The Tutorial of Exterior Object Removal Editing Technique

In today’s real estate business, it is an undeniable reality that homes are bought and sold left and right. Looking deeper on how this impacts the people doing it, flipping properties is not easy for real estate agents. There is the challenge of selling properties that are cluttered and messy. There are occasions when the property is still occupied, and in some instances, there are properties that are really just run down and unkempt. Photographers as well, are hit by such daunting tasks. They must be able to perform the photo shoot as time is always golden and postponing the shoot just because a cleanup needs to happen might not be in everyone’s best interest.

Fortunately, real estate photo editing can remove the unwanted things on the outside of the property. The exterior object removal editing technique can clean up all of the unnecessary and unwanted objects crawling around the lawn or the peripheries, leaving an image that allows the viewer to focus on the beauty of the property.

The Dos and Don’ts

Considering the power that real estate photo editing brings, the only limit to what you can do with it is your imagination. For the exterior object removal editing technique to work properly, there has to be a fine line drawn between what can be and cannot be done. Simply put, that line is called morals and ethics. This defines the space where object removal is still considered proper and the space where it already constitutes misleading. To have an idea on what is right, ask yourself the question ‘if I remove this, will it anger the person visiting the property on site if they see it is still there?’. This revolves around the debate if an object is legal or illegally removed. It takes quite a bit of discernment, but a good assessment of the situation helps identify if it can or cannot be removed.

Steps in Removing Objects

  1. Create a copy of the image as a background layer and rename it.

In this real estate photo editing technique, it is important to distinguish between what you will edit and what will remain as the untouched image. We suggest renaming the raw image as ‘original’ so the others can take on specific and identifiable names such as ‘Garbage bin’ or ‘Lawn Clutter’ and so forth.

  1. Select the polygonal or magnetic lasso tool and begin outlining the items you want removed.

The object being removed must be 1 layer per object for this exterior object removal editing technique to be effective. Outline one object per layer using these lasso tools depending on the shape of the object. More irregularly shaped ones might be easier to enclose with a magnetic lasso tool that a polygonal lasso tool. Keep it as precise and accurate as you can.

  1. Click on the add layer mask button on the layers panel to create a layer mask on the layer being edited and a silhouette of the selection should appear.

The add layer mask button can be found as the square or rectangle button on the layers panel with a circle inside, denoting that a selection is within a layer, identifiable and distinguishable by the colors black and white. Another square beside the layer you are working with should appear in this binary color scheme.

  1. Invert the selection (CTRL + I) to make sure that the object is removed and not the property.

Once the object has been enclosed, invert the layer selection by clicking on the control button ‘CTRL’ while simultaneously clicking the ‘I’ button on the keyboard. This inverts the selection because by concept, by enclosing an object you are retaining it. By inverting, you are now retaining the property and getting ready to get rid of the enclosed object.

  1. Hide this layer for now by clicking on the eye icon on the layer panel on the layer you want to be unseen.

Make this layer invisible for now to continue working on other objects until the property’s exterior is pristine and clutter free.

  1. Create another new copy of the picture by replicating the original one on the layer panel keeping the original photo always untouched.

For each object that has a selection, a layer must also accompany it making it 2 layers per object. However, the difference in this layer is that we will begin the removal process here.

  1. Click on the Clone Stamp Tool and select the stamp size in terms of pixels and use a brush with a softer edge.

Softer edge brushes can produce a more realistic feel, and it blends easier with the background as it is being applied unlike ones with hard edges, the delineations can easily be seen and will require extra work to get rid of later on.

  1. In order to get the Clone Stamp Tool to sample a background to cover the unwanted object, hold down alt on the color, and use the left-click on the mouse. Brush it on the object to cover it, therefore eliminating it from the photo.

Real estate photo editing provides a useful tool in the Clone Stamp tool. It can recognize the colors you want to clone over the object to get rid of it. The exterior object removal editing technique thrives on being able to patch up any empty space or void removing an object will leave.

  1. For blurred edges or anything that would resemble editing, fix it by making the layer hidden in number 5 now visible.

Remember the hidden layers? Now you can pop them out and they will be the dominant objects in the image, making their edges clear and removing any blurriness caused by the clone stamp or any inaccurate lasso enclosures. Do not forget to retouch any anomalies in the background such as edges to give it a crisp realistic look.


There you have it. Removing an object on the exterior of a property isn’t all that difficult. It might require a lot of precision with a mouse but using the tutorial above will make sure that even if the accuracy is not 100% on the object tracing, there are still ways to get it right. What one should also remember is to keep real estate photo editing within the space of a realistic representation especially with the exterior object removal editing technique as going on a removal frenzy to make the property look extra appealing might make the entire thing go awry.