Photography For Real Estate

Tips and techniques for real estate photography

Do you have ethics for photo editing?

Posted by larrylohrman on March 31, 2006

What are your professional ethics for modifying marketing photos? Are there limits for how much or what things you will modify in a marketing photograph?

My take on this question is as follows: Marketing photography is different than photojournalism or documentary photography where accurate photographic recording is assumed by the viewer. The purpose of marketing photography is to make a product (in this context a home) look good. So I feel it is ethical to replace skies, remove power lines or what ever you can do to make the home look good? Some of these “modifications” are done before the photo is taken like controlling the light, moving furniture, adding attractive furniture removing clutter and generally styling the space to look attractive. Other modifications are easier done after the photo is taken in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

You frequently see architectural drawings used to market new homes. Architectural drawings are very stylized, have dramatic skies and don’t show power lines or other ugly, realistic details so why not think of your interior/exterior photographs of a home as architectural drawings?

What are the limits to what you would change in a home marketing photo? Are there any limits?


2 Responses to “Do you have ethics for photo editing?”

  1. Tyler Hall said

    I have the same questions… too bad theres no conclusive responses… er, responses at all

  2. Tyler, John Dvorak over at wrote an interesting article on this subject that you may be interested in. His bottom line is

    “Photos are representations, nothing more and nothing less. Sure, taking a head from one picture, dropping it into a porn photo, and saying that it’s real is obviously wrong. But enhancing and interpreting photographic data has its place and is an important communications tool. Just stop believing everything you see.”

    To read the whole article see:,1895,2014593,00.asp

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