Is My Smartphone Good Enough for Property Photographs?

The quality of the cameras that are embedded in ‘smartphones’ available recently can produce some surprisingly good results. However, when considering what it is that we are doing – promoting the qualities of a particular property through images, it is essential to take a moment to really consider the pros and cons. Is a ‘that’s sufficient’ approach truly in the best interest of establishing and continuing long term business success?


Most people carry a mobile phone as a convenience, and because of this convenience it may seem expedient to consider using the camera on a mobile phone to try to capture the qualities of the property you are commissioned to sell. Irrespective of the skills of the photographer those skills will be ‘blunted’ and produce average results, even though those results can be acceptable, as the cameras on mobile phones are limited. Despite the relative quality and range of functionality of these cameras and the variations between manufacturer and model, most mobile phones’ image sensors are significantly smaller capturing less information at a lower resolution.


Without getting too technical- the size of the sensor inside the camera is pivotal in the quality of the final image; whether it be a ‘still’ or video recording. A sensor, in the broadest terms is a device with the purpose of detecting changes in the environment and electronically relaying that information. In this instance, measuring changes in visible light,to other electronics, usually a computer processor.The larger the sensor the greater the amount of information relayed from the sensor to the hardware and software.

Generally speaking, the resolution of a sensor is the smallest change it can detect in the quantity that it is measuring: and the larger the sensor the greater the resolution (clear detail).Similarly, the type and quality of lens will markedly influence the quality of the final image. Even with advances in technology current mobile phones sensor size will be small and the lens inevitably less precise than dedicated professional equipment.

To save file space on your phone, the image will be compressed, usually to a JPEG file. This means that a lot of information taken with the phones camera will be ‘averaged out’ by the image processing software and there is a likelihood that there will be further significant degradation of detail (resolution) in the final photograph.



Professional photographers typically use larger sensors and much higher quality lenses to capture more information at a higher resolution, resulting in higher quality more resonant images of your real estate.

Whereas JPEG compressed images are produced by a typical mobile phone, a professional photographer will usually take photographs in RAW. This is an ‘uncompressed’ image format that allows the use of all of the sensor’s information to be used in the final image. So not only are the sensors bigger enabling capture of richer layers of detail, the lens is of higher quality offering less distortion in the final photograph, a significant link with the client. This makes a hugequalitative difference to the detail and veracity of the image.

HDR -The secret of light.

Well lit photographs that include detail in the range of shade and light is a principal distinguishing quality of a professional photograph.

When taking a photograph of an interior, there will be areas that are darker than others. It is very difficult to set the exposure values, the size of the aperture of the camera lens and the length of exposure on the camera so that detail is photographed in the darker areas and not lose detail by over-exposure in the light areas (and vice-versa).

In order to ensure that detail in the dark areas are kept and that detail in the light areas of a room (by a window for example) are kept, several photographs are taken in a ‘rapid burst’ of at least three; one ‘correctly exposed’ one ‘underexposed’ and one ‘overexposed’.

By taking several photographs in quick succession with deliberate under and overexposure means that once the photographs have been taken the under and overexposed photographs are layered over the ‘correctly exposed’ photograph using specific editing software and the resulting single image has detail in the shadows and highlights. These layered variations in exposure values are called High Dynamic Range Images or HDR.

Sona Visual recognizes the value of the experience and attributes of professional photographers and videographers- we value the experience gained over at least two years of practice. Each photographer brings experience and commitment. The added value to utilizing this skill and experience is that questions regarding composition, best camera angles, appropriate lens to be used, and HDR considerations are already answeredand ultimately your client gets the best possible images to showcase their property demonstrating your professionalism as their agent over and above the rest.

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