10 Best Ways to Edit Real Estate Photos [PRO Techniques]

Successful real estate photography may heavily rely on the subject, angles, lighting, and camera settings, but a lot of real estate photographers also bank on professional photo editing to really bring home the bacon.

There are many real estate photo editing software, tricks, and tools you can use in order to help your real estate images pop in all the right places. From basic adjustments to those that may need a little practice to get the hang of, there are many ways to ensure your high quality images are delivered in the best light.

How Do I Process My Real Estate Photos?

It can be a little daunting when you are new to the industry or have not done much of your own real estate photo editing before. However, with modern technology and accessible tools, it will not be that hard to get caught up in the latest real estate photo technique.

To help get you started, we have gathered our 10 best ways on how to edit real estate photos as done by skilled photo editors below!

1. Start with the brightness and color correction

Before getting into the little details of each photo, first take care of the backbone of your image – which is made up of both the basic brightness and color settings. These can be done on practically any software you are comfortable with. However, for this example, we’ll be guiding you on how to accomplish it on Lightroom since it is by far the quickest way.

First step is to adjust the brightness just enough to make the color lively, but not over exposed. We recommend doing this gradually then toggling the preview on and off to see the difference.

Once you are happy with the brightness, take the eyedropper tool and click on a neutral color located anywhere within your photo. This automatically processes the right color cast on the entire image moving forward. From there, you can make your gradual adjustments on the image’s saturation, hue, and tint to really get the most realistic yet impressively vibrant color.

By skipping out on this step, you can miss out on many opportunities to make your interior photos and exterior photos attractive. For instance, an otherwise lively yellow wall inside would turn dull and gray due to the absence of color cast removal.

2. Adjust the shadows and even out the lighting

Sometimes you can’t fully control how the lighting will be during the shoot itself, especially if you are taking photos outdoors. Should you experience uneven shadows and illumination in your photo, there are a 4 quick and easy tools to fix it, namely:

Shadows – This targets the areas of your image that are dark but still bright enough to retain a few details. This should be maximized to make some corners more visible.

Highlights – This targets the brighter areas of the image that still hold some detail. Toggling this helps bring back some of the otherwise lost characteristics without changing the white point of the image. This means that no matter how high you set the highlights, the image will not be completely washed out.

Whites – This targets the overall brightness of the image and the image’s white point (also known as the pure white area). This should be utilized if your photo is underexposed, but only gradually done so as not to wash out any details.

Blacks – This targets the areas of your image that have little to zero brightness, and should be maximized to create depth in the photo.

Playing around with these sliders can get you a more desirable outcome instead of settling for harsh highlights and shadows, it can also set the foundation for a more balanced tonal range.

3. Correct the perspective and distortion

Shooting with perspective in mind is essential since the lines of your image are your tools in leading the eye of your viewers to where you want them to go. This applies to both horizontal and vertical borders. You can utilize these to your advantage by highlighting the best parts of the interiors or exteriors, and making a good impression on your potential buyers.

To align your perspective, you can use the free transform, skew, and other built-in tools to slightly manipulate your image to a more fitting angle. Leaving your image slanted or distorted will leave your images looking unprofessional and unpleasing to the eye.

While you straighten out your photo, this will also be a good time to crop out the image in acceptable sizes. Know where you will be publishing these and the various sizes they will need to be saved in to ensure that nothing gets left out once it is online or printed.

4. Remove unnecessary and unwanted objects

Even when shooting indoors, but most especially when shooting outdoors, there are bound to be a few objects that you wish did not make it in the shot. These could be anything like a parked car, electrical wires, personal items, and other things that may have been overlooked in the staging process.

Photoshop can help you digitally remove these with the clone stamp tool, blending tool, and other similar built-in features. This type of photo manipulation may take a little practice before you can consistently achieve smooth results, but soon enough you’ll know it like the back of your hand.

5. Add in objects to enhance the features

Now that you have removed all objects that you don’t need or want in the photo – think of what you want to add in!

It could be a patch of green grass in the garden, a modern TV on the wall with Netflix on the screen, or perhaps a cozy looking flame in the fireplace. Digitally manipulating your photos to make each of the features more natural and impressive can go a long way by adding life to the scene. It does not even have to be over the top additions, so long as you keep the photo relatable and close enough to the real thing that your viewers will realize the potential of your listing.

6. Reduce the noise

Noise in photo editing pertains to the grainy layer on the image made up of multiple hazy dots. These make your image less crisp and usually occur if the shot was taken in low light.

While you can avoid these by practicing the right exposure time for your given shot, you can fix it in post by adjusting the “clarity” slider and then adjusting the “blacks” slider to add depth. Learning to play with the lights and darks within your photo can add a lot of quality to the finished image.

7. Replace the sky

Sky replacement is one of the go-to real estate photo editing techniques of the pros. When you add in a nice looking, blue hue, paired with healthy looking clouds, the entire image tends to brighten up and make for a positive impression.

No matter the skies during your shoot, whether they are gray, cloudy, or even overcast, you can always correct it in post by adding a vibrant, sunny replacement instead. You can also apply this technique to other times of day such as for sunrise shots, sunset shots, twilight shots, and evening photos.

8. Make use of lens correction tool

Lens correction is a built-in tool in Lightroom that helps you alleviate the optical issues found in most kinds of lenses. It can fix distortions such as bowed edges, vignetting (also known as corner shading), and chromatic aberration (also known as color fringing).

More often than not, photos that were taken using a wide-angle lens will need a little lens correction in post. Coincidentally, the majority of real estate photographs are taken with a wide-angle lens in order to get the best shot, so we highly recommend keeping this technique in mind!

9. Practice the HDR technique

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and many professional photographers utilize this technique to create stunning, vibrant, and perfectly lit photographs.

A lot of modern cameras already come with built-in HDR mode, which lets you automatically take multiple shots of the same subject, at different exposures. These shots, usually a total of 3, will then be combined and blended well enough to balance out all the bright and dark spots of the photo.

Should your camera not offer this feature, or you would like to have a bit more control over the process, you can do this manually as well. Follow the steps below to make your own HDR photo:

Step 1: Take a shot with neutral white balance, this will be your middle ground.

Step 2: Take a second shot with your exposure higher to bring out the shadows.

Step 3: Take a third shot with your exposure lower to bring out the highlights.

Step 4: Combine them together using your preferred software to have a well-balanced image that is not too dark, not too bright, and has a good amount of depth in it.

10. Learn how to edit your photos in batches

A lot of photographers in the real estate industry who are just starting out may prefer to edit each shot one by one. However, there is a tried and tested trick to cut your editing time in half and still get you amazing results.

Using Lightroom, spend your time and energy on editing one shot and then quickly apply the same adjustments to the rest of the batch in a few clicks by selecting the relevant images and pasting the preset.

Especially since a good number of your photos are taken with the same lighting and exposure setting, it should work in your favor with only a few minor adjustments needed after implementing the preset.

Bonus Tip: Outsource Image Editing to Experts For Better Results

As your career progresses, so will your workload. In times wherein it may be a little too heavy to balance off, it is best to leave the editing to a 3rd party. Those who are well versed in the tools and adjustments needed to make an image stand out will not only be a huge asset to your business but can also make your work-life balance lighter.

Outsourcing a professional agency can save you time, energy, and money that would have otherwise been spent on top of your current workload.

Here at Time Off Editing, we guarantee high quality work and timely delivery with each project. You can receive your batch of photos in as little as 12 hours and for an affordable rate. Contact us today!