The Team Member Photo

4 minute read

One of the most neglected aspects of a property listing is the team member photo. I do not know how many times i just look at a photo and think to myself ‘this guy looks like a creep’. If they are not holed up against a wall with a shadow with an off centred tie then they are an extreme close up photo and it is painful to look at.

Agents have to understand that in many cases this is your first impression with a potential client. So why not make it a good one?

You have a number of choices for a photo shoot, you can either do it yourself, or hire a professional.

I have said in the past that owning a digital camera does not automatically make you a photographer and if you can afford to hire a professional do so. If you are going to do it yourself, spend some time playing with the camera and go onto the many websites that can help you to become a better photographer.

Hiring a professional

If you ever hire a professional let them know (in writing) that we are in the 21st century and that once you pay for the photos, you own them. Otherwise, you may get some nasty surprise as Intellectual Property by natural law falls back to what they call the ‘artist’ and that isn’t you! So get the contract in writing or hire a student studying photography from the local college.

Do it yourself

It is not hard, but think creatively. My favourite agent photo of all time is a McGrath agent named Bethwyn Richards. I love everything about this picture. The natural blue hues in the background and her completely natural way. I like Bethwyn already and isn’t this the point?


In fact are the yardstick when it comes to photography of team members. Yes, it sometimes looks like they belong to a modeling agency and some guys on that website look like they spend more time on their hair than Ivana Trump, however, you have to admit, they do look good!

So, you can take photos like this yourself and as you can see McGrath use the same photo cropped for their portrait shot as they do the landscape shot.

Here are some standard sizes to work with: Landscape (250w x 125h pixels) and Portrait (100w x 125h pixels ).

It also makes sense to look at how the photographer took the photos and learn a couple of simple rules from them.


Rule 1: The left – right rule is a simple one, never place your subject in the centre of the photo, artistically it is boring. Either place them to the left or right of the image and let the background become part of the image.

Rule 2: The background rule is another simple but artistically effective rule, mix up your background, as you can see from the top image we have the angle of the hill mixed with the blues and greens of the trees with some yachts thrown in for good measure. The lower office photo mixes in glass with some splashes of color with the chairs.

Rule 3: The chest rule just gives all of your photos consistency so that they all look good on one page.

Rule 4: Distance is another rule that allows for all of your team members to look the same and the team page to look consistent. These photos above are a perfect distance.

Rule 5: The natural smile rule does take some time and possibly many photos, remember the subject must be comfortable.

Do not assume the person must smile with their teeth as some people are very sensitive about their smiles. So just take a number of photos and the choose the most natural one out of the batch.

There are some other things to follow and I cannot stress just how important it is to get to know your camera and digital photography.

Here is some software to use with photography

Picasa (100% Free)
Photoshop Elements

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  • David Ross
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 7:46 am 0Likes

    I would always recommend to use a professional when considering property or profile photography (I am slightly biased however) because you are talking about your brand. A professionally taken profile shot (like the two McGrath agents above) tells me that these agents care about their image and their brand, are professional, and understand the relevance of quality content in building profile. Perception is reality.
    If I was a vendor looking for an agent, I would presume that they would apply this same care and professionalism to the process of selling my property.
    McGrath get marketing and they understand the importance of brand. This has been John’s strength from the very start and his agent profiles are an extension of that.
    Good article. It’s nice to talk about content!

  • Rachael Lord
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 8:27 am 0Likes

    We don’t use any agent photos. The glamour shots seem a little too American don’t you think?

  • Leanne Pilkington
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 8:38 am 0Likes

    I completely agree with you Peter, agents completely underestimate the impact a poor photo can have. They are better off not using one at all if they are not prepared to go to the trouble of getting a great one done.

  • Pete Richards
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 8:53 am 0Likes

    Good post Peter, and you’re right, this is an area neglected by agents. In fact, I’d take it one step further and say that agent profiling in general is often done very badly.

    Remember, prospective vendors are selecting someone to step them through a complex, expensive and emotional process, they’re looking to engage a professional service provider, so your marketing materials need to reflect that.

    Photography is a big part of this, for the reasons covered already, but the copy writing is at least equally as important, if the copy is riddled with spelling mistakes and errors the prospective client is going to notice and not think much of your attention to detail.

    I’d always suggest that copy not be written in the first person (I am, I did), but written in the third person (Peter is, Peter has). Just that twist alone will make copy sound more sincere.

    Check spelling and grammar, better still, get a colleague to check it for you, and also take great care when using spell check, as many of them are AmericanIZED.

    Finally, the reproduction of a document is also very important. You could write the best copy and use the best photograph, but if you then photocopy it in black and white and dump them in letterboxes as sheets of paper you’re not representing yourself to your full potential.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 9:14 am 0Likes

    I thought it prudent to call Bethwyn and let her know about my reference to her, seems someone from REA beat me to the punch, she was a god sport about it.

    Some great points added also by Pete.

    Rachel, I think it is a choice and I don’t think they look America, most of them a very shiny people though 🙂

    I doubt a potato head like me would get a guernsey at McGrath, its like that Seinfeld episode where Elaine accuses the cafe owner of …. well I wouldn’t go that far!

    David, nice try on the professional, yes, it makes a difference, but I have been surprised at the level some agents are now at with their own photography.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 9:37 am 0Likes

    Peter, a Fan Page on Facebook has recently been created called Worst Real Estate Mug Shots.

    It’s worth a look.

  • David Ross
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 11:25 am 0Likes

    It really doesn’t matter whether an agent captures their own content, or they out-source, its the end product that counts! Not every agent can afford to commission a professional marketing company, we know that.
    If you are going to do it yourself, you need to think of your market, your brand and your personality (relevance), feel comfortable and be yourself.
    And Peter is right, copy and context are just as important.

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