White Balance Adjustment and Exposure Correction for Real Estate Photos

Whenever we are at a photo shoot, we make sure there is ample lighting, we take the best angled shots, and often times we work hard to get the interiors set up with beautiful furniture. Now we take that photo and it seemed to look pretty good in our camera screens. What we do not usually see in this screen is a totally different hue and warmth in the photo. Some people call this color cast or this may simply be a difference in white balance. Either way, an intervention through property photography editing must be done to correct it.

Something that must also be taken into account is the fact that these photos are the sole point of contact for millions of people browsing the internet in hopes to find their next dream home. The photos now become a difference maker if a potential buyer will decide to pursue their inquiry further or leave the property as it is, unsold. Photo editing for real estate agents mean the difference between a sale or stale. Your reputation as a photographer is hinged on how fast a property sells because of the photos in the business listings. Needless to say, the basics such as white balance and exposure are crucial in landing an accurate representation of the property and will propel the picture to a professional status.

What is White Balance?

White balance is simply the mood of the entire photo. It can be warm, leaning towards the yellowish hue or cold which is on the bluish side. White balance is an integral part of property photography editing because of the realistic representation the image has to achieve. Furthermore, image editing for real estate photography relies on white balance to create a neutral feel for the photo. A photo that invokes a very depressing mood can easily turn a potential buyer off, and something too warm can appear to be inviting but will always seem old due to the sepia-like feels. Photo editing for real estate agents is important in this aspect and that is to put out a pristine photo.

The reason why white balance is still a required step in image editing for real estate photography is because cameras are programmed to try and mimic the human eye. It auto adjusts based on the conditions of light and colors. However, the reality is the camera is not as fast and accurate as the human eye. This results into the camera being easily influenced by any source of light that dominates the image and takes that as the overall tone. Our eyes on the other hand are able to distinguish between the different sources and balance it altogether.

What is Exposure?

Exposure is the term to describe the amount of light that goes through your camera lenses. The camera acts as a funnel and can control the amount of light it takes in regardless of the illumination available in the surrounding environment. The settings that can help adjust light are aperture and shutter speed, both of which control the opening and therefore control the light that passes through the lenses.

The shutter speed dictates the length of exposure by making the speed fast enough to allow only a small amount of light or slow enough to let more in. The aperture is the constant opening of the lens, the diameter can be controlled to adjust how much light can pass through. The shutter and aperture work hand-in-hand to control exposure, and methods for correcting real estate photographs relies on how much you are able to control these both so that editing will not do all the heavy lifting.

How Do You Adjust White Balance and Exposure?

Property photography editing to adjust white balance and exposure is available with most editing software. Photoshop by Adobe has an option to adjust white balance for the photo using toggles and adjustments to get a granular increment in adjustment.

  • White balance adjustment can be found in the color balance under the adjustments option or select the curves under the same option. In terms of ease of use, color balance is easier due to the linear adjustments that need to happen. Curves on the other hand plays with input levels. The complexity is night and day but at the end of it, it is still up to the user preference on which one provides an easier correction of white balance.
  • Both methods will provide an ample and easy solution to fix the white balance and make it appear closer to a neutral hue. The important thing to remember is white balance adjusts the overall tone of the photo, making it look clearer or murkier.

Exposure on the other hand can lighten up the dark areas to make the details visible. Unlike white balance, the goal of adjusting exposure is to expose the darkened and shadowed areas which would otherwise be considered as useless in the photo.

  • In Photoshop under the same adjustments option, select exposure to make the photo brighter. The offset and gamma correction options allows you to play with midtones and gamma values which in turn makes the photo darker or clearer, respectively.
  • Gamma values are there to help make specific adjustments to areas that looked whited out. It entails a more detailed mathematical and graphical representation to understand but works similar to the exposure and offsets.


The keyword to sum it all up is reality. Adjusting both white balance and exposure brings the photo closer to reality and works to help sell the property. Realty editor for real estate agents is so crucial that it is an unspoken expectation from photographers to deliver. Relying solely on the technology embedded in the camera is dangerous to assume a perfect image will come out of it. More so, the output of image editing for real estate photography must represent the property in such a way that the human eyes are gazing at the photos. Any deviation could mean a whole deal of mistrust between the potential buyer and the real estate company. Hence, the skill to identify and correct both white balance and exposure is essential to create a strong name and foundation for photo editing.


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