Home staging photography – point and shoot or DSLR?

Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Blogs | 0 comments

Home staging photography – point and shoot or DSLR?

Photos are the method by which home staging professionals showcase their ability to future potential customers, so risking that work by having unprofessional looking images on your site or in your portfolio could come at a cost.

All property stylists should consider owning a good camera as part of their setup cost. Modern phones have better cameras than once before, but their ability to capture low light internal shots are somewhat limited.

There are many different options available on the market today, but whether you go for a point and shoot or purchase a DSLR, make sure your camera has a wide angle lens option.

Why wide angle? Well rooms are hardly ever narrow, so in capturing the whole essence of the room, we want to capture as much of the room as possible to show the styling as we would see it if we were actually in the room.

To give you some idea, a camera that sells for around $200 is going to have limited features vs one that sells for $1500, that is pretty obvious. But then it also depends on the key things you will need in your camera to effectively get the shots done.

So what should you look for in your new camera?

First of all, megapixels aren’t everything. Don’t get caught in the trap that the more megapixels you have the better. With digital cameras it largely comes down to the lens and quality of the sensor. The amount of megapixels is more to do with what the final image can be used for (ie a 6×4 print or a billboard).

The lens should be wide angle and most modern point and shoot cameras state they are wide angle (between 28mm and 23mm) which will almost get a whole room in a frame. Going less than 23mm will often mean heading over to digital SLR territory and purchasing interchangeable lens and learning how to avoid the dreaded bending of the image. A far larger investment and much bigger learning curve too.

Keep in mind there is a difference between focal length and the “x” times zoom a camera has. For example, should different two cameras with a 5x zoom be on your shopping list, but one has a 24mm – 120mm lens and the other a 28mm – 140mm lens, then the first camera is going to be superior for room shots. The lower the focal length, the wider the angle of the shot.

The digital sensor that records the shot as you take your picture is known as a CMOS sensor. These sensors range in quality and size which will have an impact on the quality of your final shot. The bridge between point and shoot cameras and DSLR sensors are narrowing everyday, and many newer top end point and shoot have a similar sensor to those on board more expensive DSLR.

There are many other functions a home stager should consider when buying a camera. Is there image stabilisation? How heavy is the camera? What measurement of ISO does the camera go to? Does it have HD video?

Image stabilisation offers a home stager the ability to take shots on the run and reduce blurring of the final shot. It also lessens the need for a tripod when taking longer exposure shots.

The weight of the camera can have a bearing too. Point and shoot are generally light and nimble and easy to store whereas DSLR are heavier, larger and need a dedicated camera bag to safely store. Make sure you pick up and feel the camera before buying, and test the feature buttons to make sure you can use them easily.

The ISO of a camera is a measurement of the camera’s sensitivity to light. One thing I have learnt in my time shooting images for home staging projects is that there is often too much or not enough light. A higher ISO will let in more light to the sensor, but the higher you go, the grainer the end image will be. A camera that performs well at higher ISO will allow for better shots in low light.

But what should you go for?

Well it all comes down to personal preference, your tolerance for learning and your ability to take a good shot. I have always gone down the DSLR route and recently upgraded again to a newer model. I find using manual settings on a DSLR gives me better shots of my property styling efforts.

Make sure, whichever path you take, that you learn your camera and spend as much as you can afford on getting a quality camera.


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