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Run Your Real Estate Business with a Smartphone Using Cameras and Scanners

January 20 2020

mobile photo lightsWe all remember cameras from our past: the film, where we dropped the film off to get our pictures, the pictures which we ended up throwing away, and of course the negatives we saved just in case. Around 2000, many of us started using a digital camera. We were so proud to buy a 2.1-megapixel camera for hundreds of dollars!

Doing my research for this article, I stumbled across a news article published July 26th, 2001 which said that merging a PDA (personal digital assistant) and a camera was like chocolate and oranges. The article continues with why not have a can opener or a tear gas attachment for your PDA? I guess the author of that article was skeptical about what would become a revolution in the world of photography.

Many of us started with a Palm Pilot, using its 640x480-pixel camera with very limited storage and no flash—while others were paying $279 for a 2.1-megapixel camera. Oh, how times have changed! As of today, the two most powerful smartphone cameras on the market are the Pixel 4 and 4XL on the Android operating system with a 12.2-megapixel main lens and 16-megapixel telephoto lens. The Apple iPhone 11 has a 12-megapixel camera—amazing how we have grown since 2000.

The one thing that hasn't changed since Mathew Brady was snapping pictures of the Civil War is the camera operator. For most of us, our smartphone camera has outgrown us and offers features and capabilities we will never use—unless you decide to take a deep dive into what you have available. I am not qualified or have enough space in this article to get into how to improve your picture taking skills, but there are many of options available to you by checking out YouTube and Google.

Photo and Scanner Apps that Can Help

I do have a suggestion on an app that will help the average smartphone camera user produce a better picture. Snapseed is a free app available for both Apple and Android operating systems. I downloaded it and have played with it briefly and see the potential for enhancing and adding filters to your photos! If you want to get serious about the quality of your pictures, you might want to take a look at Adobe Lightroom, which costs $9.99 a month, or Adobe Photoshop Express, which is free.

Let's add a new phrase to our technology lingo: Optical Character Recognition, otherwise known as OCR. In plain English, it is the electronic or possibly the mechanical conversion of images of handwritten, printed or typed text into machine-encoded text, whether using a scanned document, a picture of a document or text superimposed on an image. Got that?

So, what's the best OCR for your smartphone? I really don't like picking one app or program but in this case, I must—Adobe Scan! Just so you know, I am not getting some sort of kickback. The app is FREE! Adobe Scan is available for both Apple and Android users. To me, it's one of the easiest apps to use and will meet almost all your scanning needs. I recommend you download it and play with it before needing it for real.

I hope this article helps. Picture taking, photo editing and scanning—one could write a book on each subject, but I wanted to make it as easy as possible. Most of us are fairly happy with the end product we produce, and adding a simple app or two can definitely enhance our finished product!

Dick Betts is a national speaker, trainer and consultant. Learn more at