and F5. This will depend on the type of lens you’re using since some only allow for F4. I tend to use an aperture of F3.2 for real estate headshots.

ISO: Do your best to keep it as low as possible. Finding the best available light first will allow you to keep the ISO at a minimum so there’s little to no noise.

Flash Settings: This all depends on how much light is available. You’ll have to try a few power settings to find the right balance, but as long as you are checking after each exposure to make sure the photo isn’t over or under exposed, you’ll find the right balance in no time.

Give Proper Pre-Shoot Instructions

One of the most important parts of how to take real estate headshots happens well before the shoot even starts. Make sure the real estate agent brings or wears the exact clothing they want and prepares themselves properly. So what do I mean by this…

First, tell them to wear exactly what they would normally wear if they were meeting a client at one of their homes. It’s likely to be a somewhat professional, yet approachable outfit. It doesn’t make sense for them to wear a suit for the photo if they never wear one in real life.

Second, you don’t want them doing their makeup, combing their hair, or any other personal appearance type tasks when the shoot is about to start. Let them know to come “photo ready” so the shoot can happen quickly.

The longer the shoot goes on, the more difficult agents get, in my experience at least. There is a good 10 – 20 minute window where the agent will be happy and smiling, even if they don’t like getting their photo taken. After that, it gets much harder to capture a solid headshot.

The more prepared the realtor is, the more successful the shoot will be. Send them an email or text the day before if possible to remind them to come prepared.

real estate headshots

Choose a Few Different Poses

Get comfortable photographing two or three different poses. This will help a lot when it comes time to pick the best photo. Typically, I have my real estate agents stand facing left, then facing the camera, then facing right.

This works as an insurance policy of sorts since many real estate agents won’t know how to pose or which side is their “best” side. Here are a few things to have the agent do while you are posing and photographing them:

  1. Point their shoulders to either the right or left, then turn their head to face the camera.
  2. Remind them to keep their shoulders back and use good posture.
  3. Make sure they are looking directly down the center of the lens by pointing to it and reminding them to “look right here”.
  4. You can have them either sitting or standing, depending on what they prefer or where the light is better.
Once you get comfortable posing real estate agents you’ll be able to do an entire real estate headshot session in under 20 minutes. This might be a good thing to practice with a significant other, friend, or family member if you have never done it before.
how to take real estate headshots

Additional Resources on How to Take Real Estate Headshots

If you want to offer headshots as a service but are really having trouble with how to take realtor headshots, you can always take a course to help you learn quickly. I would highly recommend this course from Udemy: Portrait Photography Masterclass: Headshot Photography

You’ll find more helpful articles on real estate photography, as well as other types of photography, in our Beginners Guide. It’s full of articles with helpful answers exactly like this one.

Our Business Resources page has all the resources you’ll need to get your Real Estate, Interior Design, or Architectural Photography business started on the right path.

Finally, go check out our Gear page to get up-to-date reviews and recommendations on todays best gear for Real Estate and Architectural Photography.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you take good real estate headshots?

The best thing you can do is find the best light available and use it to light the photo. Besides that, following the tips above will be very helpful.

How do professional realtors take photos?

Most professional realtors hire real estate photographers to come to the house and photograph it. Some photograph the house with their phones, but the quality outcome is not worth it for most.

How can I take my own headshots at home?

The best thing you can do is find the best light available in your home and take the photo in that spot. Go by a window and use the natural light to light your face.

How to Take Real Estate Headshots
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