Photo Editing Series for Real Estate

If you page through Realtor.com you can plainly see  most agents are not using a professional photographer (we highly recommend one) and are just snapping pics using their camera and uploading them right to the MLS.  Simple edits can turn a bad image into an ok one or a good image to a great one.

In this series you will learn about the editing tools available to you, as well as how to use these tools to enhance your images.  I will update all of the videos into this single post so they are easy to find over the next week or two.

In the first video we are going to look at some of the most popular editing options out there.  There are plenty more to choose from, but these are the top of the list.  Also, we are going to edit one of the photos sent in from our readers and will continue to do so in future posts that will be released shortly.

Want a quick and easy solution for bringing back some color and detail in a nearly blown sky? Here is a 30 second solution you can use in Lightroom to achieve the effect.

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  1. All in all a great post on real estate photography. The photo did need to be cropped (my new listing photo). But most MLS’s prefer a 4X6 ratio, otherwise some sites will stretch the photo to fit a 4×6 ratio and it will look distorted.

  2. Steve Pacinelli says:

    Thanks for the pic Dylan! My local MLS does not stretch the pics and will use the dimensions decided upon by the agent. You definitely want to keep the dimensions of your pics the same if your MLS stretches the photo as you mentioned. Great image overall!

  3. [...] Invest in post processing software- such as Lightroom 4 or Aperture. (CHECK OUT THIS INTRO VIDEO TO EDITING) [...]

  4. Great post! I agree that there are way too many listings on the mls that look like they have been shot with a point-and-shoot or even a camera phone and uploaded right out of camera. At the very least agents should invest in some photo editing software. I would’ve liked to hear a bit about HDR photography for real estate in this video as well because it is a really good way to get better results indoors where lighting is not always ideal..

  5. Steve Pacinelli says:

    HDR is coming up soon Gary! Thanks for checking out the article!

  6. Rob Jansen says:

    I have 25 years experience taking photos for advertising and marketing and have some simple tips for the amateurs out there. One of the secrets that professional photographers employ is taking a very large number of photos using different focusing points and camera settings. Then they take the time to go through all of them looking for the ones that look the best. For real estate, I take at least 250 photos of every property, at the highest setting on my Nikon 5100 – 46Mb, at different times of day. I try to pick nice weather, particularly good sky days, whenever possible. If I am pressed for time and the shoot needs to go ahead, then I will go back on a later date and take additional photos. It is especially important to have sunlight shining onto the front of the house for the main shot. I also look for vantage points further away from the property and use my zoom lens to crop in a little in camera. Make sure you don’t crop too tight in the camera, you can always crop it later in photo editing. As I shoot, I think of captions for each photo to make sure that it will tell a good story about the property to a buyer. I compose a layered Photoshop file at the size that the MLS specifies, such as 640×480. I downsize the camera images to about 800 pixels wide and paste them into my layered file. I then use all of the transform tools, scale, perspective, distort, etc. to manipulate and crop each photo in the visible window until they look natural and balanced. I tweak with Levels, Curves, and Saturation controls to get the best color balance possible and very light settings for Unsharp Mask. Then I choose the 30 images with the best appearance and editorial message to upload to the MLS. If I take more and better photos later, I replace the weakest existing photos. Most buyers today rely heavily upon these photos to tell them what the property is like before they go out to visit it, so I try to show them every important aspect in pictures.

  7. Jason Jacques says:

    Thanks for this series! Great job! I just got LR4 and am pretty excited about this gradient. I also use PS6 to swap out blow interior windows but its time consuming. Lynda.com is a fantastic subscription website to lear the different software but I think hiring a professional cost less…..Im just an addict!

  8. Steve Pacinelli says:

    Yes Jason, CS6 will ultimately provide a better result, but for most pictures this technique should work just fine! Thanks for checking it out!

  9. Ed Vines says:

    The top agents on my board has been using photo editing for quiet a while. Unfortunately people tend to go overboard with the blue sky effects and it becomes obvious that the photos have been altered. I believe many are using HDR effects instead of manually altering each individual image.

  10. janet partlow says:

    there is no link to the videos.

    Need a better idea of ISO, F Stop and Shutter speed to start taking better pictures.

What do you think?