A Step-by-Step Tutorial for Real Estate Agents: Editing Phone Photos with Lightroom Mobile for Social Media

In the dynamic world of real estate, crisp, clear, and vibrant images can make a significant difference in catching the eyes of potential buyers. Lightroom Mobile, a powerful tool from Adobe, makes this attainable even if you’re using photos taken on your smartphone. Here’s a beginner-friendly guide tailored for real estate agents eager to elevate their mobile photography game for social media:

1. Getting Started

  • Install: Download the Lightroom Mobile app from your phone’s app store.
  • Import: Open the app and tap the ‘+’ sign, then select the real estate photos you want to edit from your phones gallery.

2. Crop and Straighten

  • Crop: Use the Crop tool to remove unnecessary parts, ensuring the property is the main focus.
  • Straighten: Ensure vertical lines (like door frames) are upright. This gives a professional feel to property photos and ensures the viewer doesn’t interperet the space as being on a lean.

3. Adjust Exposure & Contrast

  • Exposure: Slide to brighten or darken the overall image.
  • Contrast: Increase slightly to make the image pop without looking artificial. This makes the darks darker and the bright areas brighter. This can be adjusted manually over the next few steps so don’t worry too much about this at this stage.

4. Tackle the Highlights & Shadows

  • Highlights: Reduce to recover details from bright areas, like windows.
  • Shadows: Lift to reveal details in darker areas, like room corners.
  • Blacks & Whites: This adjustment manipulates the darkest and brightest parts of the image. Reducing the blacks anbd increasing the whites will add contrast to the image. However, if you go too far, you may take the details out of those areas of the image and change the feel of the overall image.

Clarify with Clarity & Dehaze

  • Clarity: Add a subtle amount to enhance details.
  • Dehaze: Useful if your image appears foggy or lacks contrast.
  • Texture: This enhances the finer details in the shot. It’s very easy to overdo this though. I tend to only use a small amount of this slider for closeup objects such as a bee or a flower. Not for a wide angle shot of a building or a room.

Boost Colors with Vibrance & Saturation

  • Vibrance: Enhances the muted colors without affecting the well-represented ones.
  • Saturation: Increase slightly if you feel the entire image needs a color boost, but be cautious – too much can make it appear unrealistic.

Sharpening & Noise Reduction

  • Sharpening: Brings out finer details. Slide subtly.
  • Noise Reduction: Useful for photos taken in low light to make them appear smoother. The function of this tool is to remove the fuzzy grain similar to what you would see in the old days on televisions with bunny ear antennas. Grain (noise) becomes more apparent in poorly lit conditions where the camera hardware struggles to interperet the details due to a lack of light.

8. Gradient and Radial Filters for Focus

  • Gradient Filter: This tool allows you to apply edits to a specific portion of your image in a gradient manner. For instance, you can darken the sky (top part) while keeping the property (bottom part) well-lit. Just tap the gradient tool, draw it over the image, and then adjust settings like exposure or clarity to get the desired effect.
  • Radial Filter: This is excellent for highlighting a particular feature in a property, like a chandelier or a unique architectural detail. Draw a circle around the area you want to emphasize and then tweak the settings to make that area stand out, leaving the rest untouched or subtly blurred.

Use Presets for Consistency

  • Lightroom offers various presets. Find one that matches the feel you want for your real estate listings. This ensures a consistent look across all your photos. Though presets are generally a starting point as opposed to a 1 click and done function, we use them all the time when we shoot Real Estate Photography as a starting point before we blend all of our frames for the shot together. It saves a heap of time and helps to create consistency across the images, no matter what type of house and lighting conditions we are faced with.

Export & Share

  • After editing, tap the ‘share’ icon and select ‘Save to Device’. Choose the highest available resolution for clarity on social media platforms.

Conclusion

  • In real estate, an image can be the deciding factor for whether or not potential buyers stop scrolling past on social media. By harnessing the power of Lightroom Mobile, even photos taken on your smartphone can have a professional, polished touch. Dedicate some time to familiarize yourself with these tools, and watch the engagement on your property listings soar!

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