Take Great Cell Phone Photos

Real Estate Edition

Part One

You may be asking yourself “Why would a photographer want to show me how to take cell phone photos? Wouldn’t that affect your business?” The truth is I have seen a lot of really bad photos on the MLS, taken both by phone and “professional” camera gear and I want to help improve the overall quality of photos. If Realtors and Clients both come to expect high quality photography that will raise the bar, and I believe, increase the demand for my services.

Most modern cell phones have incredible cameras built in. The trick is in knowing how to make sure the camera is set for Real Estate and how to properly edit the photo after it’s taken. None of this is difficult, but it can be time consuming. There will also be some purchases that need to be made along the way. Let’s get right into it.

This room is Wonky

The first thing I want to discuss is the use of a tripod. Most people will grab their phone, hold it out in front of their face and shoot away. While this is fine for many photo applications, it is not for Real Estate. When you photograph a room from face height you have to tilt the camera down to include the floor and not show too much ceiling. When the camera is tilted down the vertical lines in the room will angle out at the top, making it look like you’re in a Funhouse. Not a good look.

Wide angle
That’s much better

The proper camera height generally is around 45″, roughly the height of the wall switches in most homes. By framing the shot from this lower height you are able to show a good amount of the floor with enough ceiling to make sense, all while keeping your phone in a proper vertical orientation. When your phone is adjusted to a proper vertical orientation the lines in the room are parallel and it looks correct to the eye. A tripod makes it easier to maintain a consistent height throughout the shoot and to easily adjust for vertical.

The second reason for a tripod is that slow shutter speeds are frequently required to get a proper exposure inside a dark room. We have all seen those homes that feel like you’re in a cave. When the shutter speed is slow any movement will cause the photo to be blurry. A tripod keeps the camera from moving, especially if you use the timer feature or a remote trigger. I’ll talk about that a little later.

Inexpensive Tripod

This is a very inexpensive tripod that I picked up on Amazon. It was less than $20 and it came with a cell phone mounting adapter, a GoPro style adapter and a Bluetooth Remote Trigger for your phone. What a bargain.

Will it last for years? Not a chance! In fact mine has already started to break after only a few uses, but it will give you opportunity to try out taking pictures with a tripod for very little investment. Did I mention that it includes a remote trigger? If you determine that you want to continue taking Real Estate Pics then you can always upgrade to a better quality tripod. Here is the link if you want to purchase. (Not an Affiliate Link, just sharing what I found for cheap)

Notice how the phone is roughly the same height as the wall switch on the left.

If you decide that taking your own Real Estate Photos is not for you, and you’re in the Hernando, Citrus or N. Pasco County area, contact me and we can discuss your needs.

That was a long one. Next time we will be discussing lenses and adapters. It will be a shorter post, I promise.