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How to turn staff mugshots into great PR

People make snap judgements, says PR man Jerry Lyons – so it’s really important to make the right impression with a great photo.

Jerry Lyons

Jerry Lyons image“But I hate having my photo taken.”

If I had a fiver for every time I’ve heard that from an estate agent I’d be writing this from a yacht in the Caribbean not my office in Eastbourne.

Mr Angry image

Mr Angry: You may hate your photo being taken, we get that, but seriously is this kind of look going to win you instructions?

Whether you loathe or love having your photo taken it’s a vital part of your marketing efforts.

A good portrait shot should be used on your business card, email signature, website About Us page, your LinkedIn profile and wherever your target market’s attention is.

Mr I'm so Busy image

Mr I’m so Busy: Why do so many agents think holding a phone to their ear in their profile shots makes them look really busy / successful / dynamic?

People buy people. The last thing an agency wants is a prospective client taking a gander at your profile pic and thinking ‘I don’t like the look of them’. It’s an instant instruction killer. That’s why when it comes to having your profile photo taken you shouldn’t cut corners.

I worked recently on a project with Phil Burrowes a photographer with 17 years’ experience and a great portfolio of estate agency work.

Phil shared some valuable advice,

“An iPhone is a superb piece of kit, but even Steve Jobs did not envisage the junior negotiator taking your profile photo with it.

Mr Smug image

Mr Smug: AKA the Robbie Williams look. I see this kind of shot all too often – it plays up to some of the public’s misconceptions about agents.

“A corporate business portrait should be taken with more care.

“Your portrait should be a considered and carefully arranged photograph, designed to support your agency’s brand, giving customers clear information about who they are dealing with.

“It requires a special set of skills, that a professional will have learnt over many years of producing portraits.

“The main one being setting nerves to rest and making sure a client is relaxed and comfortable.

“This elicits natural and relaxed expressions, producing images people are happy to have used across all their marketing materials.”

Words from the wise, and here are some examples of what NOT to do in your profile shots – whether you’re a Mr, Mrs or Miss.


While we’re on the subject of looking approachable, professional and friendly (all at the same time!) there’s another yawning gap in a significant number of agency websites – no staff names!

Mr Forgetful image

Mr Forgetful: You’re smiling – great. Looking relaxed and approachable – super. But in the background lurks distraction. This scenario is when a professional photographer spots things that an amateur might not.

The agency has a smart, up to date website, lovely photos of the office, of superb homes they have sold, Awards that they have won, school fetes that they have supported and more. There are no photos at all of the people that will be helping the agency’s clients to find them their dream home, or sell the one they have outgrown.

Mr SAS image

Mr SAS: No, I’m not talking about a member of the Who Dares Wins elite of soldiers. The simplest advice I can give for a profile photo that stands a chance of being well received by viewers is look Smart Approachable and Smiling. Happy snapping.

Even worse, there are no names or titles. Why? Most of us feel more comfortable knowing who the owner or branch manager is, we feel slightly foolish saying “Could I speak to someone about selling my house.”

Some agents say that staff change and it’s too complicated to keep changing team photos – it really isn’t that complicated is it?

Others cite security as an issue when staff photos are on a website – but your office systems should minimise risk to lone staff on viewings and valuations, while, of course, anyone coming into the office will soon learn who is who – and with social media, there’s little privacy in any case.

So face up everybody, be proud of who you are and welcome clients into your business!

Contacts photography
July 27, 2017

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