Take Great Real Estate Photos Using your Smartphone

Published: 21 May 2015

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Smartphone Real Estate Photography

Mobile phone camera technology has come along leaps and bounds over the past few years. The camera quality available in smartphones sold today is often equal to (and in some cases far better than) digital cameras being sold for the same price.

That’s why many estate agents and homeowners are choosing to ditch their digital cameras in return for the sophisticated technology they already have.

With that said, taking a good smartphone photo is still hard work and real estate photography requires a careful touch to make sure you get the best results.

That’s why we’ve put together the following list of tips, to help make sure you get the best real estate photos using your smartphone:

1. Check the quality of your camera

If you recently purchased your smartphone, you might find it actually takes better quality pictures than your current camera. Why? Because modern smartphones often push the 8-megapixel mark, which is an amazing amount of quality for something you can fit into your pocket.

Word of warning, don’t be fooled by the display screen, once you get those pictures onto a computer screen, you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised by how great they look.

2. Consider using accessories to create crisp and interesting shots

What to do if you feel your smartphone camera doesn’t quite meet your expectations?

Consider buying some accessories to improve your real estate shots. Given the fact that blurry hand help shots tend to be the biggest culprit for ruined smartphone snapshots, consider investing in the classic tripod and avoid motion blur.

Photographing dim lit property? If you feel like the flash on your camera isn’t quite cutting it, check out external synchronized flash bulbs.

You can even get third-party lenses that slot on to the back of your phone, some attach by magnet and others come with cases with threaded attachments so you can screw the lenses right on. Check out wide-angle lenses for landscape shots and macro lenses for close-ups of intricate home details. You could even try experimenting with a fish-eye lense for a unique perspective.

My favourite by far are wide-angle shots, they provide killer property shots by making things appear bigger and creates an air of luxury. Check out the before and after below to see the difference it makes!

Wide angle Property Shots

3. Learn to creatively work around the limitations that come with using small devices

It’s important to realise that smartphone cameras will never take professional-level photographs, but you can still take steps to work around the limitations that come with using these small devices.

Dark conditions are often the biggest problems smartphones face – so if you can’t afford one of the handy lighting flashbulbs I previously mentioned, you might want to choose a bright day to shoot your property. Remember to open curtains and doors to let as much natural light in as possible when you do so.

Another thing to remember is to take extras! Take ten times more photos than you might think necessary. A small, low-resolution display makes it difficult to see the exact details in each of your photos. So get extra shots and move around the room to play with different angles and perspectives. You can go through the photos later on your PC and discard any that won’t work. Trust me, when you do so you’ll be glad you have surplus to play with.

4. Learn the laws of composition and draw the viewers eye to what you want to highlight

Good composition really does make a world of difference when it comes to any sort of photography and both smartphone photography and real estate photography are no exception.

Study the Rule of Thirds and the Fibonacci Spiral to make sure the viewer’s eye is drawn to the specific part of the home you want to emphasize. Most smartphone cameras have a built-in grid feature that you can use to make sure everything lines up perfectly. If your smartphone doesn’t possess a grid feature consider searching for an app you can use (like the Samsung Smart Camera App) or take your real estate photos using the Instagram app which also has an inbuilt grid function.

5. Use editing apps to enhance the quality and get the best possible results

What happens if your photos turn out a bit dim or grungy? You can enhance the quality of your photos with editing software for your phone or desktop. Check out some of these apps for various different types of smartphones – tools like these make it really easy to resize, adjust brightness, ramp up the color, and remove imperfections. However make sure you save the originals first so that if you make any mistakes you can revert back easily.

See how editing can transform real estate photography in our before and after example below!

Editing Photos

While you’re at it, why not upload a few of your best snaps to your social account to gauge buyers interest surrounding the property, leaving them wanting to see more once your listing goes live.

Final Note

Don’t be intimidated by the big-budget real estate agents and their professional photographers. A good home (at the right price) sells itself: the photographer’s job is just to capture it as accurately and invitingly as possible.

Camera-phone or smartphone photography has often been branded amateurish, but that has nothing to do with the real capabilities of the available technology. Rest assured that if you approach the task like a professional, you’ll get professional results.

The capabilities are there, all it takes it practice and a bit of creativity to master them.

If you follow these tips you can't go wrong and it really is worth giving it a go, otherwise you might find your real estate photos end up here.

Do you use your smartphone to take real estate photos or do you think it's best to leave it to the professionals? Let us know in the comments below!


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