For those of us blessed with a set of healthy eyes, we observe the outside world primarily through our site. Most of our first impressions are created based on how things look.
You may be thinking: ‘What does that have to do with the real estate?’ A lot is the answer. In 2020, the majority of people view real estate online, before they decide to move forwards. And guess what, photos and images of that real estate will play an extremely important role. If the clients see what they like they will add the house/apartment to their list and then consider paying it a visit in person. On the other hand, if the photos don’t catch their eyes or are repealed by the online representation, they will never consider that listing.
Given the above, it is super important for a real estate company to present a house or an apartment in the best possible light – enters photo editing.
Here at the Clipping Masking Photoshop, we do a lot of photo editing for a wide range of real estate companies and individual agents. Often times we are hired by the companies directly or by the photographer who is working on their photos.
Of course, it all starts with a solid quality photo of an actual house/apartment. For that a photographer may be hired, however, these days most people own high-end smartphones that can take high-quality photos. Those photos in combination with professional editings, such as ours, will deliver amazing results. That means that a lot of money can be saved on not needing to hire the most expensive photographer to get great results.
Today, we are not going to go into details, on which exact tools and action steps our professional designers take in Photoshop, to deliver the best possible results. We decided to devote our attention to present you with real estate photo editing dos and don’ts instead. What is allowed? What is not allowed? How to make things look at their best without creating misleading photos and misrepresentations? These are the answers we will address below.
Are you ready? Let’s dig into the real estate photo editing, shall we?
What Is Allowed?
In this section, we will cover the real estate photo editing actions that are allowed. These are actions that help present the existing piece of real estate in the best possible light, however, without presenting it in a misleading way.
The line between what is allowed and what not can get blurry. And some things are allowed that many individuals would consider misleading. As such, it is important to know that real estate photos serve mostly for creating positive first impressions, grabbing attention and presenting the existing house/apartment in its best possible condition. This often includes presenting the house in a state that could be achieved with minor alternation (wall colors, furniture, etc.). As a realtor, you know that the goal is to help the buyer see the house/apartment in a condition that it could be, not necessarily in a condition that it is. However, since the client always comes to check the piece of real estate in person before the purchase, atoo big of misrepresentation can only result in wasting both parties’ time.
When it comes to photo editing, color correction is one of the basic steps. Even the best photographers are rarely able to take photos that do not require any editing. Colors greatly rely on the weather and lighting conditions, as such it is only natural to do the post-editing in a way to achieve the same results as if the conditions were perfect (or at least come close to that).
The goal is to make colors eye-catching but at the same time pleasing and good-looking. Color-correction can be done on a general scale or on individual colors. It is allowed to the point, where the colors of objects that are fixed in place (can’t be replaced easily) reflect the actual colors.
When our designers do the color correction, the exterior or interior takes a shape that may be achieved in the best weather, light, and other applicable conditions.
Color correction is often considered as part of the photo enhancement process, however, strictly speaking, these are two separate things. Though, enhancing the photo always affect the colors in one way or another. This process involves general corrections, such as overall hue, saturation, brightness, white balance, sharpness, contrast, and some other aspects.
By adjusting these settings properly, we get better-looking photos, photos that will convert a real estate website visitor into a prospect client.
NOTE: Since image enhancement is a broad term, many image alterations could be placed into the category, thus it is important to point out that image enhancement should never falsely represent a house/apartment, just enhance it to a point that it can be enhanced in perfect light/weather condition and other small adjustments.
Cropping The Image
Cropping an image can make a world of difference. It can often turn an ugly photo into a beautiful one, as it completely changes the aspect and point of view. Cropping essentially gives the same results as if the photo was zoomed in at the time of being taken.
Here we must point out, that it is extremely important to crop photos properly. Rations and proportions that are eye-pleasing (rule of thirds, Fibonacci’s curve, symmetry (when appropriate), etc.) must be considered to get the result that will convert and bring in clients. It is also important not to crop part of the object in the photo.
In Photoshop, which is a photo-editing piece of software that we use here at the Clipping Masking Photoshop, vertical correction is done as part of the cropping process, when our professional Photoshop experts crop a photo by slight rotating it to get it in vertical and horizontal alignment.
The human eye can’t stand flows when it comes to house and apartment photos. Any tilted images may result in potential client’s disregard of that listings.
There are areas of photography where artistic aspect and tilting can add value, real estate photography is not one of those. As such, we always make sure that all images are vertically correct.
Dust can be a tricky thing; it is almost invisible to the human eye, however, if it comes on the camera lens, it can ruin the photo. Yet, in most case dust only appears in small parts of an image, which means that it can be retouched. Doing this action step properly, the end photo looks like the dust was never there.
The same goes for fine sand particles and other debris that can float around the air and come between the camera lens and the frame that is being captured. Luckily, this can be resolved in the post-production easily.
NOTE: If the place is very dusty, make sure to wipe the lens with a piece of clean cloth often enough. If there is too much dust on the lens, not even our professional team can deliver flawless end results.
If there are scratches on an object that can be easily repaired, we are allowed to remove those scratches not to appear in the photo. This includes wall scratches, furniture scratches, and even floor scratches.
Folded Line Retouching
Folded lines on fabric furniture are also something that we are allowed to remove. These are definitely not permanent flaws, however, they can be off-putting in a photo that is meant to create the most positive impression possible.
Most humans prefer nice, sunny weather and blue sky. So if you have a photo of the exterior with a gray and cloudy sky in the background, it will not evoke the same positive emotions and reactions as the clear sky would. As such, we are allowed to perform so-called sky attachments – the process of replacing the actual sky in the photo with another sky photo.
This is very similar to the sky attachments. If the greenery condition at the time of photoshoot is not in its best condition, it doesn’t mean that a new owner won’t be able to have a perfect lawn. So presenting the lawn and exterior greenery is permitted. This mostly refers to lawns, however, trees may also be added in the background. But it is not allowed to add trees that are not actually there and then claim that those trees exist.
Live People Attachments
The human brain tends to react more positively if it’s able to see the object being used by people. So adding a family that is playing on the lawn or just random people walking by are allowed. This adds life to the property and helps clients to picture themselves in front of the house/apartment building.
Real-life prototyping refers to placing a prototype house into a real-life setting. Since the house is already designed, it is ok to present it in its potential environment. This type of presentation is allowed when the focus is on the house and not on the parcel. It is mostly used by house building companies that can create a specific type of house for you.
If we are provided with the house 3D floor plan design image, we can easily place it in real-life surroundings and bring it to life. By doing so people see a home instead of just a house.
We can remove any objects from any photo. However, we are allowed to remove only objects that are not permanent, objects that can be removed with ease in person as well. This often includes pieces of indoor or outdoor furniture. Trees are a grey area. Since they can be cut down, it may be acceptable if our photo-editing professionals remove them.
Minor additions most often include actions that add life to the existing objects. This can mean adding a screenshot of a movie on a TV screen, adding a fire into a fireplace, adding flowers into an empty vase, adding food on the dining table, etc. You get the picture, right?
Wallpaper and wall colors are something that is easily changed and adjusted in real life, as such it is allowed to make those adjustments in a photo to make it more eye-catching. Again, real estate photography is not always about presenting the house/apartment as it is but presenting it as is could be (with minor adjustments).
Color Change With Multiple Selections
Photoshop offers many advanced tools that allow very advanced and detailed changes to be applied. Our trained designers are able to change colors with the use of multiple selections. That way the color of furniture may easily be changed, walls can be painted, and much more.
All this is allowed when furniture is not a part of the deal and is there only as part of the presentation. In cases when furnished houses/apartments are being sold, this sort of alteration is not permitted.
In most real estate listings, the furniture is not included and is used in photos only to make the home more presentable. In such cases, furniture enhancement has no limits. We can make it brighter, chance colors, and more. However, if the furniture comes as a part of the deal, that enhancements must be subtle to still reflect the actual condition.
As mentioned above, if the furniture is not included, it can be used to present the interior in a life-like state. This means that we can use various pieces of furniture and add them to the photos of the rooms. That way we help you create an image that will enable a potential client to see themselves living in that place.
What’s Not Allowed?
In short, the things not mentioned above, or the above things done to the extreme, are not allowed. In general, real estate photo editing shouldn’t misrepresent the house/apartment/apartment building.
Removing permanent fixtures
Permanent fixtures are not to be removed. It there is a telephone pole next to the house, it shouldn’t be removed. The same goes for railroad tracks, fences, fire hydrants positioned along the property. Deleting such fixtures can run you the risk of being filed with a case of material misrepresentation. You can, however, shoot from angles or positions that conceal or minimize those undesirable objects.
Changing The Background
If a property is located in a certain environment with specific buildings and other types of settings in the background, you are not allowed to take the entire property and place it in a completely different environment.
Do you see the difference between this and changing the weather? A cloudy day will actually be replaced by a sunny day, eventually, however, the house won’t be moved to another location.
A piece of real estate must be presented fairly. You are not allowed to make things seem different than they are in person. You are not allowed to add/remove windows, doors, change the facade style and colors, change the roof type, staircase style, add a fireplace where there is none, etc.
What if there is a hole in the wall? Can I Photoshop it? No.
What you can do is to present a photo of a current condition. And then also present a photo of a condition that it can be converted to. That will help a potential client envision the place in good condition.
Moving And Adding Objects
Using furniture to represent the condition that may be established is ok. However, adding objects that may seem like an essential part of the property or interior and moving around existing fixed objects is not permitted.
What We Do
We are a professional photo editing and design company. Here at the Clipping Masking Photoshop, we can create anything you want, edit any photos, and make adjustments beyond your imagination. However, when it comes to real estate photo editing, we do the best we can to stay within the given rules. Since we are not actually responsible for your use of the final images, it is important that you, as our potential client, know and respect the above rules. It is you who must inform us whether the furniture is included or not so we know what we may and may not do.
We can make wonders from most photos, though, to get the most appealing images, you need to have decent photos to start with. If you have a solid camera and some basic photography skills, you may take the photos yourself, if not, we advise you to hire a photographer.
Only a combination of solid initial photos and high-quality editing can produce the results that will convert like crazy. We will deliver the latter, it is up to you to provide the former.
If you have any real estate photo editing questions, make sure to reach out to us. Moreover, if you are ready to submit your order, please, provide us with the photos and any specific requests and we will take care of the rest.
We look forward to taking care of your real estate photo editing needs.
Clipping Masking Photoshop