Taking Brand Photos for Your REALTOR® Website? Follow These Tips
Stock photography can be a lifesaver for real estate agents (and all small business owners).
For little or even no financial investment (check out our recent post on some of the best FREE stock photography websites for real estate agents) you can find high-quality, professional images to help bring your blog content, website pages and social media efforts to life.
But if you’ve used stock photography before, you know that sometimes, you just can’t find the exact image you’re looking for.
And if you’re looking for stock images that feature the exact colours or themes of your personal brand as a real estate agent, good luck. You’ll be searching for a long time.
That’s why it’s a great idea to stage your own brand photoshoot. Taking your own brand photos helps to:
- Ensure your website (and social media) images are unique
- Strengthen your personal brand
- Give you a library of content to pull from (saving you time!)
You don’t need to be a professional creative director to produce your own brand photos. But for the best possible results, you do need a gameplan. Read on for the tips and tricks you need to take amazing brand photos for your real estate website.
1. Identify Your Purpose
How you plan on using your brand photos will decide what kind of photos you take.
- Where will these photos be used? Blog posts, website pages, Instagram, Facebook, postcards, or all?
- What result do I need these photos to help achieve? Are you launching a new website and want a fresh look? Are you working on making your unique personal brand a key part of your marketing efforts and need imagery to enforce that? Are you simply tired of using stock imagery?
- When will these photos be used? Do you plan on using these photos as often as possible? Or will they be used infrequently, for “special occasions” such as postcards, social media cover photos and monthly newsletters?
The answers to these questions will help determine how many different images you need to take, what the tone and style of each image will be, and what subject matter needs to be featured.
2. Find Inspiration
Visual references are key to successfully achieving your desired aesthetic. Start a (private) Pinterest board or create a folder on your desktop to populate with inspirational images to help you decide exactly what kind of brand photos you want to take.
Look to Instagram, the websites and blogs of other REALTORS® and small business owners, and Pinterest for images that you’d like to emulate in some way. Pay attention to…
- Colour palette. Your visual inspiration doesn’t need to have your same colours, but look for examples of brand photos that make consistent and effective use of a colour palette to inspire your own.
- Subjects. Save some images that feature the same sort of subject matter that you’d like to use in your own brand photos. This could include a “Sold” sign, a chalkboard featuring a funny phrase, someone sitting at a laptop with a mug of coffee, and so on.
- Composition and layout. Look for different compositions and layouts that speak to you, such as close-ups, extra wide shots, flatlays, minimalism shots, blurred backgrounds, etc.
Once you’ve got a healthy collection of inspirational images, start brainstorming ideas for your own brand photos.
3. Plan Your Shots
Listen up. This is the most essential step in taking great brand photos. You need to write out a list of each and every photo you want to take. And not just a brief summary, but a detailed explanation. This is called your shot list.
Your shot list will be a master document of every photo you want to take, a description of each photo, how each photo should be framed, what props and supplies you’ll need and what the background of each shot will be.
Each shot should be numbered according to the order they’ll be photographed in. Group similar shots together, to lessen the amount of time required to set up each shot.
You can use a Word document or spreadsheet to keep your shot list organized. Here’s what an entry could look like:
Shot #1: My hand holding my iPhone. The phone is displaying an Instagram post of a home with a “For sale” sign in the front yard.
Framing: Close-up, shot from over my right shoulder, background slightly blurred.
Props/supplies: iPhone; photo of home with “For sale” sign
Background: Office or somewhere neutral
Make sure that your shot list is detailed enough that a photographer could understand your directions even if you happen to be out of the room.
4. Assemble Supplies
With your inspirational images and shot list in place, you’ll have a better idea of what supplies and props you will need to bring each shot to life.
Think beyond the basics (computer, phone, pen); consider unique touches that can add visual interest, pops of colour and moments of curiosity. Such as…
- Fresh flowers wrapped in brown paper
- A box of baked goods
- A colourful or patterned notebook
- House plants
- Brightly hued sticky notes
5. Work With a Pro
You’re probably thinking “After all those steps, you’re now telling me to hire someone?!”
Well, yes and no. Either way, the previous steps are necessary.
If you’re a confident photographer, with a good digital SLR camera and photo editing skills, by all means — take your brand photos yourself.
Otherwise, hiring a pro — whether it’s a university photography student, your niece, or a local photographer — is a worthwhile investment. With your prep work and their expertise, your final product is guaranteed to look high-quality and professional.
Plus, an experienced photographer will be able to take your concepts and shot list and make small tweaks and improvements to truly make your vision come to life. And while they’re shooting, you can help arrange props and set up the next shot.
Where do you find most of the images for your website and social media? Are they shots that you (or a pro) have taken, or stock photo finds?