Why smartphone property photography isn’t good enough

Throughout the last decade, the estate agency sector was engaged in a race to the bottom. Homeowners were wooed by companies offering headline three-figure fees for property marketing, without considering which corners might be cut in the pursuit of savings. In many cases, those savings were made by using one person to undertake every aspect of a property’s marketing and advertising – the schedule production, the viewer vetting, price negotiations and photography.

The latter was aided in part by advances in mobile phone technology. The latest smartphones are packed with multiple cameras, offering features like optical zoom and wide-angle lenses which were formerly the preserve of professional SLR cameras. There’s no doubt that the iPhone 11 and Google Pixel 4 deliver stunning images, in certain conditions. You can even obtain perform perfectly acceptable smartphone property photography in bright outdoor conditions, providing you can take twenty paces back before framing your shot.

However, property photography isn’t all about standing across the street from a bungalow on a sunny day. It’s about capturing what industry insiders refer to as whole-room shots, which give prospective buyers an instant and accurate impression of each room in a property. It’s about capturing ancillary apartments like cloakrooms and bathrooms, where a lack of wide-angle coverage will do nothing to demonstrate the property’s appeal or character.

Despite the undoubted maturity of camera technology in phones with four-figure price tags, there are various reasons why no professional photographer would ever offer their clients smartphone property photography:

  1. Wide-angle lenses aren’t that advanced. Even the finest smartphone lens will suffer bowing and distortion around its edges – something SLRs eliminated a decade ago.
  2. Internal flashes are quite unsophisticated. They’re generally on or off – flooding the foreground while darkening other areas, or simply disappearing in a large room.
  3. You can’t use external flashes. Professional property photographers will use at least one flash gun to evenly disperse light around interiors, while G75 Images uses two.
  4. It’s hard to get vertical lines straight. An SLR camera is much easier to hold vertically and avoid trapezoidal wall effects, where the room/building looks like it’s falling.
  5. You can’t mount a smartphone on a floor-mounted tripod. Tripods and monopods are great for ensuring stability while taking a picture, but they don’t fit phones or tablets.
  6. There’s no weather protection. SLR cameras have rain hoods, which also stop low sun from dazzling the camera lens. Smartphone camera lenses don’t have this facility.
  7. Photography modes are limited. You’ll struggle to find a smartphone where you can adjust the aperture or overexpose a twilight external to achieve optimal brightness.
  8. It’s not very professional. Smartphone property photography won’t create a good impression with clients. It smacks of cost-cutting, and hints at amateurishness.

When you use a professional commercial and residential property photography agency like G75 Images, you won’t be faced with smartphone property photography. The photograph accompanying this article shows how a wide-angle lens and strategic flash gun deployment can bring a space to life. Take a look at the services we offer to see more examples of our commercial and residential property photography work. And if you like what you see, please get in touch  to request a quote for our freelance property photography services.