Take your Real Estate Photos up a Notch with Post-Processing and Image Editing

Home Stager with GreenApple Staging & Images, Calgary Staging & Photography

Take your Real Estate Photos up a Notch with Post-Processing and Image Editing

What is post-processing, many people wonder. If your camera is good enough, do you really need to do this?

Absolutely! As a home stager and interior photographer, I pay attention to a lot details and light the rooms with several flashes at a time, which takes me about 1.5 hours on site for the typical Calgary, AB home

But then I'm in it for at least that long afterwards on my computer!

These are the typical things I adjust and/or correct on many of the photos I take:

  • White Balance - no camera gets this right all of the time. And I ensure that the white balance is consistent throughout a property so that the same paint color looks the same in every shot. It really helps a viewer know they are looking at the same area from a different perspective.
  • Straightening - I started out using a tripod, but the reality is that I just can't squeeze myself with a tripod into many of the corners I like to shoot from. I have a really good eye, but it's impossible to not tilt at least a few times during a shoot . . . and that just has to be corrected!
  • Lighting - Sometimes I lift the shadows a little, sometimes I pull down the highlights to get better definition around windows . . . the purpose being to ensure that details are visible and clear.
  • Saturation - I go a little overboard here, especially on the exterior photos, but I find that the MLS site really depletes an image of so much color! This is a necessity to stand out from the others.
  • Sharpening - again, the algorithms on most MLS sites horribly compress the photos and no matter how hard you worked making them look awesome on your computer, they'll look like crap once they get uploaded. Again, this is a necessity.
  • Secret Sauce - there a few other parameters I adjust here and there to give the images a look that is unique to me!

Here is an exterior shot of a SW Calgary home, right out of the camera (I took this with my Canon G11 on a pole to get an elevated perspective . . . I don't usually hand hold this crooked!) The sun was really harsh and washed out the color.

 Exterior real estate photo of Calgary Home no processing

And here it is after I've applied my adjustments:

 Exterior real estate photo of Calgary Home with processing


Here is an interior real estate photo of the same SW Calgary Home before processing (staged by home owner):

Interior real estate photo of Calgary Home no processing

And after applying my post-processing magic:

Interior real estate photo of Calgary Home with processing

These extra steps add that little extra punch and polish!

If you're curious, I use Lightroom, PTLens, and Photoshop when I have to clone something more than just a spot. Lightroom (a Photoshop product) is my main program for organizing, developing and creating my photo products (prints, web images, slideshows).

Have fun!


Posted by

Deena Cottingham

GreenApple Staging & Images
Serving Calgary and Okotoks, Alberta

©GreenApple Staging & Images, 2010
All information is copyrighted and may not be used, borrowed or copied without written permission.


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Gita Bantwal 05/07/2011 11:43 PM
  2. John Handschuh 06/19/2011 02:56 PM
ActiveRain Community
Alberta Calgary Region Calgary
Tips and Techniques for Better Real Estate Photography
Tech for Stagers
photo correction
pole aerial photography
elevated photos
better photography
calgary real estate photography

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Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Deena, I love your posts on photography. Your photos are so professional - as well they should be. Love the exterior shot especially.

Mar 19, 2010 04:33 PM #17
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Congratulations Deens on receiving our group's Award of Merit. A wonderful presentation of Post Processing. Well done!

Mar 20, 2010 03:38 AM #18
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Evening Deena,  You're right on the money.  I recently upgraqded to a Nikon D80 with a wide angle lens and strobe.    The difference is amazing but the PP, even basic stuff, is critical.

Mar 28, 2010 11:40 AM #19
Melanie Hedrick
Elite Texas Properties, the best homes from McKinney to Dallas! - McKinney, TX

It makes a great impact to see the side by side comparison photos.

Mar 31, 2010 01:33 AM #20
Paul Peck
Peck Drywall and Painting serving Brevard County, Florida - Melbourne, FL
Licensed Drywall and Painting Contractor

Deena, Great post and illustrations. Thanks so much.


Apr 08, 2010 12:10 PM #21
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate

I can never figue out out to get the white balance in photo processor, Elements 7.

Jun 15, 2010 02:49 PM #22
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for the post. I will bookmark this and share it with others.It should be featured.

May 07, 2011 11:41 PM #23
Bill & Cyndi Daves
Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! - Hiawassee, GA
TeamDAVES - Your REALTORS In the GA/NC Mountains!

Deana thank you for such a great post.  I am using a good Nikon now, (Coolpix L110) I have put in my order with Santa for a Nikon D5000 for Christmas and I am so excited!!!

May 08, 2011 02:17 AM #24
Susan Goulding
Crown Key Realty, Tracy & Mountain House Real Estate - Tracy, CA
Northern CA - Tracy & Mountain House Real Estate

I love online editing, however, I also think there are so many photos out there that have been edited to be better than they really were.  As one who spends a lot of time, trying to get my photo right without editing, it's disheartening to see so many people edit their photos to perfection.  Does that make sense?

May 08, 2011 07:13 PM #25
1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK


I go through many of the same steps.. lighten the shadows a bit, sometimes darken the highlights a tad and often in the birght sun, they need a little more satuation.   

Thank you for sharing your tips.  Great illustrations.

May 16, 2011 02:14 AM #26
Allen 2222
Austin, TX

Excellent advice. The time taken to make each photo as good as it can be is time well spent.

May 17, 2011 02:42 PM #27
Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Deena - Good tip on the saturation. You're right about the MLS photos not looking like they do on your computer.

May 19, 2011 10:34 AM #28
Elisa Uribe Realtor #01427070
Golden Gate Sotheby's International - Oakland, CA
California Homes for Sale in the East Bay

what a difference between the before and after photos. thank you for the education. best of luck.


May 21, 2011 06:51 PM #29
Joshua Vensel
VENVISIO - Real Estate Photography - Atlanta, GA - Marietta, GA

Solid work Deena.  It's great that you can provide staging and photography for your clients!

May 23, 2011 03:07 AM #30
Allen 2222
Austin, TX

I came back to take another look at your list! So many sites mess with the images when you upload - so your advice is really good to help your images survive the uploading!

May 23, 2011 06:16 PM #31
John Handschuh
RE/MAX Action Realty - Horsham, PA
Realtor ABR SRES, Horsham Real Estate

Deena, Thanks for the wonderful tips and before/after shots. Wow what a difference. I will reblogg this and pass it on, and tune in for more useful tips. Make it a great day !!

Jun 19, 2011 02:54 PM #32
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Thanks so much for sharing your tips.  Some of us do need a lot of help.

 Blooming for you!

Jun 19, 2011 11:55 PM #33
Mark Gridley
eXp Realty, Reinventing the National Real Estate Office! - Fountain Hills, AZ
TecKnow Real Estate Agent, Fountain Hills, AZ

I'm curious if you think the smart fixes in PhotoShop Elements produces desirable results. I've recently acquired elements and am still getting used to it.

Jun 26, 2011 11:33 AM #34
Emelyn Morris-Sayre
The Berkshire Group - Lakewood, CO
CRS, REALTOR, Lakewood/Denver 303-517-5116

I recently attended the Moab Photo Symposeum and so many of the photographers use Lightroom and of course Photoshop. Your post was well done and very helpful.

Jul 08, 2011 08:58 AM #35
Sandra Scott
DPR Realty - Payson, AZ
REALTOR of Choice! Payson, Pine & Strawberry, AZ

Great job, Denna.  What a difference the tweaking makes.  I have Photoshop and work on my photos somewhat.  Nothing like what you have accomplished!  You go girl...

Aug 13, 2011 01:23 PM #36
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Deena Cottingham

Home Stager & Photographer
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