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Edmund Klebe, Home Buyer in Williamsburg, VA

Why is it that most of the photos I see in these listings look "artificial"?

Asked by Edmund Klebe, Williamsburg, VA Fri Apr 13, 2012

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I also am a REALTOR and photographer for Circlepix Virtual Tours the last 5 years. Like Mack, I am not a big fan of HDR enhanced photos. They can be dialed back to simply enhance bad light, but those pictures and many other listings I've seen do look fake. When the buyer goes in to see what the lighting and colors really look like they are often very dissapointed. I've done hundreds of tours for other agents throughout Hampton Roads and won't do HDR-it's too "artsy" and fake for real estate. It's great for mountain,lake,sunsets,,etc though
Web Reference: http://www.JimMellen.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 15, 2012
Too funny! Many of the agents have started hiring "professional" photographers instead of taking their own photos. The colors definitely look "enhanced" and there's heavy use of wide angle. I agree with you that they look fake. I think, in some cases, it's leading to buyer disappointment.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 13, 2012
But, buyers should go through a house they've seen online and be "surprised" by the interior condition. We had this situation with my buyers looking at a waterfront home in Mattaponi. The house looked awesome online, but was very disappointing in person.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 1, 2012
I have started using HDR photos for some homes and some rooms but not every picture. But I also control the amount of exposure compensation and strength to avoid the "fake" look. I also don't often go to my widest setting on my 10--22MM lens when trying to get the most out of a room. Too wide can be be a bad thing. Great pictures are paramount to getting buyers into a house but if they show up and wonder if they are in the same house it can be a problem! Check out some of my photos in my YouTube video on my blog link below. You'll notice some are HDR and some are regular with very little if any post photo editing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 1, 2012
I think there's a chance these "artificial" looking photos are affecting our appraisals as well. The appraisers are seeing older homes look "updated" when they really aren't. It doesn't allow the appraisers to see these homes they way they actually area; and therefore, they aren't giving the newer, more updated home the values they deserve.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 1, 2012
I tend to agree that some look fake. There are a lot of agents using different companies to take photos and each has their own style. Many look like sketched renditions of rooms or painting of the room once the photographer is done with the photo. I had an out of town client say that he had been disregarding the listings with those photos because he thought they were fake photos just being used to fill the ad or visual tour. I had to explain that they were just photoshopped but it make me think that i's pretty risky to 'tweak' photos so much that consumers think they are fake.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 1, 2012
If anything, I believe the use of pro photographers gives a more realist view. By optimizing the light in a shot, the photograph shows more of what the eye sees when standing in the room. Some agents, like my friend Jim (below) are well-trained and experienced professional photographers, most however, are inexperienced and try to overcome their shortcomings through heavy-handed use of editing tools giving a very artificial look.
Web Reference: http://homesbycharlotte.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 17, 2012
I haven't seen that in my market place yet...What do your clients/other agents think about this?

Irina Karan
CDPE – Certified Distressed Property Expert
IrinaKaran@gmail.com
Beachfront Realty, Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 16, 2012
Some Realtors are starting to use virtual staging. Many homes on the market are vacant. Rather than renting furniture, which is expensive, Realtors are hiring virtual stagers to create the look of fully furnished rooms for the pictures that appear in the listing. Some Realtors may also use virtual staging for homes that do not have current furnishings, by photoshoping out the existing furnishings and inserting the newer furnishings.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 16, 2012
We can all agree that wide angle helps to get a authentic view of any room, regardless if it is big or small. Pictures done that way don't "cut" a portion that you are viewing, or, at least, not as much. How we get there - is a personal choice. We can also agree that visuals present the property the best way...As long as the colors are not "fake"...and it's not too dark (so you know what's where.

Irina Karan
CDPE – Certified Distressed Property Expert
IrinaKaran@gmail.com
Beachfront Realty, Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 16, 2012
Thanks, Jim!

See, real craftspeople use the right tools for the job, amateurs use whatever tool is the most fun!

I'm not a big fan of wide-angle either, Bob; I'd rather get two walls in the picture that represent the property well then capture an academic example of perspective and vanishing points!

The best photographer to use, in my view, is one that helps you find the right buyer for the property. If you have small rooms - market to people who don't need big rooms!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 16, 2012
To get photos that show the entire room, we or the pro photographer have to use a wide-angle lens - extreme wide angle in some cases, like a 24 mm or 18 mm lens. (By way of comparison, a 50 mm lens sees what your eye sees.) The wide-angle view distorts the room and makes it look larger than it is. So be prepared when you go to visit homes that the rooms will seem smaller than you expected!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 16, 2012
Look up HDR. I am not a fan.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 14, 2012
What a compliment!! The photos were actually taken by me, a simple Realtor, with a low-grade camera.....Thank You !!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 14, 2012
I wasn't aware the question was about a specific property. Thought it was a general question.
Flag Sun Apr 15, 2012
There could be several reasons - sometimes "renderings" look like photos, but they are not, this is true for pre-construction. Or, the "fish bowl" effect - an attempt to get a wider angle without investing into a good wide angle camera, distorts the pictures. Yes, some dark rooms get "lit up" because otherwise it's hard to see anything. Or, "artistic" flair is brought on by professional, but not real estate experienced photographers. That's when "fake" colors kick in.

I am all for the best presentation we can give to our listings.
A good camera will provide the wide angle without "fish bowl" effect.
Additional lighting will help to lighten up dark areas, without "fake" effects.

What I don't like is the misleading part - like making a view appear to be closer than it really is (like the ocean is right there - only to find out you have to stick your head out the window to even see it).

Irina Karan
CDPE - Certified Distressed Property Expert
IrinaKaran@gmail.com
Beachfront Realty, Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 13, 2012
There is a lighting adjustment in Adobe PHOTOSHOP that brightens the shadow area in a digital photo. It compensates for not having enough good lighting everywhere. The automatic "one Button" version of this adjustment brightens the photo especially the darker areas, but gives an overall "plastic" or "artificial" look to the colors in the picture. Some professional photographers who shoot real estate photos for Realtors use it as a quick and dirty means of enhancing the lighting in their photos.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 13, 2012
I guess all photos are artificial since they are not actual views with you being there looking at them with your own eyes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 13, 2012
Well yes, that's true. But many other home pictures do NOT look so artificial/cartoonish. Some of the ones I see look like they have been retouched in some way, they don't look authentic. E.G. compare: http://www.trulia.com/property/photos/3078911074-107-Boulder-Way-Williamsburg-VA-23185#item-12 with http://www.trulia.com/property/photos/3080229369-204-Bruton-Dr-Williamsburg-VA-23185#item-1
Flag Fri Apr 13, 2012
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