Even more important than providing a well-written description, it is necessary to have good pictures of your property.

One of the most important things for a good picture?  It depends on your goals. If you manage a lot of properties you may want to invest in a more professional set-up.  However, if you will only be taking pictures from time to time, you may find that your smart phone may do the trick.

Although finding the right camera is a very individualized process, with some guidelines, you’ll find the right one for you!

Choose equipment that is worthy of your task: camera and lens

If you will be taking a lot of pictures for many different properties over the course of the year, it is probably best not to use a point-and-shoot.  You will need a DSLR so you can attach a good quality wide-angle lens. Your pictures should capture the whole room, and a wide-angle lens is the only way to do this. In fact, the lens is likely even more important to your purchase than the camera.

Depending on the type of DSLR you have, you may need a different lens. The key thing to remember is that when your camera is used with a lens, the effective focal length should be less than 24mm. Ideally, you should have a range between 16 and 24, but if you are under 24mm, you should be able to get the type of shots that will effectively capture the whole room. You may want to consult the manufacturer or a sales representative to determine the correct lens for your particular camera. But remember that magic number: less than 24mm focal point!

Flash!

The better cameras will generally have a separate flash. This will allow you more freedom to control the lighting—and the final picture!

What to choose?

If you are limited in your budget, it is better to save money on the camera than the lens.  Although there are many different good cameras, the varied Canon Rebels are both cost effective and a great way to take professional looking photos. In fact, the entire Canon pro-summer and professional line is quite dependable. Other good cameras include the Nikon D7000 and the Pentax K-5. For more camera comparisons take a look at a site like www.dpreview.com.

You gotta shop around

Although cameras do improve every year, don’t be afraid to look at craigslist or ebay for a good deal on a slightly used camera. And remember that many big box stores allow you to try a camera and return it. This can be a good way to test out a camera as well.

Smart solutions for you smartphone

If you don’t want to invest in an expensive camera, there are more and more options available to take professional looking wide-angle shots from your smartphone. Just make sure you get a panoramic app on your phone. In some cases, this may be all that is necessary.

If you are looking to invest a bit more, for less than $100 dollars (often significantly less) you can purchase a lens for your smartphone. iPhone users can use the Olio Clip, which takes great wide-angle shots. For more information, visit http://www.olloclip.com. Similar products are also available for other smartphones. These usually clip on to the lens or attach through magnetic stickers attached to the phone.

This has been an effective solution for many property managers and also can be more convenient to use. When done well, these photos can be very hard to distinguish from those taken from a standard camera.

Finding the right camera set-up for you will take a bit of trail and error, but once you get started, you’ll know the difference—by the increase in potential renters!