16 Best Real Estate Photo Editing Practices [2024 Tips and Techniques]

Without the right real estate photo editing techniques, your property listing images can appear dull, distorted, or unprofessional, leading to decreased interest, longer listing times, and potentially lower sale prices. Discover the best real estate photo editing best practices that can transform even the most ordinary photos into extraordinary visuals that impress your clients.

Top Real Estate Photo Editing Best Practices

Real estate photo editors start with foundational adjustments like color correction, exposure adjustment, line straightening, and lens corrections. Advanced enhancements include masking, object removal and replacement, HDR editing, and dawn-to-dusk enhancement. Professional editing also leverages batch editing techniques to meet tight turnaround times and maintain efficiency without compromising quality.

Why use boring photos in your marketing efforts when PhotoAndVideoEdits.com can make your real estate images come alive? Not only do real estate photo editing services enhance your images, but they also help you save time, which you can use to book more clients. At PhotoAndVideoEdits.com, we use our Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom post-production techniques to bring out the best in your property images.

Table showing the different photo editing techniques and their basic steps

1. Perform Color Correction

Color correction is a fundamental aspect of enhancing real estate photos, making sure that each image accurately reflects the property's true colors and ambiance. A skilled editor enhances hue, saturation, and lightness to transform dull or off-color images into true-to-life representations that make properties more appealing to potential buyers.

This is done by:

  • Opening the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer in the editing software.
  • Adjusting hue sliders to correct color casts in real estate photos.
  • Fine-tuning the saturation levels to enhance vibrancy without oversaturating.

2. Balance Uneven Lighting, Shadows, and Highlights

Perfectly balanced lighting is key in real estate photography editing. Photoshop's powerful adjustment tools, particularly the Curves option, can fix exposure issues. As editors expertly adjust highlights and shadows in the dialog box, every area of the property listing, from sun-drenched windows to shaded corners, becomes beautifully lit and rich in detail.

To do this, expert editors: 

  • Open the Curves dialog box in Photoshop's Adjustments panel.
  • Click the top-right part of the curve to adjust highlights and whites, preventing overexposure.
  • Click the bottom-left part to lift shadows and blacks, revealing details in dark areas.

3. Fine-Tune Sharpness and Clarity Values

Are you struggling to achieve depth and a sharpened look in your images? Another real estate photo editing technique is creating multiple images that pop with detail and texture. Editors do this using the Clarity slider, a handy tool that enhances mid-tone contrast, to give real estate photos a crisp, high-definition quality that draws viewers into each space.

A bedroom with a TV and wide windows with grey curtains

To do this, professional editors:

  • Open the clarity slider in the editing software (often in the Basic or Presence panel).
  • Move the clarity slider to the right to enhance mid-tone contrast for a sharpened look.
  • Adjust black portions slightly in the tone curve to add depth without losing shadow detail.

4. Straighten Lines

Frequently, when photographing tall objects, such as a building, vertical lines converge instead of remaining parallel to each other. Using Photoshop's Free Transform tool, editors can quickly correct bent lines, transforming skewed shots into polished, architecturally accurate representations that inspire confidence in potential buyers.

  • Open your image in Photoshop and select the layer.
  • Go to Edit > Free Transform (or press Ctrl/Cmd + T).
  • Click and drag the corner handles to align bent lines with the grid, then press Enter.

5. Apply the Lens Correction Tool

While wide-angle lenses make spaces appear larger, they often introduce optical issues that need correction to make the final image look accurate. Lightroom's Lens Correction tool is a handy solution that automatically fixes distortions based on lens profiles and even removes color fringing for crisp, true-to-life property photos.

To do this, professional photo editors will: 

  • Go to the Develop module in Lightroom, and find the Lens Correction panel.
  • Check "Enable Profile Corrections" to automatically fix distortion based on your lens.
  • Check "Remove Color Aberration" to eliminate color fringing on high-contrast edges.

6. Use the Wide-Angle Filter

For property photos taken in tight spaces, like a 100-square-foot living room, Photoshop's Adaptive Wide-Angle filter is a game-changer. It's a powerful tool that lets you correct perspective distortion while preserving the wide-angle effect. This real estate interiors with these expert photo editing process results in edited images that accurately represent the space without making it feel cramped.

  • Open your image in Photoshop, then go to Filter > Adaptive Wide Angle.
  • Set the Correction mode to 'Perspective' for the most natural look.
  • Draw lines along walls or furniture edges that should be straight, adjusting as needed.

7. Declutter or Remove Objects

Photoshop's Clone Stamp is the go-to solution for removing unwanted objects from a real estate image. This handy tool allows editors to seamlessly erase distracting items like personal photos, unsightly wires, or outdated fixtures, creating clean, neutral spaces that help potential buyers envision themselves in the house.

To achieve the final look, a professional editor will:

  • Select the Clone Stamp tool in Photoshop's toolbar.
  • Hold Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) and click to sample a clean area near the object.
  • Paint over the unwanted object, repeating the process with different sample areas as needed.

A minimalistic and clean living room with furniture and lighting

8. Window Masking and Removing Reflections

Real estate photos often face challenges with mirrors, windows, and light handles reflecting the production team or equipment, which can be distracting or look unprofessional. Photo editors solve this by using window masking techniques, blending bracketed exposures to remove reflections while balancing interior and exterior lighting, and showcasing both the room's design and its view.

  • Take multiple bracketed exposures for the interiors and exteriors.
  • In your editing software, stack the images and create layer masks.
  • Use brushes to reveal the properly exposed parts from each layer, removing reflections.

9. Replace Overcast Skies

A stunning sky can dramatically enhance the appeal of exterior property shots, and Photoshop's Sky Replacement tool is a handy feature that makes this transformation quick and easy for photo editors. This intelligent tool swaps out dull or overcast skies while adjusting the entire image's lighting and color to match the new sky.

To do this yourself, 

  • Open your exterior shot in Photoshop and go to Edit > Sky Replacement.
  • Choose a sky from the provided presets or click "Browse" to use your own.
  • Enhancing real estate images to show nighttime views like brightness, temperature, and foreground blending to match the entire image.

A dark photo of the exterior of a house

Replacing overcast skies result

10. Use Lawn Replacement

Brown patches on the lawn can make the property look unattractive and unkept. Using Photoshop's Pen or Lasso tool along with layer masks, professional real estate photo editors can seamlessly swap out unsightly lawns with luscious, green grass.

To achieve this look, a pro editor will:

  • Use the Pen or Lasso tool in Photoshop to carefully select the lawn area.
  • Create a layer mask from this selection to isolate the lawn.
  • Place a lush grass image underneath, adjust the color if needed, and blend edges for realism.

11. Fix TV and Monitors Overlays

Rather than showing blank television screens or computer monitors, real estate photo editors can add overlays of images that will add life to your interior shots. In the real estate photo editing process, adding TV and monitor overlays is a clever way to make property images feel more modern and lived-in.

This process is made up of the following steps:

  • Open the interior shot and the screen content image in Photoshop.
  • Use the Pen tool to precisely select and copy the screen content.
  • Paste the selected content onto the property image, transform to fit, and then set the blending mode to Screen.

TV before editing

TV after overlaying

12. Create a Fireplace

About 95% of a person's purchasing decisions come from the subconscious, with emotion being the biggest urging factor. A cozy, lit fireplace can evoke strong emotional responses in potential buyers. Editors apply these steps to transform a cold, empty hearth into a warm, inviting focal point that makes the final image much more appealing.

For a professional look, an expert real estate photo editor will:

  • Use selection tools, like Free Selection, to isolate the flames, then copy and paste them into your shot.
  • Position flames in the fireplace and adjust the size.
  • Use blending modes (like Screen or Overlay) and opacity for realism.

13. Utilize High Dynamic Range Techniques

Among the common image editing requests we receive is fixing exterior photos with harsh highlights and deep shadows. By blending multiple exposures in photo editing software, our photo editors create balanced images that showcase both bright skies and shaded porches, presenting properties in their best light.

To get the best results:

  • Shoot at least three bracketed exposures: Underexposed, normal, and overexposed.
  • Import into HDR-capable photo editing software (like Photoshop or Aurora HDR).
  • Merge to HDR, then fine-tune highlights, shadows, and contrast.

14. Apply Day to Dusk or Twilight Enhancement

We offer twilight enhancement, a technique where a photo shot in daylight is digitally enhanced to give the appearance that it was taken at twilight. This method offers a safe middle ground between harsh daylight and total darkness, creating a warm, inviting ambiance that resonates emotionally with potential buyers.

  • Start with a well-exposed, daytime exterior photo.
  • Adjust the white balance toward cooler tones for a blue-hour feel.
  • Add warm light to windows, lamps, and landscape features.

15. Take Advantage of Batch Editing

We value efficiency in high-volume photo editing, and batch editing in Adobe Lightroom is a professional editor’s secret tool to maintaining consistent quality across property images. This powerful feature allows editors to apply the same adjustments to multiple photos simultaneously, creating a cohesive look throughout a property listing while dramatically reducing editing time.

The process for batch editing involves:

  • Importing photos from a property shoot into Adobe Lightroom.
  • Editing one photo completely, then copying its settings (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + C).
  • Selecting other images and paste settings (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + V).

16. Level Up Edits Using Virtual Staging

Virtual staging is a cutting-edge photo editing technique that digitally furnishes empty spaces, helping potential buyers visualize themselves living in the property. This method goes beyond adding virtual furniture in real estate photo editing, incorporating appliances and real-life elements that bring warmth and scale to the entire image. These steps can make each space feel inviting and functional.

  • Take high-quality photos of the empty property.
  • Use specialized software to add furniture, appliances, and decor.
  • Fine-tune uneven lighting and shadows to seamlessly integrate virtual elements.

A living room with a painting on the wall, a sofa and throw pillows

Related Questions

How Should Real Estate Photographers Request to Edit Their Photos?

Real estate photographers can request a variety of photo editing techniques to transform ordinary images into compelling visual narratives. Our editors employ editing tools like color correction, vertical line straightening, and window masking to dramatically improve real estate images. These techniques make properties more attractive and marketable to potential buyers.

What Is the Best Format for Real Estate Photos?

Editors often work with RAW files for greater flexibility, then export to JPEG for final delivery, letting property images maintain their visual impact across various online platforms. For uploading property images, high-resolution JPEG is the best format, offering an optimal balance between image quality and file size.

What Is the Best Camera Setting for Real Estate Photography?

A real estate photographer typically uses a low ISO (100 to 400) for minimal noise, a narrow aperture (f/8-f/11) for wide depth of field, and adjusts shutter speed to match available light, often using a tripod for sharp images in lower light conditions.


Leveraging real estate photo editing techniques transforms your property listings from mundane to magnificent, significantly improving their appeal to prospective buyers. By outsourcing your post-production, you can save time while also delivering high-quality images that lead to more inquiries and faster sales for your clients. 

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