Could your smartphone replace a professional architectural photographer?


Are you penny wise, but pound foolish?

We are amazed at the camera technology being built into today’s smartphones.! Regardless of your brand of phone, or whether it’s an iOS or android device, the latest generation of smartphones can take some pretty darn good photos. The $64,000 question is; Do you really want these photos representing the work that your company produces?

The newest smartphones are touting 12mp (mega pixel) cameras. That’s actually pretty good for a phone camera. And the availability of editing apps is endless, allowing you to manipulate these photos in dozens of ways. So why not have someone in your office shoot the photos that you’ll use on your website?’s a whole lot cheaper than hiring a pro, isn’t it?.

Does it matter how many mega pixels a photo contains? Most definitely, the answer is yes! Mega means million. A pixel is an electronic dot that records light and color. The more mega pixels an image contains, the more definition is being recorded. Thus, it makes sense that a professional camera with 36 or 50 mega pixels will produce a far more detailed image than a 12 mega pixel camera.

Editing involves the manipulation of the sensitivity of pixels that are next to each other. Effective editing requires an experienced sense of how our eyes sees light, shadows and color. In the movie industry, as well with high-end glossy magazines, say Architectural Digest for example, most photo editors have a four year college degree in image manipulation. They have access to some very sophisticated computer editing programs, and hundreds of hours of experience. Editing is an art onto itself.

So let’s go back to the topic of using a smartphone to archive your work. As good as they are, there’s a lot of limitations to smartphone cameras. Besides the lack of mega pixels for a more defined image, smartphones do not handle depth of field very well. Photographs that evoke a wow reaction usually have incredible depth of field. This translates to a photo that depicts objects both near and farther away within the shot, that are in perfect focus and clarity. Mega pixels aside, a camera can not achieve this on its own. It’s actually a specialized technique that experienced architectural and interior photographers employ, which then requires a dedicated computer editing program to achieve this effect. Color trueness could also be an issue.

Another issue with smartphone cameras is perspective control. Was your building meant to look like it’s leaning? Are the walls of a length-wise interior shot meant to look like they’re converging? Cellphone cameras are not well-equipped to correct these distortions.

Smartphones shoot photos in jpeg format. Jpeg format compresses the photo so that a picture taken on a 12mp camera is actually producing an 8 or 10mp image. This is very low resolution. Is it adequate to use a low resolution photo on electronic media? It’s adequate, but if you wanted to use this image for a brochure, the quality of the resulting printed piece would be unsatisfactory. JPEGs also deteriorate every time the file is opened, so if you transfer a photo from your cellphone to your computer, then open it up again to edit it, you have already lost three generations of quality, and your photos will look different from what they looked like on your phone.

These are some of the reasons why using a smartphone to produce photos that are supposed to show your best work and inspire potential clients, may not be your best choice.

We are specialists in architectural and commercial interior photography. We have invested thousands of dollars in high-end camera equipment, NASA quality lenses and sophisticated editing programs. We have the knowledge and experience to produce photography that is equal to the detail and precision of your work. It is our mission to help your company promote a highly professional brand image, and to help you land that next contract.

We understand that professional photography can get costly, which is precisely why we offer “Common Sense Pricing.” Simply put, Common Sense Pricing is our way of making professional architectural and commercial interior photography accessible and reasonable. The best way to find out more about this is to contact us with your project. We’ll detail the benefits and your savings once we find out more about your project needs.

So, when it comes down to the way you want your prospects to view your work, are you penny wise, but pound foolish? The cost of hiring a professional photographer is worth its weight in gold!

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