27 Real Estate Photo Editing Terms You Must Know in 2024

For real estate photographers, a lack of familiarity with post-processing jargon can cause miscommunication with your photo editor. This may result in subpar edits and unsatisfactory output for your photography clients. Here's a list of the common photo editing terms and definitions to better explain your editing requirements and avoid misunderstandings.

Common Real Estate Photo Editing Terms Every Photographer Should Know

Commonly used post-processing terms include focus, depth of field, color correction, exposure, contrast, brightness, highlights, shadows, and white balance for basic adjustments. 

Spacious and modern lobby with unique ceiling lights

Other vital terms include aspect ratio, perspective correction, clipping blending, window masking, sky or lawn replacement, item removal or addition, and understanding histograms for optimal tonal adjustments.

A real estate photo editing company has professional editors with expert editing skills. In order to collaborate with them seamlessly and create real magic, it helps to gain some knowledge of real estate photography editing techniques as well as common terms.

However, post-production jargon can get confusing at times, which may introduce inconsistency issues in your photos. Brush up your knowledge of these important terms to ensure clear communication with your editors.

1. Focus

Focus refers to the clarity or sharpness of a certain part in a photo. Some editing software applications allow you to add a creative blurring effect to highlight specific areas.

2. Depth of Field

The depth of field is the distance between the farthest and nearest objects in an acceptable focus. A deep depth of field keeps most of the scene focused due to a higher f-stop value. Meanwhile, a shallow depth of field caused by a larger aperture produces a blurred background.

3. Color Correction

There may be times when cameras fail to capture certain colors of a location due to various reasons, such as light, window tint, or incorrect camera settings. Color correction adds the right amount of colors to make a photograph more pleasing to the eye.



4. Color Cast

Color cast is an unwanted tint or shift in color across the whole image, often caused by incorrect lighting conditions or ISO settings. Photo editors often need to remove this as it can make an image look unnatural.

5. Hue

Hue refers to the actual shade or tint consisting of two primaries: Additive (RGB) and subtractive (CMYK). Editors usually adjust the hue to shift colors toward a particular shade.

6. Mid Tones

This is the middle range of tones between the highlights and shadows. Editors fine-tune mid-tones to subdue or enhance an image's tonality or contrast.

7. Neutral

Neutral implies the absence of color or a gray tone. With no tint or cast, pure gray can produce an accurate color representation.

8. Saturation

Do you have clients who want their pictures to have a "punchy" look? They are referring to saturation, or a color's intensity or purity, which makes a color look dull or vivid, creating either a muted or saturated look.

9. Vibrance

Photo editors adjust the vibrance to increase the saturation of muted colors while preserving authentic skin tones. This is particularly useful for enhancing the colors in real estate agent headshots without making the skin tone look unnaturally oversaturated.

10. Exposure

Exposure refers to the light a camera sensor captures in an image based on the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Real estate photos that are brighter than the actual scene are overexposed, while darker shots are underexposed. 

Bedroom with warm lighting

11. Contrast

Contrast is the difference between the darkest and lightest parts of a picture. Professional photo editors can fine-tune the contrast based on the colors that lie on the opposite sides of the color wheel.

12. Brightness

Brightness implies the darkness or lightness of a photo. Editors adjust the brightness to fix overexposed or underexposed shots.

13. Highlights

Highlights refer to the brightest parts of photos that are pure white. A photo editor can reduce or recover highlights to prevent loss of image detail.

14. Shadows

Often lacking in detail, shadows are the darkest parts of photos. You can fine-tune the shadows to reveal or hide image details in the dark sections of the scene.

15. Black Point

Black point is the darkest tone in a photo before pure black. Adjusting the black point can make the dark parts even darker, helping you fine-tune the contrast and depth.

16. White Balance

This editing technique adjusts colors to neutralize unwanted color casts caused by various lighting conditions. By effectively making an accurate color representation, you can make white appear as white as it was during the shooting.

17. Fill Light

Fill light is the process of adding simulated light to brighten shadowed parts of a photo. It can reveal the detail in dark portions without affecting properly exposed areas.

18. Noise

Image noise is the appearance of blurred dots on the image that make the desired information look unclear. It may occur due to low-light conditions, faults in the density of pixels, a slower shutter speed, or high ISO settings.



19. Clipping

Clipping happens when editing software detects loss of detail in the shadows or highlights because of underexposure or overexposure. Photo editors fix this by adjusting the shadows, blacks, exposure, and contrast sliders.

20. Recovery

Recovery is the editing process of retrieving details in overexposed highlight parts by using the brightness and contrast sliders. This can salvage photo details that would otherwise be lost due to clipping.

21. Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio refers to the proportional relationships between the height and width of a photo. Common aspect ratios for real estate photography are 4:3, 3:2, and 16:9.

22. Perspective Correction

When capturing details, the camera position, the room's shape, or the curvature of the camera lens can distort perspective. Perspective correction aligns distorted horizontal and vertical lines to produce a more natural, tilt-free appearance.



23. Blending

Blending is one of the most advanced editing techniques. It combines different exposures of the same subject using two or more image layers to produce a final image.





24. Window Masking

Window masking is an editing process that reveals exterior views through windows by blending different exposures. It sets bounds within an image that can't be affected when you're editing other image parts.



25. Sky or Lawn Replacement

This advanced technique requires digitally replacing an unappealing sky or lawn with a more visually appealing one. For instance, agents may request to replace a gloomy sky with a sunny and bright sky or a patchy lawn with beautiful, lush greenery.



26. Item Removal or Addition

This involves adding or removing elements from a photo for enhancement. Some clients may request that you remove clutter in a room or add furniture to make the space look more inviting.



27. Histogram

Often seen in editing programs, a histogram is the graphic representation of an image's tonal range and exposures. Here, you'll learn to read pixels to adjust shadows, highlights, and midtones.

Importance of Understanding Common Photo Editing Terms

By understanding relevant post-production terms and techniques, photographers can better communicate with professional photo editors, which in turn helps raise the quality of the photographs and leads to more happy, satisfied clients.

Spacious living room with wide open glass windows and neutral colored furniture

  • Fix common post-processing issues: Post-processing allows editors to work on common editing issues like varying exposures, color casts, and lens distortions. Understanding terms like "noise reduction" and "color correction" can help photographers and editors achieve more accurate and natural-looking colors in an image.
  • Fine-tune photos seamlessly: Terms like "sharpening", "brightness", "blending", and "perspective correction" enable editors to enhance details, blend composite shots, and correct distortions for a more polished final photo.
  • Use marketable techniques: The real estate photography industry uses visual appeal to attract potential buyers. About 83% of homebuyers rate property photos as the most useful website feature for listings. Knowing when to use terms like "sky replacement", "item removal", and "window masking" can significantly enhance the quality and marketability of a property photo.

Related Questions

What Are the Five Basics of Photo Editing?

The five basics of photography editing are exposure adjustments, color corrections, cropping and straightening, sharpening and noise reduction, and blemish removal and retouching.

What Is the Term for Photo Editing?

The term commonly used for editing and enhancing digital photographs is post-processing. Post-processing refers to making adjustments and modifications to an image after it has been captured by digital cameras, using software tools and different editing techniques.

What Is Photo Retouching?

Photo retouching is the manipulation and enhancement of digital images to improve their appearance, remove imperfections, or add desired creative effects. It involves techniques like blemish removal, object removal, skin smoothing, teeth whitening, and other detailed adjustments to specific areas or elements within an image.


As a real estate photographer, understanding photography editing jargon can promote better communication and collaboration with other industry creatives and your clients. Once you fully understand the terms, you can easily explain your editing requirements and develop a consistent photo style guide.

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