*Smartphone* Job-site Photos - 5 Tips for Great Exterior Shots

October 13, 2015

5 Quick Tips for smartphone pictures of house exteriors.

Successfully marketing your contracting business today requires having great photos of your work and circulating them on your website and social media networks (Instagram, Facebook, etc.). Yeah?

We found many great recommendations for photographing houses, which was cool. But we also noticed that they all required a fancy camera and tripod, which is not cool. Because while those might be great tools, we know most contractors won't always have them handy like they do their smartphone. 

So following the old adage, “often the best tool for the job is the one in your hand”, we wanted to offer a few quick points for taking great outdoor photos of houses / job sites with your smartphone.  We thought some of you might want to see example photos of these points so we put them over here: Truewerk Example Photos.

Keep the sun at your back.
Take pictures of:
  • East facing houses in the morning.
  • West facing houses in the afternoon (or during the sunset “Golden Hour”)
  • South facing houses, most of the day (mid-day can help reduce shadow issues).
  • North facing houses either early in the AM, late in the PM or during cloudy times.        
Use perspective in your photos rather than shooting straight on.
Gain perspective by shooting from the side of the house rather than straight on. It will show more the home and add interest to the photo. This often allows you to remove objects like cars, real estate signs, etc. from the photo. (where did the door go?)
Turn on the phone's HDR Setting.
This is one of the times when the magic HDR mode can help lighten harsh shadows and balance the photo. Remember to hold the phone steady for a little longer with HDR on because it's capturing the multiple images needed for the magic. More info on HDR here. 
Don't tilt the phone/camera, keep it square to the subject to avoid distorting.

Don’t tilt the phone / camera. This will cause the house to taper and look out of proportion, like it's being squeezed. Keep the phone square to the house and crop out the foreground (frequently the street or sidewalk) as needed.

Use cropping rather than zooming to frame your subject.  

Zooming on a smartphone-camera reduces the quality of the image. Resist the urge. Instead, take the picture with too much background and then crop using the phone’s editing features.


To milk even more performance from your smartphoneyou might consider an app that allow more manual control over exposure, ISO, focal points, etc. These are becoming more common and very powerful. They are also an excellent way to learn how each setting effects the images because the adjustments typically display on the screen in real time even before you take the picture. We've had great luck using VSCOcam and would recommend it. 


Other tips from your experience? Please share!  


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