Jay Arkani
Jay Arkani
CEO & Founder
Certified Digital Marketing Manager
University of Toronto

Photo Branding for Agents

iranian real estate photo branding
This is not super important just for Real Estate or Mortgage Agents, if you are running any kind of independent business by yourself this is super important for you too.
Branding your face is sometimes more important than branding your logo, and branding your face is not just going to a photographer, smile, having your best clothes on, lighting is good and there you go, I have my picture's done, the designer said the resolution is good and voila lets hit the market, post it on facebook, instagram, twitter, linkedin and the whole 9 yard.
No you need to be prepared for the photo shoot, it's one of the most important part of your business and your marketing plan.
I have seen agents still having their 20 years old picture on all of their marketing media, printing ads, new paper ads, social media ads and even their own website. I talked to 7 of them, some said "I don't have time to change it" and the majority said "I look beautiful in this picture".
What that means? the 20 years old picture is looking good meaning you are not looking good now?
Looking good means you make the person looking at you feels good, makes them feel how comfortable they could be if they work with you, how trust worthy you are and how much you care.
The lines on your face would talk to the viewer, I'm sure you've seen a picture of an 80 years old lady which looks so beautiful to you, if you have a detail look at her face you won't see anything beautiful, it's the combination of everything, how the lines and wrinkles formed on her face which makes it look beautiful or pleasurable just to look at

Let me tell you what we will talk about here:

How to look beautiful in a photograph

how to look beautiful in your profile picture
As I mentioned before beauty is the way that people communicate with your picture, How people react when they see your photo.
It's been proven that if you are not YOURSELF in a photo your body and your face lines won't be relax and won't communicate with the viewer, so if someone sees your picture they will feel that you are not real, you might look beautiful in your own eyes but you just look like a nice picture in a magazine and nobody feels connected with you or feel some distance from you. by having a nice picture up on your profile or any marketing material your goal is to make people call you or contact you in any form not feel that you are out of their league.
Remember you should be beautiful and reachable, do not make distance between yourself and your audience, be open in your picture, have your real smile on not just a fake one which the photographer asked you to smile.
People have a very powerful internal judgement mechanism which leads them to accept someone or get a big distance from them right the moment they see the picture. if you do not want people to stand away from you, the best trick is just to be yourself, and have your own inviting smile on.

Here is a trick, think of your photographer as your best friend and try to crack a joke with him/her before starting the shoot and create a relaxing enviroment.
Try to make crazy funny faces before taking the real picture, if your photographer acts like you are wasting his time then change your photographer.
Find your best face in front of a mirror, and find the inner beauty of your face before going for the photo shoot.
Pay more to the photographer and buy more of his time so you can find your best face, I mean YOUR best face, do not try to be like anybody else.
Find a very good graphic designer to work on your picture, do not let an amature designer to edit your picture.
Do not let the graphic designer to modify your picture too much, just the routine edit like removing the pimples and adjusting lights on your face, and maybe some of the wrinkles, do not hide your age by editing your face.

Remember your face is your brand, so spend time showing the best of it.

Do not exaggerate on editing your picture, remember the first impression is everything in sales business, if the client sees you like a different person he/she will back away a little because this would be first lie you are telling them.

Why do you need to update your picture as you age?

update your image as you age
Some people specially women think that being younger is always more attractive. I'm not saying that it's not true all I'm saying is aging can be more attractive specially when you want to do business.
Aging shows more experience, more knowledge and more understanding, these are the most important factors that your clients are looking for.
Buying a property or getting a mortgage is a very important business for your clients, they want to choose more experienced agent to handle this important job.
A beautiful, mature and confidence smile on your properly aged face will speaks a thousand words.
Do this if you don't know your beautiful face or your inviting smile, when you are sitting with your best friends and chatting for hours, or you are with your family and having fun, when you are in your happiest mode go in front of a mirror and watch your face, all the lines on your face are in it's best form and shape, your cheeks, your lips and your eyes are all happy and it shows how happy you are in general, try not to forget this face and use it all the time,  when your are happy deep inside you have the most confident face even if you are not smiling.
The moment you TRY to be better or look better everything on your face will go dull and not attractive, do not TRY to make a nice face, just be yourself, that will make you unique and branding is all about being unique.

What type of agent's photo will attract more?

what type of profile photo attracts more
In order to find out how you can have the most attractive marketing photo you need to understand some psychological concept about face micro expressions

  • Happy Smile shows confidence and power
  • Looking directly deep in to the camera with happy eyes, shows commitments
  • The More casual you look the more open you are for friendship
  • Business professional style photos makes people feel distance from you
  • People feel the connection by seeing your eyes, do not wear sunglasses.
  • Make sure not to be depressed or sad in photo session
  • Arms crossed means defensiveness, insecurity, shyness
  • Hands on hips means I'm in control, I'm aggressive
  • Open hands, better say open body means you are friendly
  • Hand covering your mouth or face meaning you are dishonest
  • Tense face muscles has very negative effect

These are some of the psychological facts about body and face language.
Remember in your picture you do not have the chance to talk to people or convince them that you are good at this or you have that kind of experience, your photo is the main tool to attract the new clients so do not take a photo just because your sister or your wife said you are handsome or your boyfriend thinks you are hot and sexy, to market your business your photo is everything do it professionaly.

I need to add this though, when I said be casual I didn't mean just a T-shirt and jeans (which sometime is not a bad idea) I mean being business casual, do not being supper high class the way nobody can say hi to you in the elevator or keep calling you "Sir" or "Sorry Sir" or things like that, this means people will talk behind your back and you are not part of them. If you are targeting highend clients then it can be ok to go for high class style but only if you are comfortable being a high class agent

The main point is you need to be who you really are and dress that way, that will attract everyone, so be yourself and enjoy the photo session like you are by yourself and no ones there watching.

How to promote your brand using your photo

How to brand yourself using your photo
Branding is all about being unique, now the question is how to be unique? Do I need to be different in my picture? should I go with crazy face? ...
Stat shows that being different works great in branding, doesn't matter how to be different, GOOD or BAD, it's all about making people talking about your picture with their friends and family, Google you to show your picture to their friends and so on.

How to Brand yourself using a proper profile picture.
To be very honest with you, the first thing you need to do is to find who you really are. Find what's the best in you, what your friends say about you? do you have a nice smile? Are you tall? are you short? ...
Find your best characteristics and use it, DO NOT be shy in front of camera.
Just being beautiful or sexy does not make you different from others unless you are unbelievably beautiful or super handsome and please do not trust what your friends, family, girl friend or boyfriend says about you, ask professionals, if you are exquisitely beautiful or handsome then you need to be careful with your picture, your picture has to show your business side otherwise you will lose a lot of time with people who just want to flirt with you not doing business.

Use props in your photo
some people using animals to be different like their dog or horse or hamster, some animals or pets gives good vibes but others is completely opposite.
Taking a photo with your dog specially if it's a big breed dogs shows integrity, honestly and commitments, but your face should be almost at the same level of you dogs head other wise it might feel like you are a show off person, you need to show a close connection between you and your dog.
You do not need to have proper props to take with you for the photo shoot you can always ask the photographer to use a proper background which your graphic designer can cut it out and ad what ever virtual props to your photo.

and please DO NOT use your phone, or handing over the key, they are so old school

How to Brand yourself using a not proper picture
Let me tell you this loud and clear, if you are brave enough, if you can handle people insulting you, if you have the right self confidence, this is the easiest way to brand yourself.
There's not such a thing as good or bad reputation, it's always the reputation, does not matter how you make people to start talking about you or google you, the only thing matter is to make them do that.
But there's only a big but here, if you can not handle the consequences then forget about it but if you can go for it now.
Imagine you see a big billboard of a mortgage agent standing with swimsuit on and a nice glass of martini in his hand, what would you do? you will stop the car, get out and take a picture or go live on your facebook and show it to all your friends, you will talk about that guy with swimsuit at least for a week and tell everyone you know, now imaging 1000s of people do the same.
That mortgage agent would be the only mortgage agent in town in less than a week.

Don't get me wrong I'm not telling you to go nude, all I'm telling you is that you can be different but do not just go crazy by yourself ALWAYS talk to a marketing consultant if you want to do it this way

The "Dollar a Day Shave Club" was completely anonymous until the owner did a commercial and said "Our Blades Are F**KING Great"

What to say to your photographer

Ask you photographer to:
To spend more time with you, you need to be relax and be yourself and you will pay for his time.
To use a solid color background like white so your designer can take the background off.
No to cut of any part or your face or hair in the frame, if you want to do that then your designer will find the best frame for your picture.


Your are an agent so your photo is your brand, Your photo is the most important marketing material.
Be yourself in the photo
Do not be afraid to do something new