Real Estate Photography with a Cell Phone: Tips and Tricks

Welcome to, where I specialize in assisting real estate agents and brokers in showcasing properties with captivating photography. While professional photography services provide the highest quality images, I understand that not everyone has the budget to hire a professional photographer, especially when starting out in the industry. However, armed with a modern smartphone and some valuable tips and tricks:

Cleaning and Staging:

Embarking on your photography journey begins long before the shutter clicks. It starts with meticulous cleaning and thoughtful staging of the property. Remember, your task is more profound than merely selling a house; you're crafting and selling a vision of an enticing lifestyle. The images captured will have an enduring presence on the MLS, accessible to future sellers even a decade from now. These pictures speak volumes about your standards and the quality of your listings.


The art of photography pivots around one fundamental element: lighting. It is the bedrock upon which the entire visual narrative is built. To capture the essence of your property, strive to use natural light to its fullest extent. Draw the curtains, open the blinds, and, where beneficial, leave doors ajar to usher in additional brightness, especially in darker hallways.


Finding the right angle is akin to discovering a room's best-kept secret. Angles can profoundly impact the perception of space and layout in a room. It's recommended to capture a room from a corner to encapsulate its full size and layout. Feel free to experiment with varying angles and heights, but always prioritize showcasing as much of the room as possible.

Vertical Alignment:

Optimal alignment is key in creating visually appealing property images. Landscape orientation—where the width of the image is greater than its height—is often more fitting for property listings. It offers a wider field of view, allowing you to capture more of the room's elements in a single frame.

Avoid Filters:

In the era of Instagram and high-tech photo editing apps, the allure of filters can be strong. However, when it comes to real estate photography, authenticity takes precedence over artistic flair. While filters can enhance certain elements of a photo, they often distort true colors and lighting, potentially leading to misconceptions about the property.


Leveraging the power of a proficient photo editing app can significantly enhance the quality of your pictures. With a few thoughtful adjustments, such as tinkering with the brightness, contrast, and saturation levels, you can truly make your images stand out.


While we're on the topic of do-it-yourself real estate photography, it's worth mentioning drone photography. While drone shots can provide stunning aerial perspectives of a property, flying a drone for commercial use without a commercial drone license is a violation of FAA code. The penalties can include hefty fines for both the agent and the agent's broker. If aerial shots are a must for your listing, consider hiring a professional with the necessary credentials.

If you do hire a professional, give me a chance

While these tips can certainly help you take better photos with your cell phone, nothing beats the quality and precision that a professional real estate photographer can offer. At, Christopher Hysell offers premier real estate photography services tailored to capture the unique charm and allure of each property.

I'm here to support newly licensed real estate agents.

I'm here to support newly licensed real estate agents. I understand the financial constraints you might be facing, and I want to extend my help to you. If you've recently obtained your real estate license and are worried about the cost of professional real estate photography, rest assured that I have options to accommodate your situation. We can discuss flexible payment plans or make arrangements for the final payment to be made once your listing successfully closes. Don't let financial concerns hold you back from enhancing your listings and making your properties shine. Contact me today to explore how we can collaborate to elevate your real estate portfolio.

Need help with real estate photography? Let's work together!
Call or Text 626.594.6061