Removing Unwanted Things from Images in Real Estate Photography

Real estate photography will never capture the ideal images at the start, but it does clean up quite well towards the end. But this is not to say that the craft is difficult, the reality really is just that there are properties on the market that aren’t brand new. Some of them will have people still occupying the premises while it is on sale or others might even have left things they don’t want anymore.  Either of the cases bring about a cluttered property both in and out that takes time to clear out. Luckily, real estate photography can process these photos to remove image backgrounds or objects that don’t belong in the photo.

Removal of clutter and imperfections are part of the realty editor job. The home must be presented only with the essentials such as furniture and appliances arranged in a pleasant and presentable manner in order for people to imagine how they can make tweaks in designing their potential future home inside and out. A messy and busy home that has all the makings of an obstacle course should be remedied, and when there is too much to fix, consider removing image backgrounds and replace them with stock photos that resemble the home but with a cleaner slate.

What are Those Unwanted Items?

The perception of something that is desired from despised is really based on individual taste. What might be pleasing to the eye to one person may not necessarily be the same for others. This is why real estate photography should consider first what constitutes unwanted in photos and then makes an effort to understand their client further so they can bring out the best in an image.

Exterior Photos

  • Lawn clutter – The front yard is a haven for a lot of undesirables. There can be cluttered gardening tools just laying around, children’s toys, or even dried grass. Thing is, the differences just seem to look overwhelming and the thought of seeing something horrifying is a nightmare for professionals in real estate photography.
  • Backyard items – The backyard is considered by most a sanctuary for household activities and a space for kids to enjoy. Therefore, one might expect to see playground equipment such as a swing or a sandbox that should be removed. While these aren’t exactly eyesores, prospective buyers would want to see a backyard that is spacious so they can easily see the possibilities that they can do with it. Suppose a backyard has a swimming pool but sits underneath a gloomy and rainy afternoon, consider removing the image background and performing a sunny sky replacement as an alternative to the rainy weather.
  • Basement junk – The basement is probably one of the more notorious areas where you can find a lot of unwanted items. There are just too much in most occupied properties that to remove image backgrounds from shoots here might be the first choice. However, in newer homes, one might expect that it will be spotless. Guess again. The possibility of new homes having spots of paint on the floor right after the walls have been coated is a possibility. It also won’t take long for spiders to build cobwebs throughout corners and windowsills. Keep an eye out for these to make sure your photo comes out clean and tidy.
  • Messy attics – Attics come in different shapes and sizes. Most would come in forms of storage spaces while others might be large enough for a room. Real estate photography has the opportunity to maximize either of the cases through making sure the attic is tidy. This means that minimalism is key. If it can be large enough to be inhabited as a room, place some furniture that can give potential ideas to people looking design their own spaces. If it’s small and dingy, try removing the coarse look on surfaces of the wood and supports to make it look smooth.

How Do You Get Rid of Them?

Different software provides different ways of object removal. Real estate photography relies on these computer- aided software to ensure retouching is done at its highest level of precision.

  1. Through GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation ProgramGIMP takes even the small object you want removed to a whole new level. Using the zoom tool, GIMP allows power users to enlarge objects that are small so that they can be outlined and removed without affecting other parts of the image. The paths tool now enables the user to outline the object that needs to be eradicated. It draws an outline around giving you the option where to plant the anchors so you can easily navigate your way around the curves. Once the selection is complete and you’ve made some errors, no need to re-do the whole thing. Just click on any anchor point and adjust it from there. Easy right? Make sure you’ve selected the object and established it as a closed loop selection. Choose the clone tool and this will emulate other areas of the photo and cover up the unwanted object.
  2. Through Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom – Both developments from Adobe have the healing brush tool. It is a starter tool that automatically detects pixels that may be of interest to the area you wish to remove eliminating the need to outline any small object. Smudges may appear as a result of the computer working autonomously to some degree. If you are not happy with this method, consider the clone tool. Similar to GIMP’s, the clone tool for Adobe copies one area and places it on top of the object making it vanish. The latter method is easier, cleaner, and perhaps even faster to execute.


Two software that can remove those pesky objects but there are simply more out there. Real estate photography must be able to understand why and how unwanted objects become undesirables, and more than that, develop a keen sense for identifying these in the properties they shoot. It will always be a challenge to have a very clutter-free site and working with what you have shows your resilience and creativity to your client so you can prove that you can get the job done whether it’s easy or challenging.


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