A picture is worth more than a thousand words in the landscape industry — in fact, it could be worth thousands of dollars! Your project photos can attract potential customers, showcase your work and sell landscape and pool services.
But it takes more than just creating a stunning project to get the perfect image.
You don’t have to buy expensive gear to get attention-grabbing photos. Most smartphones can do the job, if you use the right techniques.
Here are six ways to take landscaping photos with your smartphone.
Choose the Right Time
Before heading to the site, you’ll want to make sure the weather and lighting is right for a photo shoot.
“When taking photos with a smartphone, the time of day and sun position are the biggest challenges,” says Cohl Workman, president of Thunderbird Pools & Spas. “If the sun shadow is present, it usually makes for a bad shot. Overcast days usually work OK, but the best shots I have found are at sunset.”
This approach has worked for Workman, who is a longtime Pool Studio user. He suggests looking at your phone’s weather app to see when the sun will go down in your location. “That time, plus or minus 15 minutes, is the golden hour for photography,” he says.
Choose The Right Angle
In addition to knowing when to take the photos, you also need to understand how to get the best shots.
Before you snap the pic, look at the scene on your phone’s screen: Would it be better as a vertical or horizontal photo? Nine times out of 10, a horizontal shot works best.
To keep the image balanced, you can use the rule of thirds. Do that by mentally dividing your image using two horizontal and two vertical lines. Then, position the important elements — like a pool, fire feature or patio — along those lines or where they meet. The point is to have an off-center image, which looks more natural and creates needed blank space.
Use A Phone With A Good Camera
As smartphones continue to become more advanced, so do their cameras.
No matter what brand of smartphone you prefer, there are several options out there with good cameras.
According to Tom’s Guide, some of the top phone cameras are on the Samsung Galaxy S6, iPhone 6 Plus, Sony Xperia Z3 as a bonus Samsung Galaxy S5 Active (on AT&T) or Sport (Sprint), can be put 3 feet underwater. While Apple phone cameras have historically been a bit behind those found on Androids, they are catching up with recent releases.
“The new software in the iPhone allows me to edit, lighten, darken, contrast or make effects easily,” Workman says. “Then these photos can be uploaded to social media within minutes.”
Instead of worrying about a phone’s megapixels when shopping around, look at the camera’s settings, control features and sensor size.
You can also download camera apps to your current phone to give you extra camera features and image options. Here are just a few:
Add To Your Camera
To take landscaping photos with your smartphone, you should consider improving your smartphone camera by adding lens attachments. They are inexpensive, portable, and help take incredible images.
Here are two great examples:
Avoid Common Errors
Make your photos even better by steering clear of some common mistakes amateur photographers make. Here are a few tips to help your shots look more professional.
Avoid digital zoom. Don’t zoom using your smartphone’s camera. It will cut into your photo quality. You can always crop the image later, if needed.
Turn off the flash. Most of the time, you’ll end up with a blurry, unnatural-looking image.
Be mindful of clutter. Move any unsightly items – like hoses, tools, pool cleaners and toys – out of the shot. And make sure there are no people in the images.
Use HDR. High dynamic range (HDR) mode is great for high-contrast situations, such as landscapes with a bright sky and shaded foliage, backlit scenes with streams of light and stationary subjects.
Clean the lens. This one may seem like a no-brainer, but clean off the camera lens before taking photos. You don’t want smudges, dirt and dust specks all over your images.
Keep shots clean. Once you get the shot you want, don’t ruin it by adding filters, fake blurs, frames or other features. Let your work (and the photo) speak for itself.
Know When To Hire A Photographer
While smartphones can produce good images, there are still times you need to use a professional photographer.
A professional can get you high-quality images to submit for things like project awards, marketing materials or publications.
You might even want to consider using a professional for some social media sites, like Houzz. Homeowners search the site for professionals, judging them on their project photos. So, you want to make sure they are high quality. The website will actually remove low-resolution images.
Remember: Images sell projects. So, use our tips to take landscaping photos with your smartphone and wow your potential customers.