As the old saying goes: “The best camera is the one you have on you”. And while you should not use it in all situations, you can take some amazing shots with your iPhone, with a few simple add-ons. Story by Peter Fletcher.
The iPhone offers great potential for quick and easy real estate photography. In the main, I recommend hiring a professional photographer for property listings, but there are plenty of occasions where taking your own photos is acceptable.
Appraisals are one example. When you’re called on to do an appraisal, hiring a professional is, on most occasions, out of the question. Instead, you generally rely on your own photography skills to enhance your listing presentation.
Property managers are also familiar with taking their own photos. During a rental inspection or initial property condition report, some quick photos can provide vital evidence or a reminder of work that needs to be done.
That’s where the iPhone comes in. Forget lugging around a big, clunky camera, or even the cheap point-and-shoot. With up to eight megapixels, your iPhone’s built-in camera can get the job done just fine. And with a few add-ons, your smartphone can be just as good as a purpose-built camera.
The advantage of using your iPhone as your go-to camera for appraisals, inspections or even rental listings is that you’ve always got it with you. As the old saying goes: the best camera is the one you have on you.
What, then, is the best way to get your smart phone’s camera working as a functional part of your professional toolkit?
I’ve compiled five iPhone add-ons to enhance your real estate photography:
1. WIDE-ANGLE LENS
Purpose-built lenses that fit over your iPhone’s built-in camera can bring your mobile up to the level of most regular cameras. One such lens is the wide-angle lens from Olloclip, which is a rounded lens used to fit more into a photo – useful for capturing bathrooms and other small spaces. If you don’t have the coin to buy one, try out the Panorama feature on iOS6. Panorama allows you to create stunning, 240 -degree images of a room or courtyard in seconds.
2. TELEPHOTO LENS
A telephoto lens gives your iPhone the zooming capability of a regular camera. Get up close and personal with a home’s features by giving your camera some extra zoom. A common photography trick is to stand far back from the subject and zoom in, to get better lighting and no warping effect from the rounded lens. If this sounds like what you need, have a look at Photojojo.com’s lens bundle – it includes a wide-angle/macro lens and a telephoto lens.
There’s a range of tripods out there designed just for the iPhone. They are a great way to eliminate hand shake and get clearer photos – and they’re handy for 360-degree shots, too. Use a tripod to create carefully set up shots, rather than snapping every photo from eye level. Try Amazon or eBay if you’re looking for a smart phone tripod.
4. CAMERA PLUS
The Camera Plus iPhone app lets you easily edit your photos and video. The free version allows you to crop photos, set a self-timer and has a range of other simple features such as anti-shake. The $2 ‘Pro’ version boasts brightness and contrast controls, plus a range of filters and other useful features. Use it to enhance your photos, or to touch-up photos that are just that little too dark or washed out.
5. ADOBE PHOTOSHOP EXPRESS
Download Photoshop Express and save valuable storage space by keeping up to 2GB of photos ‘in the cloud’ at Photoshop.com. Photoshop Express allows you to edit them right from your iPhone. A range of editing functionality is available, from altering the exposure to adding fancy filters and borders. A really handy feature is the paid ‘Reduce Noise’ option, which can remedy the grainy look that’s so common in mobile photos.
With these five iPhone add-ons, you can use your mobile to take some amazing photos. Of course, hardware isn’t everything, but these add-ons give you the ability to take pro photos with the most everyday tool – a mobile phone.
Peter Fletcher is an Internet strategist with extensive experience in the real estate industry. After 22 years as an owner, manager, and sales rep, Peter has a solid understanding of the everyday realities faced by people in real estate. Now, Peter helps real estate professionals distil the multitude of digital options into a clear strategy that yields bankable results.