Thinking of selling your home, or just have an awesome home improvement project you want to show off? The right photos can help accentuate any home or project by highlighting the best details, working the best angles, and using the right lighting. You’ve spent a lot of time making your home look its best—now learn how to take pictures that prove it.
Prepare your phone
Your smart phone gets a lot of daily use, so the lens likely has dirt, grime, and fingerprints built up on it. A smudge or speck on your camera lens can ruin an otherwise great picture, so be sure to clean it before you begin taking photos.
Next, set your cell phone’s camera settings to the highest resolution that your phone allows. And try using the landscape orientation for any exterior photos — this setting allows you to fit more into your shot and makes pictures look better when viewed on a larger computer screen.
Set the scene
Taking the time necessary to prepare a shot is key to having the subject of your picture highlighted. If you’re photographing the inside of your home, declutter the area so it is free of books, dishes, yesterday’s mail, the dog’s bone, and any other household items you don’t want in the shot.
If you’re outside, rake the leaves and move any bicycles, gardening supplies, or unwound hoses out of the way. This allows the viewer to focus on your home or project, not the background distractions.
Use lighting to your advantage
A well-lit picture invites more interest, and the right lighting can make all the difference. When taking shots inside your house, turn on all the lights and take advantage of any natural lighting coming into the house.
When shooting outside, it’s all about timing. The best landscape photos are usually taken during the “magic hours” — either in the early morning at sunrise or later in the evening at sunset.
Plan to spend at least 20 minutes taking pictures so you can get the right balance of darkness and light to make your home look cozy. Turn on all the indoor and outdoor lights to help convey your home’s warmth. Finally, avoid taking any pictures of the front of your house with the sun rising behind it — backlighting can make your pictures look bleached.
Try the rule of thirds
When it comes to composing or framing your photo, an important trick of the trade is to think of your shot in terms of a tic-tac-toe board. Place the focus area of your shot at the intersection of one of these lines and not at the center of the photo.
Since digital photos cost nothing (but digital storage space) to take, experiment using different intersecting lines for the focus of your picture. See which picture seems to captivate the most interest and delete the ones that don’t.
Work the angles
Photographing a house head-on is a good way to show what the house looks like, but quite frankly, most home pictures are taken this way. Try to think of different ways you can take pictures of your house or projects that show off their potential.
For example, try taking a picture of your house from the sidewalk and not straight on. It will show a larger part of the front of your house and your yard from an interesting angle.
Flaunt your home’s best features, such as the archway that leads to the front door or the olive tree standing guard at the front, with some closeup shots that show off their details. Try taking a picture at the base of the tree shooting upward to highlight the tree while still offering a glimpse of the house, or turn your phone upside down, kneel, and take a shot. The different camera perspective adds interest.
Use filters to fine tune
Snapchat and Instagram made filters popular, but photo filters have been around for a long time. There are several photo filter apps available that turn a nice picture into an extraordinary picture.
Apps like Snapseed come with several filters, from Portrait to Pop to Fine Art, that help give your picture an extra emphasis in color, lighting, or an antique feel, depending on what you’re looking for.
After selecting a filter, you can use the Tools to fine tune your photo. Change the perspective, add HDR Scape (one of my favorites, which amplifies your filter) or add a Lens Blur to add more focus to the area of your picture you want to highlight. There’s even a drama tool to really make your photo pop.
Photo filter apps such as this can help enhance your photos, allowing them to stand out and accentuate your subject.
Today, everyone has phones, and pictures have never been more prolific than any time in history. It takes time to take and make great shots but sharing them is almost as rewarding as showing off your home or project masterpiece itself. Have fun with it!
Lori Cunningham is a contributing writer for Xfinity Mobile who is always looking to find new ways that technology can help her with her over-scheduled life. She started the WellConnectedMom.com to share her passion for technology with other moms.