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Top 5 Real Estate Photo Editing Mistakes That Hurt Property Listings

real estate photo editing to increase conversions
High-quality property images grab viewer’s attention and significantly impact conversions and sales. MLS sites today are increasingly relying on expert real estate photo editing services to gain a competitive edge. Advanced photo editing techniques and image technologies help them stay in lead.

A picture makes a thousand sales, and for the real estate industry, that matters more than words. Property listings with high-quality images and aerial footage sell 68% faster than those without. With the attention span of people getting shorter than that of a goldfish, grabbing the buyer’s attention fast and keeping him/her engaged with attractive images has become crucial for conversion.

Thus, real estate photo editing is a must if property listings are to stand out and catch attention. Real estate photos are touched up and enhanced with advanced photo editing tools and techniques to show up a property in the best light. But it must be done with extreme care, because even minor photo editing mistakes can ruin a listing.

It is also important to avoid over-editing. The pictures should look attractive yet keep their natural look. There are penalties if your images try to mislead the buyers; real estate companies can be fined up to $1.1 million and individual agents up to $220,000, according to ACCC.

Photo editing for real estate is a specialized task linked to critical benefits for both sellers and buyers. Studies have shown properties with high-quality images get 47% higher offers per square foot. But the trick is to maintain a perfect balance between attractiveness and ethical, realistic representation.

YouTube video

In one of the projects that real estate industry is talking about, editing 3000+ images daily empowered the US-based photography and videography company to generate impeccable digital catalogs which improved sales revenue and enhanced their brand value.

4 major benefits of photo editing to MLS sites

benefits of editing real estate photos
  • Attract a larger audience: Unedited property photos fail to portray the property in the right way. Often dull lights, poor colors, dusty walls, and poor surroundings spoil the beauty of the property and cannot attract customers. Real estate photo editing enhances the property images to entice more potential customers.
  • Portray the property with better lighting: Incorrect lighting reduces image appeal, and can make a property look gloomy. Correct lighting sets the tone and mood too. Photo editing techniques can control and manipulate the light for the best texture, colors, and bloom on your subjects.
  • Do digital decluttering: Images clicked in cramped rooms with unsellable objects, cluttered surroundings, and poor angles may distort representation of the property, dulling its appeal. Digital decluttering ensures clean and attractive property images driving higher conversions.
  • Raise the overall quality of photos: With 97% of homebuyers searching online sources, it is crucial to upload images that entice buyers. High-quality images represent a property better. Photo editing helps with colors, contrast, alignment, sharpening, etc. to enhance visual appeal.

Top 5 real estate photo editing mistakes and how to correct them

Real estate photo editing can work wonders if you know the tricks of the trade. Keep in mind the following 5 common photo editing mistakes to avoid and your listings will draw more attention.

property photo editing mistakes

1. Remove unwanted objects

Remove unwanted objects Image Credit : homepec

Any extra object in the room adding clutter disturbs the desired view. Often you click pictures with unsellable objects if the property is occupied. Power cables, dustbins, or a car parked at the entrance can spoil the view. A weak background also distracts focus from primary subjects.

Solution: Use ‘object removal’ to remove unwanted objects from the image of a room to present a neat, spacious, and appealing property. This technique makes an overstuffed, lived-in property look clean, empty, and professional. Digital decluttering helps remove all such elements from the picture, which was not possible to remove while photographing.

2. Oversaturation/ dehaze in interior shots

Oversaturation/ dehaze in interior shots Image Credit : boxbrownie

Oversaturation and exaggerated dehaze increase color cast and ruin the presentation, making it look messy and artificial. High saturation makes the picture too unrealistic, which doesn’t go well with the viewers. It also makes the image look made up. Home buyers look for images that have a natural feel, as if they were viewing the property live.

Solution: Focus on optimal saturation and not maximum saturation. Correct and blend images that vary in quality and brightness. The use of vibrance works much better than saturation.

Saturation affects an image with equal strength across the canvas. Since the images are not in even tone, some portions get over-saturated while the milder tones remain unaffected. The algorithms in the vibrance slider first saturate the under-saturated areas, making the image even, and then saturate the entire image. This gives a more natural look and uniform color.

3. Unedited reflections and shadows

Unedited reflections and shadows Image Credit : boxbrownie

Not editing extra shadows and unwanted reflections make your photos look unnatural and unprofessional. Multiple elements like towers, trees, satellite dishes, buildings, etc. cause many shadows that often deform the subject you intend to focus on.

Shadows play a big role in elevating the image, making it look real. Pictures without shadows look flat. You need to balance the required number of shadows. Reflections are a big no. Imagine seeing a reflection of somebody in the bathroom mirror while surfing online listings. Reflections from surfaces, pictures, TV screens, mirrors, etc. spoil your professional image.

Solution: The use of shadow may sound simple but is a complex process requiring an understanding of light diffusion. Reduce the shadows to brighten up the image and increase the shadows to reduce the brightening. Eliminate flash shadows that flicker on the pictures by selecting the area and using the clone/patch tool.

Use ‘drop shadows’ to make the real estate image bright and vibrant. Do it cautiously as overuse may harm the image. Choose correct angles to avoid capturing reflections. You can stay away from the lens or use a timer. And if that is not possible, make sure you clean up all extraneous unprofessional elements from images to project an ideal real estate picture.

4. Excessive sharpening of images

Excessive sharpening of images Image Credit : boxbrownie

Going overboard with image sharpening distorts pixels, giving a fake and unrealistic look. Unnecessary image sharpening makes the edges look unnatural and throws halos. Even the backgrounds of over-sharpened images have plenty of visible noise. There may be a loss in image detail, giving an amateur and unpleasant look.

Solution: Balance the noise that results from excessive sharpening to help the property images flow. Reduce the noise and eliminate grainy textures inherent in pictures that are sharpened excessively. The idea is to make the image look crisp without over-sharpening.

Reduce sharpening whenever the image looks exaggerated. You can reduce the opacity of the sharpened layer. Sharpening only works with an image that is clear with a soft look. Out-of-focus images cannot be sharpened. Use unsharp mask tool along with other sharpening filters.

One thing to keep in mind is that digitally connected consumers are not only sharp enough to spot photo editing mistakes, but they also love properly edited photos. And so here is an additional issue you need to address to make property photos more appealing.

5. Low clarity and depth of colors

Low clarity and depth of colors Image Credit : boxbrownie

Uploading low-resolution real estate images spoils the reputation of your listing site and home buyers don’t take your listings seriously. Aerial photos and pictures taken from long distance usually have grains and low resolution.

The overall low clarity destroys the appeal of the property and does not entice customers to consider a buy. Such images with inadequate lighting or flash often blur and distort the property images.

Solution: Edit all property images for consistent clarity and depth. Use HDR editing to capture the true depths of the colors. Not editing your images can affect your listings negatively. Invest in real estate photo editing solutions for high-quality images to attract buyers.

Real estate photo editing tools and technology that will dominate the future

With technology reshaping today’s real estate photo editing trends, it is important to invest in new tools and keep abreast of market demands. It is no more only about conventional images for listing sites. The popularity of social media has mandated the need for device-specific photo dimensions with resolutions compatible with platforms.

Home buyers want to view and experience properties from the comfort of their homes. Techniques of twilight effects, day to dusk editing, and virtual staging with beautiful interiors to property pictures is increasingly becoming the selling point for many listings.

Modern technology, like ultra-wide angle zoom lenses, offers high quality in sharpness, contrast, and lack of distortion. Bracket and merge HDR improve the usability of images. Drone image editing, property walkthroughs, and utilization of Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro for intuitive video editing, has become commonplace.

For 3D virtual tours, software like 3DS Max Pro, and Maya are being used at the concept stage. Enabling location mapping through images guided by SEO, and intuitive matching of buyers using AI, have also gained traction with real estate sites and marketers.

Final thoughts

High-quality real estate photography cannot be ignored by the listing sites and real estate industry anymore. Home buyers need to explore, experience, and view their dream homes without stepping out of their homes. Photo editing for real estate photography has moved much beyond simple editing.

MLS sites need to focus on ideal property pictures that could appeal to potential buyers and project their space in ideal terms through superlative photo editing efforts. Clients look for innovation and wish to see every corner and even the minutest exterior and interior details of the home they wish to purchase. And technology is making this possible.

Techniques like Aerial shots and drone photography are great saviors, but all images require editing. In such a scenario, even a slight lapse in editing can cause losses to listing sites. The focus should be on how to avoid photo editing mistakes, so that the viewers like the experience, and your property sells.

Real estate photo editing matters, because today selling a home is about selling lifestyles using technology to impress and convert buyers.

Author Snehal Joshi
About Author:

 spearheads the business process management vertical at Hitech BPO, an integrated data and digital solutions company. Over the last 20 years, he has successfully built and managed a diverse portfolio spanning more than 40 solutions across data processing management, research and analysis and image intelligence. Snehal drives innovation and digitalization across functions, empowering organizations to unlock and unleash the hidden potential of their data.

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