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Janelle D. By Janelle D. • August 17, 2018

Getting the Perfect Realtor Headshot With Your Cell Phone

As a real estate agent, it's important to get a great headshot for your business cards and online presence.  You'll need close-ups, but consider getting some head-to-toe photos as well. If you choose to have them taken with a cell phone, focus on the composition, lighting, and positioning to ensure you get the best photos.

No matter who takes your photo, it's important to stay relaxed and enjoy the photo session. Consider these tips before your photo shoot:

  • Dress in solid colors and limit jewelry
  • If you wear makeup, keep it natural-looking
  • Have photos taken in casual clothes, as well as formal business clothes
  • Bring a friend or family member along to keep you relaxed

HeadshotsWhen you're comfortable in front of the camera, it will be reflected in your photos.

Cell Phone Portraits

Taking professional photos with a cell phone is possible and will save you money, but the quality isn’t going to be great, especially if you want to enlarge the images.  The photos will be best suited for business cards due to poor resolution. If you post them on your website, keep the images small.  Here are a few tips to for taking headshots with a phone:

  • Set phone to HDR (high resolution mode)
  • Do not use zoom or you will end up with a low resolution, grainy pic
  • Edit photos with the editing feature on your phone
  • Keep photos in their original size

Let's take a look at the 3 elements that will help you get the most from you cell phone photos.


The composition is important and can make or break a photo. A pro will naturally lean towards the rule of thirds, a grid system used to position a person so the end result is pleasing to the viewer. The background is significant in the composition and can be blurred or in focus. Shooting at different angles and in various positions is also crucial. Other tips include the following:

  • Avoid distracting backgrounds (ex. Powerlines, branches, poles)
  • Blur background on head-and-shoulder photos by getting the person as far away from the background as possible. If your phone allows you to fix your point of focus, center it on the subject's face then the background will be more out of focus.
  • In some photos, the subject should be positioned slightly to the right or left of the frame (see image below)
  • For variety, step away from the subject and include the background in the photo (ex. mountains, your office, vintage car)

 brooke-cagle-171800-unsplashDistracting backgrounds detract from the subject.

Best Lighting (1)Lighting

Lighting is very important when it comes to getting the best photos. Natural, diffused light is favorable. When taking pictures with a cell phone, consider shooting next to a window with a sheer white curtain to cut direct light. 

If you’re taking photos outdoors, avoid standing directly in the sun or in dappled light (under a leafy tree).  Aim for shady locations where there is still plenty of soft light. Taking photos during the golden hour (right after sunrise and just before sunset) will give you a golden light and is favored by professionals.  


Think angles when positioning yourself for a photoshoot.  You want to avoid standing square in front of the camera. Try turning your feet, or chair, slightly to the side so you’re at an angle to the camera. Take photos standing, sitting and leaning. Re-create favorite poses you've found online. 

  • Avoid standing square in front of the camera
  • Tilt your head slightly (up, down, right, left)
  • Consider looking slightly away from the camera for some photos
  • Vary your facial expressions: take happy and serious photos

brad-lloyd-615854-unsplash clarisse-meyer-581025-unsplash

Avoid dappled light.                                              Incorporate the background in some photos.


Now that you’ve learned the basics of capturing great headshots (and full body photos too), grab your cell phone and a friend and snap some photos.  Don't forget the candid photos -- they may turn out to be some of your favorites. Get comfortable, have patience, and you’ll get pics that you’ll be proud to use on your business cards and website.