Does Your "Professional" Photo Look Like A Facebook Picture?

Real Estate Agent with Florida Property Experts

showing my family in a real estate photoIn the last few days, as I've been perusing and commenting on different blogger's posts, I happened to stop in my tracks, as I noticed far too many images that looked like they'd been taken by the same person, while holding the camera at arm's length. They looked more like a picture I would have on my non-business Facebook page. Is it just me, or do these pictures actually lower the level of professionalism on our blogs? Shouldn't a potential client see a quality photo that says "I'm a professional"?

Now I admit that I'm a very visual person. Half the time I build a blog post around a photo, instead of the other way around. But if I feel that way, then there are certainly many others who feel the horrible yellow lighting on one sidesame! If you only knew how much time I put into painstakingly getting professional-looking photos (not necessarily BY a professional photographer) that I feel are a good representation of my business persona, as opposed to the quick, and/or silly shots I place on my Facebook wall!

So again I ask, "Is it just me?"  What are your thoughts on this subject? Don't you want your potential clients to see you as a professional and not just someone they might run across on Facebook? The only exceptions I can think of are my personal friends and family members who will do business with me regardless... and are already among my Facebook friends!intentionally over-sharpened image

But that leaves out the other part of the equation... the people who will NOT automatically be my clients! What good does it do you to have good SEO, if when you're found, the first thing that is seen is... well... a Facebook shot that you probably took of yourself, with your arms extended, and a strange look on your face?

And all that brings me back to; is it just me? Or do some supposedly "business" pictures look highly unprofessional? And for the record, I'm NOT talking about the casual pictures we have taken with local scenery in the background, which are part of our personal branding.

If you're not sure what I mean, just use my own examples. Can you guess which pictures I use on Facebook, and which ones I use for business?

Lisa Hill-Realtor logo-copyrighted image



Re-Blogged 2 times:

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  2. Susan Morrison 08/18/2010 01:27 PM
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Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

A casual look maybe more appropriate nowadays. .

but many will question and characterize a photo as professional when you are wearing a sleeveless blouse and jeans or. . one of your partners is wearing a casual short sleeves shirt with no tie.



Aug 19, 2010 12:28 AM #61
Kim Brown
Keller Williams Realty - Keene, NH
Keene, NH - New England at its Best!

Professional is in the eye of the beholder.

<----this is a dreaded arm-extended, self-portrait via old flip-phone.  But it's taken at my desk at the office.  Does that make it more professional?  My "professional" shots are beautifully retouched, I'm wearing "professional" attire, the lighting is perfect, and I hate them.  They don't look/feel like "me".

While my pro shots are on our website and on my biz cards, I'm seriously rethinking them and am leaning toward a more casual photo.  Why?  Because that's who I am.

Making assumptions regarding one's professionalism based upon a photograph is like judging a house based upon the color of its front door.  It matters to some, and not to others.  Those willing to look a bit deeper, may be pleasantly surprised.  I'm willing to take that risk.

Aug 19, 2010 01:18 AM #62
Julia Odom
Select Realty Professionals - Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga Homes for Sale

My last AR photo was of me at my sister's wedding in a duck hat. I want to be known as approachable & fun to work with. A professional type shot just doesn't work with my personality. I have one that I used to use and a client remarked that even though it looked like me, it didn't seem like me. So I haven't used it since.

Aug 19, 2010 01:54 AM #63
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Well, I am envious that you look great in all the photos you showed. It certainly helps to be young, sparkly and pretty!

Personally, I truly dislike the practice of using photos in our promotions. I have never hired a lawyer, a dental hygienist or a house painter based on seeing their photos before calling them. I keep thinking of changing to an avatar, but then get caught up in the this very discussion of
"what does the image represent?"

Aug 19, 2010 03:35 AM #64
Diana Purcell
HomeSmart - Mesa, AZ
Delivering Dreams One Home at a Time

I kinda like the pictures where people are on horseback, or a photo with their pets... makes them seem approachable. My picture was taken in my courtyard in from of some vines that I had planted and cared for. I need a new shot, but I have to really think it through on what and where.

My Facebook picture is from a Jimmy Buffet Concert, maybe I'll switch them around! LOL!!

Aug 19, 2010 04:34 AM #65
Gary Burleson
Beach Water Realty - - Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach Homes, Condos, Foreclosures, Investment Propery

Some professional photos make the person look "stoic" and too business like. No smile, etc. I want to do business with someone I can feel comfortable being around.

Aug 19, 2010 04:35 AM #66
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Lisa - I've been thinking about this myself . . . I recently did a blog on how much we should censor our own Facebook activitiy.  This topic is similar in that you are trying to connect with the portion of the audience who MIGHT actually CHOOSE you!  The best advice I took from there was simply, BE YOURSELF!  No one will appeal to everyone, so you want to draw in those who will actually bond with you if you get past the initial hurdle! 

Aug 19, 2010 04:52 AM #67
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Lisa  There are times I refuse to accept an invitation on Facebook - the photos are too suggestive for my conservative outlook - my photos reflect that - no flash

Aug 19, 2010 09:38 AM #68
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

I stopped reading about halfway through these comments because I obviously didn't do a good job of explaining myself. Somehow, this post went public before I was finished, so I just left it that way. When I say "professional" I DO NOT mean it had to be taken by a professional photographer. And I did mention our personal branding (Go for it!), which will change the feel of an image.

But I personally would never use the shot of me in jeans! I NEVER wear jeans unless I'm showing acreage and/or farm land, and even then, I would never wear jeans on my first appointment with a new customer! And I would never post a shot with that garish yellow light hitting me on one side.

I have absolutely no problem with having a friend or family member take your pictures for you. BUT, I ran across the type of pictures right here on AR, where it was VERY obvious that the so-called professionals had obviously held their arms out and taken their own pictures. One of them even had her chin tilted up so I was looking up her nose! Another was out of focus.

To clarify even more, I have used "approachable" photos in the past. I'm just not using one with that "feel" at the moment. I'm even working on selecting a new one. (And again, I didn't have time to choose better representations since this post went active prematurely.) How about if you consider the types of Facebook pictures (on general pages; not for business) that are taken by, and for teenagers? Does that help with the mental image? Because those are the types I found right here on Active Rain!

Aug 19, 2010 09:48 AM #69
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Obviously there are varying degrees of "professionalism" and "comfortable" pictures. Life's too short to not do what you feel is right.

Aug 19, 2010 12:26 PM #70
Robert Schwabe
EXP Realty - Orange Park, FL
Orange Park Real Estate

Lisa - I think a professional picture for you business website is the way to go. Hope to see you at RainCamp.

Aug 21, 2010 10:48 AM #71
Julissa Jumper
Select Properties of Fayetteville, LLC - Fayetteville, NC
Fayetteville, NC Real Estate

Lisa, great discussion your post generated!!

Sometimes this whole picture thing just makes me dizzy.

I like keeping my pictures current. So, in the past 9 years I have been in business I have updated my business pictures about 7 times. And when I update I always a professional photographer. I just personally appreciate the skill of a professional photographer.

However, none of those photographs had me in a business suit or anything similar. I always have chosen to wear what I wear in my everyday work, what I call dressy casual.

My problem is that I also change my hairstyle about every 18 months so all my pictures have looked totally different.

I mean, it's clear that I'm the same person but, as you may know, a woman can change her look entirely with a new hairstyle.

For example, I no longer have the hairstyle in my profile picture. Two weeks ago, I cut off all my hair and now I have a different look. See below. See what I mean?

Now, if I meet somebody new who has found me on my website or found me through any of my marketing that has my last picture which is the one in my profile, they may feel I don't look like the same person.

I also think next time I have to ask my photographer to tone down the touching up. My profile picture has such a beautiful golden tone to my skin and I feel that is not an accurate representation of what my complexion looks like.

That picture is only 10 months old. I had been contacted through Active Rain by a casting director for production company about a TV show. When I got to speak with her somehow the conversation lead to a discussion of my family and I mentioned by soo-t0-be-18 year old soon. She was incredulous that I would have a son that age. I told her I was 40 and she asked me how recent was my picture. I told her it was taken 10 months ago but I don't think she believed me. She asked me to submit a "more recent" photo.

Sometimes, I think I may be better off not changing my picture so often!!


New Hair Cut

Aug 21, 2010 03:31 PM #72
Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Photos are everything... when I see a "shadow" on a website like AR or LinkedIn, or the Twitter Bird silhouette, or a Baby Picture on Facebook, or some other failure to provide a quality photo, it is hard for me to take that person seriously.

Great post!

Aug 21, 2010 06:40 PM #73
Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer
Russel Ray - San Diego State University, CA

What if the first place they find you is on your non-business Facebook page? I try to always use real pictures. I don't even like the "professional" pictures taken by professional photographers for professional purposes.

Aug 22, 2010 07:00 AM #74
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

Julissa- LOL! To be honest, the only times I've used a "professional" photographer, I have NOT been pleased with the results! So I now rely on my family, OR... my camera has a remote control. YAY!   :-D  And I DO wear suits in the winter. But in Florida, that's just not possible in the summers. And with me, I'm just NOT PHOTOGENIC! I'll be at Rain Camp tomorrow, and I guarantee I'll gett a lot of comments about me not looking like my photos. *sigh*  No matter what I do, I've resigned myself to the fact that that will always happen.

Fred-  I'm not really THAT picky. I was just referring to the shots that are "bottom of the barrel", and people choose to use them as their profile pic for real estate. We should be ourselves... in "business" mode... IMHO!

Russel- I really don't like pictures that are taken be "professional photographers". That's really not what I meant. This post showed me a lot about how the word "professional: is very subjective!  As for Facebook, I just don't use it for business. I got tired of trying to get everything perfect with all this social networking. And on Facebook, I want to just relax and be myself with my friends and family. And actually, THEY are the ones who send me the most business! But I don't use those same photos on my real estate blogs and web sites.

Aug 23, 2010 09:42 AM #75
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Thoughtful post...this is an important issue, as our visual presentation is definitely a part of our business persona.

Aug 25, 2010 12:39 PM #76
Neal Bloom
Brokered by eXp Realty LLC - Weston, FL
Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate

I keep changing mine...take me for the ugliness:)

Sep 09, 2010 04:55 AM #77
Janine Bell
Stage It Atlanta - Atlanta, GA
Home Stager - Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Interesting post.  I like my clients to feel comfortabel with me.  Image is important in all we do, though my concern is to be out-of-touch with the people who I am reaching out to.

Sep 09, 2010 08:54 AM #78
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

Sea to Sky- There certainly are a lot of varying opinions!

Neal- At least you didn't break my camera lens :-P  j/k  I'll vouch for you that you're not ugly.

Janine- I tend to prefer an image that is both comfortable and professional. But I also change mine frequently. And I use a personal brochure which has several shots. But I never want to look too comfortable.

Sep 09, 2010 09:15 AM #79
Robert May
Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate - Lethbridge, AB
Real estate consulting

it has been a long time since I have seen a post on your blog, just checking back on a bunch of the good people that I have on my followed blog list.  Hope you are well and one day return to Activerain.

Mar 14, 2016 06:35 AM #80
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