Fake Fires and Cloned Grass: Real Estate Photography Tricks Revealed

A video has revealed the tricks real estate photographers use to make properties look better than they do in real life

Guardian Australia image editor Carly Earl visited a property in Sydney and took photos of the same location alongside a professional property photographer to show the stark differences the two captured.

In the first example, a photo of a swimming pool was taken in which the real estate photo editors had increased the saturation of the trees and sky “to make it much sunnier and more vibrant than it actually is.”

“The other thing you’ll notice is that it looks photoshopped in that there are no more leaves on the bottom of the pool and that definitely makes it more inviting,” Earl says.

fake lights

In the following example, a photo of a living room is shown where the professional has filled in shadows as well as shooting on a wider lens to make the room appear larger than it is.

“It’s something they usually do in smaller homes to create a feeling of space,” Earl explains.

Perhaps most shockingly, the professional had Photoshopped a burning fire where there had been none before.

“In my image, there was definitely no roaring fire at the time, but they add that in order to bring out that warmth and have that feeling of being snug in the living room,” explains Earl.

For the exterior shot of the property, the professional had filled in the lawn where there was mainly mud.

“The whole picture is really bright, it looks like there’s grass all over the driveway when we know there isn’t really,” Earl says.

And as with the pool photo, the editors had increased the saturation to make the greens and sky more punchy.

Precise information

According to the attached article on The Guardian website, Australia’s Fair Trading Rules state that property photographs must convey “accurate information” to the buyer or tenant.

An image may be misleading if it “leads to a reasonable belief in the existence of a state of affairs which, in fact, does not exist” or by “acts of silence or omission” – such as including a photo of a view of the beach where there is nothing. The maximum penalty for breaching Australian consumer law is $1.1 million for a company.

According to Hayden Groves, president of the Australian Institute of Real Estate, a photo of a lit fireplace where there was none is acceptable, as long as the fireplace can start a fire.

The anonymous photographer who Guardian Australia hired says she regularly uses two exposures for an outdoor shot and maybe three or four indoors to make a well-balanced composite.

“A lot of places can look really, really seedy. They’re falling apart. But with the right frames and the right lighting, you can still take pictures,” the photographer adds.

About Adam Gray

Check Also

Chinese real estate firm found guilty of bribing former LA board member

A Chinese real estate developer has been convicted of spending more than $1 million to …