How to Make a Real Estate Picture Brighter: A Beginners Guide

The foundation of any great real estate picture lies in the way it is perceived. Breaking this down into tangible elements, the visibility, attractiveness or overall beauty, and the warmth. The latter two would not be possible in real estate photo editing if it weren’t for the first one, and what drives it to be successful is the image brightness. As a realty editor, this is one of the basics that you should learn in order to churn amazing images not only during post-processing, but also during the photo shoot.

In this beginners’ guide, you must familiarize yourself what the definition of brightness is. We already have an appreciation for what it does for a real estate picture, so the next step is to gain an insight on how these bright photos are made. Take note, it is the tandem of the photo shoot and real estate photo editing that makes the photo stunning. Relying on the latter will only create a larger amount of burden on in while also compromising for the lack of quality of the former. Needless to say, while real estate photo editing can pretty much do a spic and span job, it will not be the end-all. Garbage in will still be garbage out.

Defining Brightness

Brightness in a real estate picture dictates how dark or light it is to the human eye. It is also gauged by how easy the contents of the photo are seen under ambient circumstances, and these give a first impression to the potential buyer. At times, you may hear the word exposure in the world of real estate photo editing, but this is not synonymous to brightness. Realty editors use the term exposure to refer to the amount of light captured by the lens, it cannot be measured by the naked eye and will come out as if an incoming car with its headlights on is pointed right at you. Therefore, you must always know and learn to separate brightness from exposure, where brightness is evenly distributed and helps make the photo visible while exposure is the amount of light concentration at a specified and localized area in a real estate picture.

How to Ensure Your Photos are Bright?

As mentioned, during the photography stage, learn to already ensure that the photo will come out bright and visible. Realty editors are keen to set up the shoot to be able to take advantage of the setting and doing so might just help you get one foot right in the door towards your professional aspirations

  1. Take advantage of natural light

A real estate picture that has clear and bright written all over it is always shot with plenty of natural light. These come from windows or openings leading to backyards and lanais. Making use of natural light should be able to make your real estate pictures look natural especially for interiors.

  1. Use a flash when needed

Darker parts of the property will require you to have an artificial source of light. Some areas will lack windows or even have none. A realty editor who has enough experience will know that artificial light will get the job done but also be very sensitive when it comes to producing shadows and an unnatural feel, so be careful and adjust your lights to match a natural feel.

  1. Adjust your settings – aperture, shutter speed, and ISO

While a camera might be the conduit between the property and a digitalized form of the real estate picture, it’s the nitty gritty things that make sue it captures the right blend of visibility and lighting. Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO all play a part in photo visibility. If you adjust one of these, a corresponding change in levels of the other are required to strike the balance to adapt to the environmental conditions.

Basic Brightness Editing Techniques Available

Let’s now take a peek at the post-processing side or what most call real estate photo editing. Here are some software available tools and techniques to light up those images.

  1. Sliders and adjustors for brightness and contrast

You will often find these convenient tools in most adjustment panels, they are displayed with a spectrum with extremes, and an adjustor for you to move from side to side. Feel free to move them around to achieve the appropriate level of brightness for a stunning real estate picture.

  1. The dodge and burn tools

These are useful for a realty editor especially when they need to even out the brightness of the photo. Even if you have already drawn up the blinds and let a lot of natural light in, there will always be spots where light will not illuminate as much as the others. So, for real estate photo editing, the dodge and burn tool will be the perfect sidekick for brightening.

  1. Using Tonal Curves

Tone curves comprise of four components: light, dark, shadows, and highlights. The curve within the graph can be moved on a granular motion to achieve a good mix of visibility within the photo. Here it blends the most important components that can and will improve the overall look of a real estate picture just by moving through the axes.

  1. Applying pre-set filters

Finally, there are pre-set filters. In real estate photo editing software, there will be an option to select filters that altogether can change how a photo looks like, much like how a sports car goes from zero to a hundred in mere seconds. Some applications will provide a ton of filters to choose from the ultimately brightens up the photo, or even better, some allow you to create your own re-set filter and make future real estate photo editing endeavors easier.


Beginning your journey in real estate photo editing begins with understanding what the basics of the photo require to eventually blossom into a seasoned realty editor. Your output, the real estate picture, is your pride and glory to show clients what you can do and making them aware of such abilities to get off on the right foot gives the impression you are on the right path. Brightness is one of those, and being a critical real estate photo editing technique, will surely be one of the things you are going to be thankful for learning at the early stages of your realty editor career.


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