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Tips for Getting High Quality Project Photos Using Your Smartphone

Smart Snaps

Tips for Getting High Quality Project Photos Using Your Smartphone

BY JUAN SAGARBARRIA

It’s that old saying that’s never been inaccurate, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” SPF contractors can talk to their heart’s content about their prowess, and about the range of projects they’ve taken on, but without images to represent those projects, how can the quality of their work be fully substantiated? That is why, in the majority of cases, spray foam contractors make sure to take photos of their work before, during, and after the spray foam application is completed. This becomes a common practice for savvy contractors, who assemble these photos in a project portfolio showcasing their quality work – the type of quality that customers demand.

In recent years, the evolution from modest to cutting-edge quality smartphone cameras has turned out to be a blessing for contractors – and everyone else for that matter. What was at first a seldom-used, poor quality camera on a mobile phone became the normative method of taking photos across the board. With a thumb tap of a smartphone, SPF contractors can now obtain high-resolution photos without risking their expensive DSLR camera or undertaking the additional expense of hiring a professional photographer. But even though they reduce the need for an extra camera, smartphones aren’t perfect, and can sometimes do more harm than good in terms of photo quality, which is why the following considerations should to be taken into account before snapping away at a jobsite.

A Balance of Light

Perhaps the most important variable to consider before taking any picture with a smartphone is analyzing the lighting of the environment. At a jobsite, it is crucial to find a neutral point when light enters through the lens because too much light can overwhelm the photo with lens flare, while insufficient light will make the picture show up dark. Natural light is a key factor in both exterior, as well as interior smartphone photo shoots.For exterior insulation and roofing applications, it is important to use the natural light wisely; nobody wants to see a huge glare instead of a crewmember spraying foam! Therefore, the photographer must avoid pointing the smartphone towards the sun and instead take photos with his back to it or at an angle that avoids direct sunlight.

Natural light can also be crucial during interior applications if the photographer can get close to a window or take advantage of the light permeated through a skylight. When there is little or virtually no light coming into the jobsite, the contractor should use artificial lighting such as fluorescent or incandescent lamps, permitted that he does not point the phone directly at them. Using the flash on the phone should only be used as a last resort.

Clear the Lens (At All Times)

Another important tidbit before taking pictures throughout the different stages of an SPF project is to ensure that the lens is completely clean. The simple way to accomplish this is by wiping the lens with a microfiber cloth so that there is no crud or debris obstructing light from getting into the lens, which would other wise result in a subpar photo. When taking photos during the foam application, the photographer will want to keep a comfortable distance from the applicator so as not to have overspray land all over the phone and damage it, especially if the overspray gets on the camera lens. If this happens, the photographer needs to quickly clean his phone using solvent on a cloth.

Use Both Hands & Go Horizontal

Avid smartphone users know that taking pictures with one-hand can never be asgood as the pictures taken with two hands. Sure, smartphones have gotten lighter and thinner over the years and they are not as heavy as a regular camera, but that doesn’t mean that the phone is perfectly steady when the camera is handled with one hand. Movement is a big no-no as it results in blurry photos. Just like hands on a steering wheel, two hands on a smartphone allows better stabilization.
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Also, holding the phone horizontally so that the orientation switches to “Landscape”is an easy way to improve the quality of the photo. Ergo, if the photographer keeps his arms close to his face and rests his elbows against his body to stabilize himself while holding the phone horizontally with two hands, he can effectively capture the image he wants. Now he’s got control; now he ’s got precision; now he’s ready for the perfect shot. Once that perfect shot is achieved, the photographer can release the camera’s shutter by pressing the plus button on the side of the smartphone to capture multiple shots.

Zooming: Digital Vs. Optical

It is almost a natural instinct to zoom in when trying to get a good shot from a distance, but the action itself can, more often than not, compromise the resolution of a photo, particularly when using a digital zoom. Digital zoom gives the illusion of a seemingly good close-up shot by enlarging the particular area while maintaining thesame number of pixels of that area, which minimizes the resolution of the photo and makes it come out pixelated. New developments in smartphone technology are now allowing certain phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 to have an optical zoom, which alleviates the pixel discrepancy and maintains the resolution of the photo when zooming. However, unless optical zooming is an option, the zoom function is not the photographer’s friend when trying to get high-quality project photos.

Go for High-Res

Ensuring that all project photos have high-resolution is a practice every spray foam contractor should adhere to if he wants his portfolio to have the best looking photos possible. To do this, all the photographer needs to do is make sure that his smartphone is set to the highest resolution possible before snapping any photos. Furthermore, when transferring the images via e-mail through a smartphone,”Actual Size”should always be selected. Making this a habit throughout every project can go a long way. You never know when your SPF picture will end up in a magazine.