It’s super convenient and budget-friendly to take photos of your listings using smartphones. Most smartphones nowadays come with a pretty decent camera and you don’t have to pay out of your pocket for it. However, there are some limitations that can stop you from delivering good photos:
- Narrow camera range – the lens is not wide enough for you to capture the whole room
- Fixed lighting – you have little to no control of the camera’s setting, therefore, you can’t adjust it accordingly to the environment.
- Small ineffective flash – the build in flash is not bright enough to effectively lit up the entire room.
No fear! There are a few things you can add to your phone to fix these problems.
A steady tripod is a photographer’s best friend, whether it is for professional digital camera or mobile. A tripod will be an enormous help when you are trying to take photos with long exposure. It can keep the phone from moving, which might be difficult if you hand-held it, to produce a sharp image in a low-light environment. It also helps with taking tilt-free photos.
You don’t need a large tripod. Since you only using it for your mobile, you can just get a small, thin tripod that allows you to easily pack it in your bag. There are a variety of tripods you can choose from. From the short tripods which can be attached to another object, or those tall and thin ones that collapse into small size. Whatever you choose, it’s important to make sure that the tripod is completely steady.
Note: Check your tripod before taking it for the first photo shoot. You might have to buy a phone mount for it (since most of them are made for cameras).
2. Remote Shutter Release:
Another tool to help minimize the phone from shaking is the remote shutter release. Using a remote shutter release (with a tripod) ensures that the photo will come out exactly how you framed it. Additionally, you now can free yourself from the limited time frame of self-timer settings. You are able to take the photo whenever you want to.
The easiest remote shutter release that you can find is already included when you buy your phone: the earbuds. Most of the recent models of smartphone come with earbuds with buttons to control the volume of music. These buttons can also be used as a remote shutter release.
There are also wireless remotes sold separately which allow you to take photos without being limited by the length of your earbud wire. Of course, this option will be a little more expensive than wired shutter releases.
3. External Light Source:
The built-in flash of most smartphones may not be bright enough to effectively light up the dark corners of a room. Thus, an externally portable light source, designed for photography, can come in handy if you need some extra light. With this option, you will be able to adjust the strength of the light, its position accordingly, and have a better distribution of light throughout the room.
You can either choose to get a simple LED light (inexpensive but offers you steady light) or a flash that connected to your phone via Bluetooth (more expensive but adjustable and wireless). A large light source is not necessary, a small one should be good enough.
You can choose between a steady light…
…Or a wireless flash
Note: Make sure you check if the wireless flash is supported and compatible with your phone.
4. Smartphone Applications:
There are a variety of apps out there for both Android and IOS which aim at increasing the quality of the photos. Depend on the application, they will offer you different levels of control over the settings of your camera that you don’t usually get. A lot of the apps also come with extra features such as stabilization and a level gauge to keep your photo blurry-free and tilt-free. You would definitely see improvements in your photos’ quality.
Some apps even offer an editor so you can touch up your photos after taking them. Below are a few recommendations of apps you can use to improve the photo’s quality. These apps price rank from free to $4.99 at most:
- Pro HRD X – $1.99
- Camera + – $2.99
- 645 Pro MKIII – $3.99
- Pro Shot – $3.99
- Pro Camera – $4.99
- Camera 360 – Free
- A Better Camera – Free or $0.99 (full version on sale)
- Camera FV 5 – $3.95
- Camera Zoom FX Premium – Free or $3.95 (full version)
- Pro Shot – $3.99
5. External Lenses:
Using an external lens is one way you can to tackle the problem of narrow camera angle. The type of lenses you should be paying attention to are the ones that offer wide angle. The prices range from under $20 up to hundreds of dollars, depending on the brand.
The popular options at the moment are the Olloclip and Moment lenses. They are both under $100 and received great reviews from users. Cheaper alternatives are also available on the market. For example, the CamKix 9 Piece Camera Lens Kit (around $39.99), Mpow Clip-On Lens (starting from under $20), or the Photojojo’s Magnetic Lens ( $20 for each individual lens).
(From Left to Right, Top Down Botton) CamPix, Olloclip, Moment
However, we highly recommend you do some research and read as many reviews as you can before purchasing one. Be absolutely sure that you know exactly what you are getting before spending your money. Although it does increase the camera’s view range, some of the lenses may distort the edges of the photo, giving it a bit of the fish eye effect.
If you are thinking of buying a lens kit that will cost you hundreds of dollars, we recommend you investing that in a good digital camera instead. (Check out our article on how to get better photo with digital camera).