Photomatix Real Estate Camera FAQ

SHOOTING TIPS

Should I shoot in vertical or horizontal orientation?

Horizontal orientation is normally best for living rooms and bedrooms, as this captures the largest area of the room.

That is, hold your iPhone horizontally, so that the photo you take is in landscape rather than portrait mode. If you hold your phone vertically, the photo will usually include too much of the ceiling and floor.

Note that the MLS service usually only accepts photos in horizontal orientation.

How should I hold my iPhone for best results?

Most interior real estate photos are taken a bit lower that one might expect.

Holding the phone too high (or too low) means that you'll need to tilt the phone. This in turn makes the walls, doors and other straight lines look like they are 'leaning'.

While there is no rule which always works, holding the camera at chest or 'belly' height (depending on your own height) is a good place to start.

Pro tip: Try putting one knee on the floor, then holding the phone comfortably at eye height. From this position you can include more of the room without tilting the phone.

Where should I position myself in the room?

Try to stand where you can get as much of the room in the photo as possible.

Shoot from inside the doorway if you can, and otherwise from a corner or as far back as you can.

What's the best angle to take the photo from?

You usually get more interesting photos by including a corner of a room, rather than aiming the camera straight at a wall.

But avoid having a large proportion of featureless areas in your photo, such as expanses of ceiling or empty floor space.

How do I get the sharpest photos?

Hold the device still

Hold your iPhone as still as possible after pressing the shutter button -- until you hear the sound of the photo being taken.

Holding the device still is particularly important when the room is quite dark, as Photomatix RE Camera will need to take longer exposure times to brighten the dark areas.

Pro tip: Rest your phone on a shelf or some other surface. Even better, bring a tripod with a mount that fits your iPhone, and use the tripod whenever you are taking interior shots.

For real estate exteriors, holding the device still is less important normally.

Control the focus

Sometimes photos can also end up out of focus.

To tell the camera to focus on a particular feature, tap on that feature on the screen.

Any tips to avoid verticals getting skewed?

In photos, walls and other vertical lines sometimes show at an angle instead of straight. This happens when you are tilting the phone at an angle up or down when taking the photo.

To avoid this, follow the advice in the question above to avoid tilting your phone up or down.

When you do need to angle your device up or down, for example to reduce the amount of ceiling showing, then use the Straightening option included in Photomatix RE Camera to straighten the lines.

Note that you will lose some of the image at the edges if you straighten your photo. So, choose your position to try to capture even more of the scene than you need.

How many photos of a room should I take?

The short answer is "more than one".

You'll probably only display one or at most two photos of a room, but it's a good idea to take a number of photos, so you can pick the best ones later.

Take photos at different angles, as well as from different positions.

Pro tip: The best photo is almost always different than the best view from our human eyes. Trying different shots helps reveal that best angle/position.

Checklist:  Shooting

  • Shoot with your iPhone in horizontal orientation
  • Hold the phone at chest-height or lower to avoid tilting it up or down
  • Capture as much of the room as you can, shooting from corners or doorways
  • Consider including corners of the room in the photo
  • Avoid capturing large areas of ceiling or empty floors
  • Take multiple shots of each room from different perspectives
PREPARING THE SHOOT

Which rooms should I take and in which order?

Usually you'll want at least one photo of each main room, as well as one or more outdoor shots.

While opinions vary about shooting order, photographing rooms in the order you walk through the house is popular.

Do a walkthrough of the house and garden before you start shooting to decide what you'll be photographing. Make a list of the desired shots to guide you during the shoot, then check them off as you go.

Anything I should check on my iPhone before shooting?

Check the lens area on your iPhone to make sure it's not dirty, dusty, or fingerprinted. A dirty lens can greatly reduce the quality of your photos.

To clean it, wipe the area with a lens cloth or glasses cleaning cloth.

Also, make sure your phone is fully charged before you start. Taking photos and processing them will use a lot of battery power.

You might even carry a portable charger just in case.

What's the MLS aspect ratio in the app settings for?

The aspect ratio of a photo is the ratio of its width to height.

Real Estate Multiple Listing Services (MLS) usually require all photos to have the same aspect ratio, and a ratio of 4:3 is often used.

Choosing the 4:3 aspect ratio makes sure you get photos that are suitable for many multiple listing services.

To do this, tap on the gear icon on the top left of Photomatix RE Camera's home screen and select 'Aspect Ratio for Taking Photos' under the 'General' section.

Is there any equipment I should take?

The Photomatix RE Camera app doesn't require any additional equipment to let you take professional quality real estate photos. However, some equipment to help take your images to the next level:

  • A clip-on wide angle lenses which let you fit larger rooms into a single shot.
  • A tripod with an iPhone mount to help hold the camera still when you take interiors where the room is quite dark.
  • Plenty of lens/glasses cloths for cleaning the iPhone lens and screen.
  • A portable phone charger.

Checklist:  Preparing the shoot

  • Walk through the house making a list of shots you want to take
  • Check the lens on your camera is clean
  • Make sure the phone is fully charged
  • Decide which aspect ratio suits your purpose
STAGING THE ROOM

What are the best tips to stage a room?

  • Clean up anything making the room look messy, like clothes, rubbish, toys
  • Clear items off counters, sinks and tops of fridges
  • Make sure windows, counters, sinks and mirrors are clean
  • Put toilet seats down
  • For rooms with a window, check the view outside for unsightly items like rubbish bins, cars, clothes on lines
  • Open curtains and blinds to maximise natural light

Should I switch the lights on?

Usually it's a good idea, unless the room is very bright already. Brighter looking rooms tend to look more attractive to buyers.

It's good to try and get a consistent look in your photos. So, if you have the lights on in one room, consider turning them on in all the other rooms too.

Checklist:  Staging the room

  • Remove untidy items like clothes, rubbish, toys
  • Reduce clutter by clearing items off counters, sinks and tops of fridges
  • Clean windows, counters, sinks and mirrors
  • Put toilet seats down
  • Check the view outside for untidy or unsightly items
  • Open curtains and blinds
  • Turn lights on unless the room is already very bright
STRAIGHTENING

When would I use the straightening adjustments?

You use these adjustments to fix photos where you didn't get the angle of the camera quite right.

The three types of adjustments fix different problems with camera angle.

The simplest adjustment is rotation, which you use when you haven't got the camera exactly level. It's rotated a little clockwise or counter-clockwise, which means all the lines are slightly at an angle.

You use vertical straightening when you have pointed the camera slightly up or down, instead of straight ahead, which makes vertical lines look a bit skewed, instead of straight.

Horizontal straightening is less common. It's useful when you've taken a photo of something rectangular like a window. If you've pointed the camera to the left or right rather than directly at it, the top and bottom may look skewed instead of parallel to each other.

Can I tell what kind of straightening I need by looking at the photo?

Often you can. Here's a checklist you can go through to decide if you need straightening, and what kind. You might need more than one type, so be sure to go through each item:

  • Check the vertical lines in the photo - good candidates are walls and edges of windows.

    Are they all parallel, or sloping away from each other? Don't worry if they're not actually vertical yet.

    If the lines are sloping away from each other, you'll need vertical straightening. Adjust until the lines are all parallel then go to the next step.

  • Check the horizontal lines - good candidates are floor and ceiling edges, or tops and bottoms of windows.

    Are they all parallel, or sloping away from each other?

    If the lines are sloping away from each other, you'll need horizontal straightening. Adjust until the lines are all parallel, then go to the next step.

  • Check the horizontal and vertical lines in the photo.

    Are they actually horizontal and vertical, or are they all at a bit of an angle?

    If they are at an angle, use the rotation adjustment until both the horizontal and vertical lines are correct.

Is there anything to watch for when using the straightening adjustments?

All the straightening adjustments need to crop some of your image. The more straightening you need, the more will be cropped.

Sometimes, because of the layout of the room, you'll take a photo you know will need straightening later. When you do that, make sure your photo includes more of the scene than you need, to allow for this cropping.

GENERAL

Is there a Photomatix Real Estate Camera for Android phones?

Photomatix Real Estate Camera is only available on iOS at the moment, but we are consider porting it to Android.

if you're interested in an Android version of the app, please drop us a line to let us know.

Can I remove the watermark from photos exported before I bought the 'Remove Watermark' option?

Once you've exported a photo and it has the 'Photomatix' watermark on it, it won't be possible to remove it.

The 'Remove Watermark' in-app purchase option disables the addition of the watermark on photos you export after having made the purchase.

Where can I download the Photomatix RE Camera app?

The Photomatix Real Estate Camera app is available on Apple App Store at this link.

Is the Photomatix RE Camera app free?

The app is free to download and has no ads.

You can use all features of the app for free, but photos you export will have a 'Photomatix' watermark added at the bottom of the photo.

The 'Remove Watermark' in-app purchase lets you get rid of the watermark.

How do I contact you if I need help with the App?

Go to the app's 'Home' screen, tap on the '?' icon on the top right, and select 'Contact Support'.