So, the Permanent Change of Station orders have arrived, and a move is in the near future. Congrats! That often means it’s time to put the family’s house up for sale or rent.
If you know the military lifestyle and the relocation it requires, you also know there can be plenty of competition for both buyers and sellers of homes online. Beautifully composed photos of the house are essential to making any listing stand out above the rest on any real estate website.
Whether you’re a professional real estate agent or a military family with a DIY, get-it-done attitude, the photos for your home listing can’t look like you just “phoned it in” with minimal effort. But with a bit of know-how, you actually can use your iPhone to capture those alluring pics!
If you’re wondering how to take good real estate photos with an iPhone, check out our tips and tools below for getting the best images to attract interested buyers.
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How to Take Real Estate Photos With iPhone
Smartphone technology has evolved tremendously in the past few years. But whether you have the newest iPhone or a more “mature” model, there are numerous ways you can dial in better real estate photos.
1. Master the iPhone Basics
This probably seems obvious, but having a working knowledge of your iPhone’s camera app will be essential for taking your own real estate photos. If all you’ve done is snapped quick pics of kids or pets, take a moment to slow down and explore all the tools that come with the most recent models.
You’ll want to learn how to:
- Use the flash (and turn it off)
- Zoom in and out
- Adjust for low-light situations
- Capture images in HDR mode (High Dynamic Range), which merges multiple images into one photo with a more realistic pop.
Practice holding the phone still while pressing the shutter button. Speaking of hands, make sure your finger isn’t covering the front lens! These may sound super simple, but nothing will separate you from a professional photographer faster than sloppy, amateur skills.
Need some nudging to take practice pics? You can find expert iPhone tips online from Apple. The company’s website offers several tutorial pages, including how to take photos with your iPhone camera and how to create amazing iPhone photos and videos.
A portable battery charger could also be a great basic investment to make sure you always have enough power. There’s nothing sweet about missing that “golden hour” shot of your landscaping because your iPhone ran out of juice. Power banks—at a range of price points—can be found at most major retailers, including Apple, Target, Walmart, Amazon and others.
2. Get Set With Staging
Now that you’ve tackled the basics of how the iPhone camera works, it’s time to simply shoot the photos, right? Not so fast, Ansel Adams! Make sure the home you’re selling is looking its best for picture day.
Because a house becomes a home through living in it, it’s hard not to focus on what makes life in your home special to you. But the space itself needs to be the main attraction of your real estate photos. Not your personal knick-knacks. Not your wandering dog. Not the scuff on the wall from when your kid tried a backflip in boots. Just classy, clean lines and clear, open areas. This means:
- Decluttering surfaces from your décor collections
- Removing smaller pieces of furniture that can free up the flow of a room
- Making the floor seem larger by taking away throw rugs
- Letting in more natural light
- Tidying up in general.
It doesn’t need to look spotless, but it shouldn’t look messy either.
You’ll need to pack personal things for your move anyway, so, putting some of the extras away is like getting a head start. Remember, the iPhone can only do so much with what it has to work with. The rooms you’re shooting don’t need to look sterile and unlived in, but they do need to look like someone else could see their own lives—with their own tastes—making your house their home.
Are you looking for more tips on how to stage a house? Find plenty of information in our 7 Expert Tips for Incorporating Furniture Rental For Staging.
3. Compose a Sturdy Shot
Every space in a home is a bit different, but all of them can benefit from looking their largest from the best vantage point. This usually means taking your iPhone photos from a corner of a room to get the widest view of an area.
Take Light Into Consideration
However, the unique features of a room—such as large windows, long countertops, built-in benches or bookcases, lengthy furnishings and other architectural flourishes—should be easy to see in relation to the rest of the room.
Try to use as much natural light as possible to give your images a warmer, cozier hue. Fluorescent lights and the iPhone flash can’t compete with sunlight for making a space look bright and airy.
Although they make good centerpieces of photos, placing the furnishing at the one-third mark (either side) of a horizontal composition is another classic technique. Be especially mindful of the horizontal lines of these home features, and make sure they’re level in your images too. Don’t give potential buyers that sinking feeling with sloping horizons or dangling picture frames, for example.
Using a Tripod
And don’t just think of taking shots from your line of sight. Perhaps the best view of the room is from a bit higher or lower than your eyes. Using a tripod (or even a monopod or adapted selfie stick) can help you get just the right angle to show off a room’s good side.
Basic tripods for iPhones, which will improve your HDR images even more with sturdy focus, can be found at retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy. Or, look to your local photography equipment shops to purchase similar gear, where you can usually get individual advice on how to use the products.
One more tip: Choose to shoot your images in horizontal or “landscape” mode. Not only will they look more consistent and thus professional, but they’ll probably upload to fit the templates of most real estate websites better.
4. Use an App to Help You Edit
No one is expected to take the perfect real estate picture every time they tap their iPhone’s shutter dot. Whether you use software to edit images as you take them or afterward, there’s nothing wrong with “correcting” your photos. In fact, it’s expected that most images have help nowadays.
RealEstate Photo Edit Apps
Apps specifically made to edit real estate images, such as Photomatix Real Estate Camera, Exposio Real Estate Camera and RE/MAX Quebec Camera, will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you with intuitive tools to adjust exposure, warmth, contrast, sharpness and more. Even better, these tools are usually free (although with in-app purchases).
Do-it-Yourself Photo Edit Apps
Want to try your hand at photo editing more yourself? Image-altering apps such as Snapseed, VSCO and Night Camera can allow you to lighten, darken, straighten, crop or add filters on the fly. You don’t need to get too creative with apps like these, but they could give you the freedom to edit images quickly and upload them to social media.
We wouldn’t be covering all the angles if we didn’t mention the Photoshop Express Photo Editor and Adobe Lightroom Photo Editor apps. Word to the wise: These tools, while powerful, may require some additional training if you’re not familiar with them and want professional results.
Reach for more real estate photo apps for your iOS device at the Apple App Store.
5. Consider External Lenses
Have you devoured all the other photography details but are still hungry to build your iPhone photo chops? An external wide-angle attachment could make you feel like you added a second helping of space to your iPhone images.
This type of attachment, which usually clips onto the outside of your phone or its case, will give your photos the mark of a professional by giving extra space to the outsides of the image (e.g., floors, ceilings, larger rooms) without distorting the image, especially at the edges. You won’t get the usual vignette effect (the darker areas at the corners) either.
An 18 millimeter lens should be a good start to get the most realistic results, and these can be found at a variety of price points. There are many solid options that range between the entry-level Xenvo Pro lens kit and the more-expensive-but-highly-rated Moment wide 18 mm lens, for example. Do some research to find which lens has the features you need on your budget.
Learning how to take real estate pictures with an iPhone is a skill that will always be handy for military families and the real estate professionals serving their needs. Who knows? With your new skills at your fingertips, you may just find your true calling as an iPhone photographer!
Do you have additional hints for how to take real estate photos? Specific apps that helped your photos really shine? Let us know in a comment through our social media pages, and we’ll share it!