Mobile Photography for Property Marketing

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TTP June 2017

Evan L. Schwartz, Marketing Coordinator

Gone are the days when toting around an oversized camera with complicated settings was necessary for taking quality photos. In fact, smart phones with built-in cameras have become so advanced that they seemingly do all the work for you.  So much so, that more and more real estate professionals are ditching the bulky, traditional camera in favor for the one that is already in their pocket.

Mobile technology has come a long way since Sanyo released the first camera phone to the U.S. market back in 2002.  While a 0.3-megapixel camera phone was advanced at the time, it pales in comparison to Apple’s iPhone 7 and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 which both have a 12-megapixel camera.  Even with all of the advances in technology, there are other elements to consider.  Lighting, composition and editing, when done properly can elevate property photos and truly make an impact when marketing a property.

When taking exterior shots, it is always best to shoot on a sunny day with minimal cloud cover. Nothing can ruin the tone of a photo more than a dull, gray sky.  Although bright sun is good, it is never best to shoot directly into the sun.  Always make an attempt to keep the sun behind the camera.  In the Northern Hemisphere, that typically means the southern facade of the building will produce the best shots. Capturing glare-free shots of both the east and west sides should be possible but will depend on the time of day.   The north side of the building will be easiest to shoot early morning or late afternoon when the sun is far from its highest point.

When photographing a property it is important to take a variety of shots with diverse, interesting compositions.  Wide angle shots taken from a distance that show a large portion of the subject property are obligatory but experimenting with some close up shots on various parts of the building can highlight some unique architectural features and pepper the final collection of photos with some artistic interest.

Even with a variety of angles and some creatively composed photos, Mother Nature can be unreliable, which means there might be some work to do in the editing room.  Fortunately, most mobile devices also come packed with some pretty powerful  – and easy to use – editing tools.  One of the most basic ways to brighten up even the dullest of photos is to adjust the Highlights and Shadows.  Highlights represent the brightest points of the photo while shadows represent the darkest areas.  Try working in small increments to decrease the darkness of the shadows while making the highlights even brighter.  This method works particularly well for interior shots, which often lack the presence of natural light.  One thing to keep in mind when editing is that less is more.  Over-editing a photo may cause it to appear grainy and lose some of its natural luster.  Additionally, it may be best to avoid applying overused filters.  Remember the ultimate goal is to bring out the best qualities of the subject property without falsifying reality.


  • The sun can be a friend or an enemy. Remember that bright light is good but direct sun should be avoided
  • Experiment with different compositions. A really great marketing piece should have a diverse collection of photos that present the subject from different perspectives.
  •  It may still be necessary to do some post-photoshoot editing. A little bit of editing can go a long way and help enhance the best qualities of a property.