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I have this running joke with friends that Real Estate agents consistently have some of the cheesiest portraits. They’re almost always in their suits, in a very typical and traditional studio pose; maybe leaning forward, maybe seated with their hands in their lap, a male agent standing tall with a wide friendly grin. I get it. They need to seem professional and approachable in an image that they will use in countless flyers, banner ads, business cards, sidewalk signs and more. Maybe I have a heightened, if not critical, sense of this as a portrait photographer. But, to me, I’ve just found them ubiquitous and boring; they all blend together in their sameness. Except for one pair of Ottawa Real Estate Agents: Diane & Jen.
I’m not just saying this because Diane & Jen contacted me to update their headshots, but because I had long noticed their friendly and casual two-woman team portraits around town. They were location photos, shot in a doorway, and in a park. They included the very neighbourhoods that they’re buying and selling homes in making that one extra connection for their potential clients; they’re not just people in suits in a photographers studio, they live and work in your neighbourhood.
They also have an amazing support team of associate Sales Representatives, brokers, and admin. Diane & Jen wanted to enter the spring season with their revised images, so we were unable to shoot outside (our particularly harsh winter kept snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures well through April). Diane’s amazing mid-century home had just the right amount of textures for us to create some backgrounds that were grounded in “homes:” Brick, Wood, and Concrete. And while this did push things more to the studio-like environment we try to avoid, the team all came in their professional, but not necessarily suited-up, wardrobe. I consider this the “New Professional” we can be professionals without wearing a tie and jacket every day. We can be professional while remaining comfortable and colloquial; without a giant shit-eating grin. We can laugh, we can be human, and still be very, very good at our jobs.
If you live in Ottawa, you’ve probably already seen some of their portraits pop up on bike-stands and whatever else agents stick their faces on. After all, it’s this familiarity and repetition of their brand that, when it comes time for someone to buy or sell a home, will lead to their clients contacting them. And I think their images stand out compared to all the rest.