Take great photos of your home with your phone

Based on our observations from the massive number of photos we edited for homeowners, here's a list of easy tips in helping you take great photographs of your home. If you own a professional camera, and know how to use it, that’s great! If that’s not the case you don’t need to worry, because your smart phone camera most likely has all the functionalities you need for capturing great photos of your home.

Before You Start

Preparation is key. Check the weather conditions and your availability during the day to choose the best time for your shoot, sunny days are always better! You can always use tools like Oda Studio to edit your images to make things look sharper and more vivid, but having the best conditions possible during the shoot improves results significantly!

Weather conditions & time of day. The best time to shoot is usually during the golden hour, shortly after sunrise or before sunset, as warm colors evoke positive feelings such as happiness, excitement, and optimism. Orange and reddish hues add a positive touch to photos, just make sure they are not too overbearing.

Contrast & shadows. Shadows and contrast are other equally important components to pay attention to in shootings. When the sun/lightsource is vertical (during noon) it can be very harsh and may cause deep shadows that are hard to overcome, so keep that in mind when deciding on whether you should shoot in AM or PM, or both. Try to avoid shots of areas that have high contrast such as dark versus light settings, or bright sunlight and shadows; your camera would focus on an object, making other objects in the frame look washed out/too dark. If the images still look dark or grainy, consider flipping the light switch or try shooting another time with more ample natural light.

Create a mental map. Make sure you have a clear idea of your shooting path with parts of the property you would like to cover. Remember, your shots together sequentially will form your portfolio and tell a story; think about what you want the story to be.

Think about what’s going to look good visually. If there are properties you definitely want to highlight (e.g. view from a bedroom window) make sure you take multiple shots of them at different times of the day. Try taking images from room corners. Experiment with the height at which you hold your camera and try to capture ceilings and floors in the same frame to help viewers see rooms in their entirety. Shoot from a few different angles, you can use the simple image assessment algorithms to choose the scenes that are more likely to appeal to audiences.

Gather Your Equipment

photo of a few electronics on a surface: a macbook, sunglasses, an SLR camera, an iphone, a kindle, and a notebook
Your smart phone is sufficient to get you started on rental photos.

If you are using a smartphone, make sure you:

  • Use the back camera for better quality footage
  • Shoot in landscape mode (horizontally instead of vertically)
  • Turn on the overlay grid on your screen, if you have it, so you have a guide for keeping your phone level
  • Take “straight” shots Try to keep your smartphone straight up and down (parallel to the walls) when you snag your shots. Take an extra moment or two to make sure that the vertical and horizontal lines in your room are straight before you capture. If you have used a wide angle option before, try experimenting without distorting angles. If it is your first time doing a shooting, avoiding fisheye or wide lense might be the best option.
  • If you have the budget for it, we highly recommend purchasing a gimbal stabilizer for your camera for steadier hand held shots and a reliable video tripod.

On Site

tidy up your images
Tidy up your images!

Tidy up. Make sure the place looks as clean and orderly as possible. Remove as much clutter as you can, they take attention away from your subject. If it is a furnished apartment, make sure the pillows are fluffy and the plants look alive. If someone is already living in the apartment, make sure their bed is made and the dirty laundry is hidden.

Have fun with it. Get down, head upward to capture unique views and make your property shine! Freedom and exploration is a great way to get the best shots while having fun with videography, and can rejuvenate your creative spirit!

a photo of a view from the window, with the window serving as a frame within a frame in the photo
Try experimenting with different angles and framing, and most importantly, have fun!

When You Are Done

Review your work. Review your images to make sure the quality is satisfactory and everything is saved.

Edit, but keep things real. A bit of enhancement could help you bring out the best angles and lighting in your images. However, it is very important to make sure your property is represented accurately and realistically for the viewers. To avoid any confusion or deception, you may use auto-editing tools to enhance your images based on insights gathered from millions of property images.

Don't Forget

  • Don’t rush. Make sure you move at a reasonable speed while shooting to avoid any blurriness.
  • Correct framing matters. Make sure to capture what is important in the frame. For example, if you are shooting a small bathroom with a tub, you might miss the bathtub if you only shoot at human eye level. Keep an eye out for such situations, and adjust your camera accordingly to capture everything in a room.
  • Be intentional about your lighting. Having plenty of light adds cheer and create an ethereal feel. Shooting during the day is best most of the time (unless if you are shooting a property that has great city views, in which case you would want shots from both day and night time) If are working with existing lights (like lamps and the sun), think of how you can make it work for your particular scene.
  • No on-camera flash. The flash that comes with your phone isn’t great for most things. Using it as your main light source may create flat, textureless images with no dimension. Even putting an external speedlight on top of your phone is not any better because the direction of light is still straight on to the subject. Try to avoid it as much as you can.

Feel free to come back to this guide as needed, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out: info@odaportal.com

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