How to Mask Windows in Real Estate Photo Editing Using Photoshop [2024 Guide]

Masking windows improperly in Photoshop can ruin an image by causing overexposure or washed-out views that don't showcase a property's true appeal. Our skilled professionals have mastered the art of window masking in real estate photography, so we’re sharing our top techniques to give you a glimpse of how to mask windows in Photoshop.

Step-By-Step Guide: How to Mask Windows in Photoshop

When masking windows in Photoshop, professional photo editors begin by stacking a well-lit interior shot over a clear window view, then adjust the brightness and add an inverted layer mask to hide the top layer. Next, we use Photoshop's precise selection tools to outline and fill the areas. Finally, we fine-tune the details and save the masterpiece.

Do you need help with masking something in Photoshop? Our team of skilled real estate photography editors at specializes in advanced Photoshop techniques, making sure every shot reveals stunning views without compromising lighting. This balance has empowered our clients to deliver flawless images, helping their realtor clients close deals faster.

Table listing out the different actions in Photoshop and its corresponding tool

“How to mask in Photoshop?” is among the most common inquiries we receive from our real estate photography clients. It’s an important one, too, because learning how to mask windows in real estate photo editing can highlight the interiors better. These are the actual steps we can do for you:

1. Stack Two Photos

The technique must begin with stacking or stitching. Start by getting two photos of the same image: One in an exposure that visibly shows the interiors and the windows glared, and one where the interiors are dark yet the window and view are clearly visible.

These two real estate photography pictures will lay the foundation for stacking. It puts the darker interiors on the base to create less work and movement moving forward.

2. Adjust Image Brightness

Modify each image's brightness to produce a seamless blend. Using Photoshop's Image Adjustment panel, you'll fine-tune the interior's lighting while preserving the other exposures of your real estate photography shots.

  • Open the Image Adjustment panel in Photoshop and select Levels or Curves.
  • Move the sliders to brighten the interiors without overexposing window areas.
  • Use the targeted adjustment tools for hue, saturation, and lightness to refine window view exposure if needed.

A wide white window

3. Click the Add Layer Mask Icon and Invert the Layer

Adding a layer mask and inverting it in Photoshop is a strategic move to mask windows in your images. This real estate photography post-processing technique allows you to hide the window view layer without deleting it, giving you the flexibility to reveal specific areas precisely.

  • Open both photos in Photoshop as layers, placing the window view beneath.
  • Select the top layer and click the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom.
  • Invert the mask by pressing Ctrl+I (Win) or Cmd+I (Mac) to hide the layer.

4. Select Window Areas

The photo with the bright interiors and glare glasses should show up, and that is where you start the real estate photography edits.

  • Continue by selecting the Pen, as its tip allows very precise area definitions. 
  • Identify the corners you would like to connect.
  • Right-click to release a set of commands within the bounds of the selected area. 

5. Create and Fill the Selection

Creating and filling a selection is a precise real estate photography post-processing technique that reveals the perfect view. Use the Pen tool to outline and drag to create a path. You can edit the mask to seamlessly blend the exterior scene with the interiors.

  • Use the Pen tool's settings for smooth, precise outlining.
  • Click and drag to create anchor points around each edge.
  • Right-click inside the path, select Make Selection, and then fill in to reveal the view.

 A room with a wide window with an overlooking  outdoor

6. Start Masking the Windows

This step reveals stunning exterior views while maintaining indoor charm in your real estate photography shots. Using the Brush, you can skillfully mask windows, creating a seamless transition between well-lit interiors and the picturesque scenery outside.

  • Select the Brush tool.
  • Set Brush Hardness to 85% for sharp edges.
  • Make sure the layer color in the menu bar is white.
  • Gently brush over the window view to reveal it in the room view.
  • Make adjustments as needed to perfect your masked interior real estate photos.

7. Fine-Tune the Details

Do the clean-up by retouching the affected windowsills and furniture. You will need to restore the same exposure to these items to create that final masked photo. Likewise, you may tweak the opacity levels to brighten up the picture a bit.

8. Save the Final Image

After masterfully applying window masking techniques in your real estate photography, saving your work correctly will maintain quality and flexibility.

Choose File > Save As and select PSD format to preserve settings, allowing you to revisit and work on the window masking work later if needed. 

For client presentations or web uploads, also save a high-quality JPEG with optimal compression. This guarantees that your beautifully masked windows display perfectly across various platforms without losing their impact.


What Is Window Masking?

Window masking is simply establishing what parts of a photo cannot change. It defines the bounds where your real estate photography shots cannot be affected as you edit the other parts of them. When you mask windows, you're working on the nitty-gritty details of this object. 

The rest of the room is made to stay put if it already meets the illumination requirement, yet the view from the window is still in limbo due to the harsh glare. Now, even if the window does not have a million-dollar view, such as a beach or a mountain, the ability to see the view from photos will help viewers decide if the property is indeed for them. 

Another reason why you need to mask windows in real estate photography is because of its ability to show the entire interior of the room. Note that the glare can overpower some of the interiors, such as the windowsill or some nearby furniture, thereby obscuring the best parts of the room.

A dining room with huge windows

Related Questions

How Do You Use Mask Mode in Photoshop?

To use mask mode, select your layer and click the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Paint black to hide areas of the object and white to reveal the parts of a layer without permanently erasing them, making the masks ideal for editing important objects within a space.

How Do I Auto-Mask in Photoshop?

Go to Select > Subject, and the software will automatically identify and create a mask around the main subject. Photoshop's Auto-Mask feature simplifies object selection in a single image. It's particularly useful for isolating rooms or architectural features in interior real estate photos.

What Is the Shortcut for the Mask Button in Photoshop?

The shortcut key combination to mask windows is Command + \ (Mac) | Control + \ (Win) to target the layer mask. Press Command + 2 (Mac) | Control + 2 (Win) to target the layer. This action adds a mask while also inverting it, as it hides the layer, allowing you to selectively reveal the views.



Mastering the technique of masking windows can significantly improve your real estate photos, attracting potential buyers and setting your work apart in a competitive market. Our team's unmatched expertise and quick turnaround can save you from the bulk of edits, giving you more time for photography and client management instead.


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