Smartphone technology has advanced so much in recent years. Every time big players like Apple and Samsung come out with a new version of smartphones, consumers are blown away by the capabilities. In the photography department, smartphones really are living up to their name. They can handle tricky lighting situations, take high-resolution images, and have more features than ever before.
As a real estate agent, you can use your smartphone to elevate your business. To help you, we have created this guide on how to shoot real estate photography with your smartphone so we can get the best results possible for your business.
How To Prepare The Room for Real Estate Photography
Before you photograph the room, you need to take the following steps:
- Remove all furniture and other objects from the room, including pictures on the walls and removable items such as lampshades.
- Clean the floors and dust the surfaces.
- Make sure that the curtains or blinds are open to let in natural light when you are shooting.
Basically, you want to photograph a bare, clean, empty room so our designers can easily stage the room using our innovative virtual home staging.
Pro Tip: If there are items you can't move either due to their size or because the current homeowners are still living in the house, we have an item removal service that you can select when you send the photos through.
How To Prepare Outdoor Areas for Real Estate Photography
Basically, you follow the same concept as the interior by removing anything that isn't attractive and making the area clean and tidy. Think of the space as a canvas. We want a fresh, blank canvas to work with if possible.
Move any outdated garden furniture or pot plants that aren't looking their best, sweep the paths, tidy up the garden, and remove any other unsightly items.
How To Shoot Real Estate Photography with a Smartphone
Hold your phone firmly with two hands to keep it steady, so the images are clear and sharp. Or if you can get even better results with a tripod. You can buy them online for affordable prices, and the improvement will be well worth the small investment. You don't need to buy the most expensive or fancy one. Just a simple, lightweight tripod that can fit in your bag will be perfect. Use the self-timer setting to get even sharper images.
Shoot landscape or horizontally to show as much of the space as possible. There are times when you will feel shooting vertically is best (and you are probably right), but just in case, shoot a version in landscape too, so we have both versions to work from. Examples, when you might shoot vertically, are stairs, doors, and detail shots.
Shoot straight on and try to align your camera perfectly with the walls. If you can find a grid setting on your camera, it will help you line up your shot. The aim is for the horizontal and vertical lines of the wall to line up with your viewfinder or the grid if you have that tool on your camera.
Never zoom in when you are photographing real estate with your smartphone because the quality of the image will be lowered. The image is basically cropped, so you are just getting a smaller part of the image, and that is why it is never so clear when you zoom in. The more you zoom in, the more unclear the image becomes. The only time we recommend you use the zoom feature on your smartphone is if you see Beyonce in the street - never miss that shot!
Getting Fancy with Real Estate Photography
If you are already confident photographing properties or want to take your photos to the next level, you can buy lenses to attach to your smartphone. We recommend the Moment range of lenses because they are of excellent quality, affordable, and easy to use. The 18 mm wide-angle lens will be especially helpful if your smartphone doesn't already have a wide-angle built-in. Your images will be sharp, and this lens is designed to limit distortion.
When To Shoot Real Estate Photography
Take your photos during the day when there is plenty of natural light coming in through the windows. If you notice the light is great on one side of the house in the morning but not in the afternoon, you might want to do two shooting sessions - morning and afternoon.
You may notice the light in the room is great, but the outside is too bright. To compensate for this you can download an app like Snapseed to edit your photos. There are tools such as the brush tool which you can use on overexposed areas of your photo. You can also adjust the white balance if the room has a yellow cast for example or use the perspective tool if you didn’t take the photo exactly straight.
Take images from chest level and hold the camera close to your body. Also, from the same spot, kneel to get the same image from a different angle. This will often make the picture look more prominent and grander and is excellent for outdoor exterior shots.
Cloudy, overcast days can be great for shooting as the light is even. Avoid rainy, dark days if possible. Light is always your friend when you are taking real estate photos.
Best Lighting for Shooting Real Estate Photography
Natural light is always flattering and beautiful. Open curtains and blinds to let in as much natural light as possible. If there is plenty of natural light, you don't need to turn on the lights in the room.
If there isn't much light, you might want to turn on the lighting. Whenever you are unsure, just take two versions - with and without the lights on.
Try not to use flash if you can make use of gorgeous natural light. If you do use flash, be careful of reflections and glare from windows and mirrors. If you have that handy tripod, you shouldn't need lights or flash. Always try to shoot with natural light and no flash if possible.
How Many Images To Take
Please take photos from each corner of the room so we can see the space from every angle. Take the picture from the standard angle and lower angle if appropriate. Don't be afraid to hold the camera high and take a photo looking down. This can be great to showcase features like detailed tiling or lovely wooden floors.
Imagine you are the buyer who is excited to see what might be their forever home. You want to see every view and angle of the room. It is better to take too many images than not enough, so don't be scared to shoot away.
Wide Angle Shots
Wide-angle shots are great to show all or a lot of the room. Large rooms are best for wide-angle shots. You will notice images can get distorted if you use the wide-angle setting in a small space. Especially objects close to the camera can look unusually large or distorted.
Practice Makes Perfect
We don't expect you to be shooting like a professional, but you will notice improvement over time as you practice. Try taking photos of your own home to get used to the process.
Some homes are easy to photograph, while others are tricky. Small spaces are always more challenging to showcase, and tight areas such as tiny rooms and staircases can also be challenging. Don't worry, you will get better over time for sure. Just keep practicing.
Once you master the skills to shoot real estate photography on your smartphone, you can teach your whole team how to do the same. Delegating the job to your team can save you even more time.
Virtual Staging and Real Estate Photography: A Match Made in Heaven
Where does virtual staging come in?
Research proves properties that are home staged sell for more than homes that are vacant or lived in. Also, they sell much quicker. As a real estate agent, you probably have seen the impressive results yourself.
But traditional home staging takes time to physically move every piece of furniture and every single item of décor in every room. You need to coordinate schedules with the home staging company, house owners, and photographer. Then the cost of storage, staging, and photography adds up quite a lot.
How can it be faster and more cost-efficient? We have come up with a solution! Real estate agents are so excited about our virtual home staging services. They can see the potential clearly.
Imagine the time and money you can save and all the sales you can push through faster if you can get your home virtually staged the very same day you send us the photos. It's like we have given you a magic wand!
Our team at VirtualStaging.com, is masterful at taking images and making them look better. That is what we do best.
We can make a dull sky look blue or even add a sunset. We can remove unsightly tiles and replace them with a modern version. We can even change the wallpaper and carpet if you wish.
We also offer the following services at excellent rates and fast turnaround times:
- Virtual staging with eight different furniture styles to choose from, including Modern, Farmhouse, Coastal, Rustic, and Scandinavian interior design styles.
- Image enhancement — We can make small tweaks and improvements in order to turn your smartphone photos into proper professional real estate photography.
- Furniture removal — Too heavy to move? No problem. We can remove large objects digitally to save you on the heavy lifting
- Wall change — We can change the wallpaper or cover up bad paint jobs.
- Floor change — We can also change the tiles or carpet into something less outdated.
- Twilight shots can show your clients what the property looks like in the evening
- 360-degree virtual staging — We can turn your images into an immersive virtual tour experience.
Our job is made easier when we have a quality image to work from. If you can provide us with them, our delivery and turnaround time will be fast (only 4 - 8 hours if you order from 7 AM to 7 PM PST).
VirtualStaging.com is all about saving you time and maximizing your profits. We believe our virtual staging service achieves this goal in so many ways. With our speedy turnaround time and dedicated delivery system, your sales will be on fire!
We hope this article has inspired you to realize you are capable of taking your own real estate images. Even if you prefer to leave the job to a professional photographer, it's a great skill for you to have. You never know when you might be in a hurry to get a house on the market. Maybe you have to wait for the pro so you can do the job faster. Or maybe you are inspecting potential properties and want to get a start on the photography to share with potential buyers.
No matter if you want to do all your own photography or occasionally do photography for your work or business, we want you to know it's possible for you to do it yourself in a professional manner.
Your smartphone has built-in lenses and sensors that can handle many lighting situations. The resolution is incredible these days, and you can easily achieve pro-level real estate photography with your smartphone. It should take you about 30-60 minutes to photograph a large home properly.
Now you can be in control of taking stunning real estate photography for your business, and we will stage the home in the style you feel your clients will be most attracted to. They will get a vision of how the home might look when they move in, and before you know it, that for sale sign on the front lawn will have a big sold sticker across it.
Are you ready to try out your smartphone photography skills? We are sure once you try our high-tech virtual home staging service, you will want to home stage all the properties in your portfolio. We can't wait to help you sell all the beautiful homes you have listed.