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I'm a portrait photographer living my dream of doing what I love in Sacramento. I'm always on a mission to provide value to others whether that means providing a service, writing a blog post, or interviewing other inspiring individuals!
You’re a realtor in the Sacramento area and you’re either thinking of getting new headshots or you just did. You might change your LinkedIn profile picture and send it in to update the company website, but you might be wondering… “is that the best I can do with my new headshots?” No, you’re barely scratching the surface!
I’m a portrait photographer in Sacramento and I have worked with over 30 realtors in the area over the last year. I create not only stunning images for my clients but also go over how they can best utilize them. I would hate for my clients to invest in awesome images and have them just change their profile picture. These images are in your tool belt now and I take it upon myself to educate my clients on the true value of this new tool to help build their personal brands.
What is a personal brand and why do realtors need to care?
A personal brand is when you go from “Hi, I’m David and I take photos” to “Hi, my name is David, and I specialize in creating stunning imagery for realtors in Sacramento to ultimately help them build a brand they love. Oh, and I have a one-year-old pug named Maya and I listen to Gary Vaynerchuck every morning during my morning workout.”
Building a personal brand is all about creating an avatar for you that represents your values and characters as a real person. And the question now is … “David, that sounds hard – why should I care?” And I totally understand! As a business operator myself, I know how busy you can get but think of it this way. Would you more likely (AND happily) get your hair done by a random Jane down the street or @JanineDoesHair on Instagram, the local gal you’ve been learning from on how to style your hair through her videos and also know she has two young kids like you? The answer is latter and I’m not psychic, that’s just how humans buy. People like to buy from people we trust (and know) and this is SO relevant to realtors – you know it!
With that being said, let’s get into these 19 ways you can use your headshots to either start or elevate your personal brand.
And that’s it! Now you’re equipped with 19 ways of utilizing your headshots. The question is will you implement it. Remember, “your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business” – Steve Forbes.
Let me know what’s your favorite and how many you’ve done before in the comments below! Do you not have a set of professional photos that you’re confident about and look beautiful in? You can see more of my work by clicking here or book a shoot with me here.
“I’d rather go to the dentist than get my headshot done.” I have heard this time and time again and I get it – getting photographed isn’t the most pleasant experience for a lot of people. However, just like how you have to deal with going to the dentist every year, you also have to suck it up and update your headshot. Except for only this time, you have my five secret tips to help ensure that you, not only, get a headshot you will love but also a pleasant experience.
You want me to what for a headshot??? Yes, you heard me right! It’s important to ask yourself a couple of questions to help you navigate through this journey – it’s quite spiritual.
But first, let’s talk about the real value of a headshot. You see, headshots are a lot more important than you think. It’s our digital face that represents us as professionals online where any of the 7 billion people on Earth can see. That’s 7 billion people building a first impression off of your headshot. Now the question is… how much is a great first impression worth to you? If it helps land you a client as a realtor, $5000 and up. If it helps you land a job, it could even be worth a $50,000 and up.
So now that we agree on how valuable a headshot is – here are some questions you should answer.
These are all GREAT talking points to share with your photographer so they have a better understanding of what you’re looking for. Keep your answers handy!
So let’s say you already happened to book a photographer and your photographer didn’t give you any education on how to prepare or what to prepare. Outfits will probably be the first thing on your mind so how do you pick the right outfit for your headshot? My simple rules for outfits are: form-fitting, solid colors, and little-to-no accessories.
I always include makeup and hair artistry for my headshot clients, both female and male, because that’s how important it is. Photos are 2-dimensional and not having any makeup will leave you appearing dull and flat. Even the most basic of makeup for your headshot is going to make sure your best features are highlighted and working in your favor. Additionally, makeup for camera is different than makeup for everyday wear so if your photographer offers a makeup artist – please take it! And for my dudes – yes, it’ll make you look good. Any guy you see on TV, whether it be Jimmy Fallon or a news anchor, is 100% wearing makeup. Just look at this male news anchor who went viral sharing his makeup process.
I found this great visual comparison of no makeup, makeup done by you, and makeup done by a professional on an article written by Organicheadshots called “Whats the difference between my makeup and pro makeup.”
“Alright, squint as if you’re sitting way back in a classroom trying to read what’s on the whiteboard but give me just 5% of that” is what I tell my clients and I call it the 5% squint. This technique is originally from Peter Hurley, a renowned headshot photographer in New York, who coined it as “squinching.” Technically speaking, it’s when you raise just your bottom eyelid just ever so slightly as seen in the images below. The idea is around creating and displaying confidence through the eyes. Tyra Banks also is a big advocate of creating personality through her eyes which she calls it “the smize.” Give this a practice in the mirror and give it a shot at your next headshot photoshoo!(hyperlink: Peter Hurley)
Invest in a great photographer and you don’t have to do any of the above-mentioned things yourself. Can you imagine not mastering the “5% squint” and the photographer just taking a photo of you looking angry instead? A great photographer would guide you and not just let you do your own thing.
So what separates a good photographer from a great photographer? A good photographer will know how to take a good picture of you. They will have an easy online scheduler to set your own time to come in for a 30-minute shoot. However, a great photographer will talk with you before the session to learn about you and help you prepare for the session. They’ll have a makeup artist ready for you and help you pose that flatters your body. No one has time to learn how to be a makeup artist or professional model overnight. And most importantly, a great photographer will make sure you have a great experience coming in and going out with a spectacular headshot.
Where can I find great photographers? Here is a nationwide headshot company setup by before-mentioned Peter Hurley. Type in your city to see if there are any associates in your area!
How much does it cost? Great headshots range from $400~$1200. Spend the money – it’s a worthy investment.
How much does it cost to get headshots done by David Suh? My headshot sessions start at $750 but there’s a way you can take advantage and get it for ONLY $350. Every month I dedicate one day to run a Headshot Marathon where I open up 5 one-hour back-to-back spots. If you’re interested in one of the 3 spots left for September 27th – click HERE!
Jessica Sosa is a full-time realtor who works locally in Yolo County. She was born and raised in Los Angeles and has lived in Woodland, CA for the past 8 years. She wanted to revamp her personal branding pictures but also wanted to throw in some glam to the shoot.
Can you describe your favorite portrait(s) from the session and why is it your favorite?
“My favorite portraits are literally all of them 😉 but if I HAD to choose a couple it would be one where David captured me laughing and the one where I’m wearing the pink body dress. I swear I could never get a good angle of my whole body (and neither could anyone else lol) but David nailed it. I shared my portraits with my family and boyfriend and they all absolutely loved them and commented on how professional they look.”
Is there something new you discovered about yourself?
“For damn sure. I always thought if I’m not smiling, I have RBF – resting bitch face LOL. David definitely captured pictures and angles where I don’t see the RBF and I loved it.”
“I love that there was never an awkward moment and it was fun from the moment I sat down with Veronica to get my make-up done. Veronica did an awesome job on my make up and hair. David knew what poses complimented me most and literally made me laugh almost the whole shoot. We had tons of fun.”
How would you describe the portrait experience to a friend?
“I would describe it as amazing, fun and professional.”
What would you say to someone who is on the fence about doing a portrait shoot with David?
“I would say to go for it! I was always on the fence to do a shoot like this but so glad I finally stepped out of my comfort zone. I didn’t think I could look as good as some of the girls do in their pictures but David definitely works his magic to capture beauty in everyone. This shoot boosted my confidence and made me realize I should have done this sooner. It is a great experience and I look forward to doing it again!”
7 Questions with Body Builder, Kevin Pulsipher
Kevin is a body builder on his journey to becoming pro and I met Kevin for the first time almost 3 years ago when I was doing a grad shoot for his girlfriend, Courtney. This time around, Courtney wanted Kevin to have more personal branding photos so we scheduled a shoot closest to his first body building competition to get him in his prime.
We had a great shoot and literally only a couple days after I handed off the photos to Kevin, I find out that he got first place. Not that I’m surprised (because he has such dedication and I mean… look at the body he crafted!!!) but I still am surprised. He would tell me bits and pieces about what it’s like going through this journey during the shoot and oh man he deserves every bit of that first place.I asked Kevin a few questions about his career and he was so generous to answer all of them so here they are paired with photos from his shoot.
1. How did you get into bodybuilding?
I got into bodybuilding when I was about 15 and my brother had changed his physique with lifting weights. I hated running so I started lifting and reading and it’s all history from there.
2. What did your every day routine look like preparing for the competition?
Everyday routine lol. Well when prep was serious and close to show, I’d wake up at 4am or 5 am, do fasted cardio for an hour then eat.
Food was basically tilapia and chicken with cucumbers a keto diet. Eat that 6-7 times a day. Train at 10 am for 2 hours of lifting then another half hour to hour of cardio right after lifting before eating and lots of naps.
3. What was the hardest part and how did you overcome it?
Overcoming some mental barriers and food cravings were the hardest. I’m lucky to have a great support group
4. What was going through your mind on the stage during the competition?
What was I thinking on stage hmmm. Mostly about all the hard work I put in over 20 weeks and how people have worked very hard to help me. So I felt I needed to win for that person so I stood as best and big as I could and it paid off in my eyes.
5. Your number one advice to someone trying to get into bodybuilding?
Number one advice to someone starting any fitness is get the diet down and for bodybuilding GET EATING A LOT
6. What was the food you were most excited to have after the competition?
FAVORITE FOOD HAS BEEN DIET COKE, BURGERS, AND ICE CREAM DONUTS but I’m getting ready to eat clean again after a week of free eating
Kevin’s 1st meal | Photo Courtesy by Courtney
7. What’s next for Kevin Pulsipher and will modeling be a part of it?
What’s next… well for now gain 20-30 pounds of muscle in next 12 months. And absolutely, modeling is always an option and so I will definitely be doing more photos.
Working with David was really easy for me and it has helped in my success like nothing else has. I definitely recommend him for looking great in all your photos.
That’s it guys, thanks for reading all the way through! I have so much respect for athletes and the type of physical and mental training they have to do stay in top shape. Hope you got something out of this today and let me know if you like these bite size Q&A format!
If you’re a bodybuilder looking for personal branding portraits like these, mention Kevin’s blog post in the contact form and you’ll get $100 off on your session fee!
Group photo of the workshop attendees with Sue in the middle
Last year in November, I was lucky enough to attend one of my mentor’s, Sue Bryce, portrait workshops in LA. Ever since then it’s been uphill with newly acquired knowledge and skills. I learned so much more about posing, lighting, people skills, branding and so much more to add to what I knew before. But another thing that was really valuable was connecting and networking with the other photographers there. Since it was a workshop for guys, it was a bunch of dudes from different cities and countries with the same determination to hone our craft and business sharing their stories of where they’re at with business. Yeah, we had one heck of a time all together. A few of us found out that we were actually at 2 hour driving distance of each other so we talked about doing a get-together. And so we did last month 🙂
Taken by my girlfriend as she watched the live streaming of the workshop on her computer
It was me, Neon Engfer and Joshua Pheneger. Neon was kind enough to offer up his beautiful home studio in Modesto as the meeting spot. Our objective… shoot and have fun. We had three lovely models and Joshua’s very talented wife, Katie, providing gorgeous make-up and hair. So thus the day began.
While the models were getting ready, us three decided to start photographing each other because what’s greater joy than three guys creating portraits for each other?
Photos of me by Neon Engfer
Photo of me by Joshua
Photo of Neon by me
Portrait of Joshua by me
Time flew by and soon enough our first model Val was ready. The great thing about all of us coming together was the sheer amount of tools, outfits, backdrops, lights, and all bunch of stuff at our disposal. So we all put our creative minds together to style the different looks. Yeah… we collect dresses too…
Photos of Val by me. Make-up and hair by Katie
We had a little station thing going on where Josh would be photographing Neon while I’m photographing Val and we would switch every 10~20 minutes. Next up was the gorgeous Veronica that I didn’t get as much time to shoot with :l Loved the dress she had on with the shimmery texture of it and the faint gold accent.
Neon working his magic and posing at the same time
Portraits of Veronica by me. Make-up & Hair by Katie
Last but not least, our third model and family/children photographer Carly Mynear. Quite frankly… I was nervous and thrown off guard with Carly because I found out she was a photographer herself and… photographing other photographers is always a little different. Photographing the guys, it was chill; we talked and had fun with it so it wasn’t bad but I was getting nervous with Carly. I felt like under-performed a little but thankfully by the end we were able to share some conversations and get some great portraits 🙂
Annnnnd that’s a wrap! Joshua and Neon carried on to shoot for a little longer but I was dead tired. It was so nice being able to get together with other fellow mentees of Sue and just have this day to shoot, chat, learn, and have fun. I learned so much from just being to able to see the different workflows of these two guys and also how Neon setup his studio. Can’t wait to do this again and thanks again for hosting Neon and thanks to Katie for her awesome talent and thanks to Val, Veronica, and Carly for dealing with us three guys!
Photo of us three by Carly
I recently got the chance to update the headshots for the members of Nami at UC Davis. Nami supports local organizations in the mental health field through volunteer work and community involvement, while providing opportunities for members to acquire basic mental health knowledge and learn about current events and new frontiers in the mental health field. Members collaborate to form a supportive environment fostering fellowship amongst all members and promoting both personal and academic enrichment.
We wanted these photos to be welcoming to college students in need of an understanding community about mental health. Personally meeting these club officers, I felt a positive energy that reflected the portrayal we were going for. One thing I always do for personal branding and professional headshots is research a little about the clients and their current photos to see how I can create better photos to suit their needs.
In their old headshots, you can right away feel their positivity which I didn’t want to take away. However the design isn’t cohesive as some shots have a haze from the sun flare in the background creating different colors and most importantly, the crop doesn’t allow for a deeper connection.
Having this knowledge helped me define the goals of the shoot.
Create a welcoming look that reflects the positivity of the group without compromising professionalism while maintaining a cohesive design.
What is your thoughts on this new update for Nami? Do you think it accomplished the goal of balancing professionalism, altruism, and cohesiveness? Let me know in the comments!
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Thanks David for volunteering your time for NAMI @ UCD! We really appreciate it and you were so welcoming during the photo shoot. All the best to ya!
-All of us at NAMI 🙂
Thanks you guys! Happy to help a good cause 🙂
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