How can you photoshop perfection in an oceanfront listing?

Real Estate Broker/Owner CA#01772851 HI#RB21268

Photoshopping listing photos is tricky in the real estate profession because you don't want to portray the home you are selling as something it is not.

It's all about the original photos you take, as for example:

1. Take MOOD shots rather than sterile looking ones. Wait for the right lighting.

2. If you are ON THE OCEAN, show the ocean. And that means on every shot possible.

3. If there are features that you would rather not show in a photo, well, don't include them. Certainly don't photoshop them out.

4. Don't make the photos look so good that, when a prospective buyer comes to see it, they are disappointed.

5. Don't make the property and its insides look HUGE when it's not. You know those shots.


Tweak the colors.

But be subtle!!!!

You don't want to make the listing look cartoonish.


Here are a couple of photos we shot at my most recent oceanfront listing on the Monterey Peninsula, before and after:

58 Avocet Circle, Watsonville, CA 95076 - at Pajaro Dunes - #ML81653290


See bigger versions of these and other photos on this website:

58 Avocet Circle, Watsonville, CA 95076 58 Avocet Circle, Watsonville CA 95076

58 Avocet Circle, Watsonville, CA 9507658 Avocet Circle, Watsonville, CA 95076

This is my entry into the Activerain May "photoshop" contest.

Posted by

Hella Rothwell at Carmel Beach during Concours WeekCarmel-by-the-Sea Beach and Pebble Beach Golf Course California

Whether buying or selling oceanfront, oceanview, commercial or any type of real estate in Carmel, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, Monterey, Carmel Valley and Big Sur, I can help you. Call me and let's meet in my Carmel-by-the-Sea office in Su Vecino Court on Dolores between 5th & 6th.

Or we can just chat on the phone to discuss your real estate needs.

Are you out of the area? No problem, I often never even meet my clients. The whole transaction is handled long distance.

As an independent real estate broker licensed in California and Hawaii, I can represent you with residential real estate, commercial properties & investment opportunities.

For more information &


Member: National Association of REALTORS, California Association of REALTORS, Hawaii Association of REALTORS, Del Norte Association of REALTORS, Honolulu Board of REALTORS. Also MLS Listings in California.


Hella Mitschke Rothwell (R)

Real Estate Broker/Owner/Realtor®
Licensed in California #01772851 & Hawaii #RB-21268

Tel. 831-626-4000 

Fax 1-877-822-9332

ROTHWELL REALTY INC.: Su Vecino Court, Lincoln & Dolores between 5th & 6th, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921


MAILING: P.O. Box 4554, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921


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Disclaimer: Hella Rothwell does not guarantee nor is in any way responsible for the accuracy of the information provided herein, and provides said information without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied.


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Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good Morning Hella - the pictures on the right are improved with more color definition.  Great job.

May 28, 2017 09:04 AM #1
Harry F. D'Elia
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

Thanks for sharing your photo secrets with us today

May 28, 2017 09:10 AM #2
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Hi Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® no matter what shot you take of your marketplace, those shorelines can't be trumped by any other area in the country, in my opinion....

May 28, 2017 09:53 AM #3
Christine Kankowski North SD and Temecula
House Match Inc - Poway, CA
Excellent Sales and Property Management

Love the color in the after picture.  Ahh I want to visit.

May 28, 2017 10:18 AM #4
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

We were talking to someone yesterday whose daughter is in foreign language school in the area; I told her I thought Monterey (and the surrounding areas) were some of the most beautiful places in the world. 

May 28, 2017 10:23 AM #5
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

I LOVE your first photo.  You did just the right amount of saturation enhancement.

May 28, 2017 10:48 AM #6
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

The diffferences were so subtle I had a hard time seeing the difference.

May 28, 2017 11:24 AM #7
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good afternoon Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® ,

I could definitely see the difference between your before and after especially the first one! Such vibrancy and brilliance in the color of the fence, the beach, the water..perfect!

May 28, 2017 02:00 PM #8
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

A little trick I use in Photoshop that might help you, Hella, is to adjust the shadows by 25%. Sometimes you don't have to tinker with the levels at all when you adjust the shadows. It's "enhance" "lighting" and "shadows".

The photo of the shoreline is immensely improved by your Photoshop tweaks. How gorgeous is that!!

May 28, 2017 06:10 PM #9
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

A photo looks better if there is more reddish and better contrast.

Nice job.

Sam Shueh

May 29, 2017 07:32 AM #10
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Hella - Nice work and significant improvement on both of those sets of photos. Thanks for your entry!

May 30, 2017 08:42 AM #11
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

I see the difference in the sky in the first set of photos. It's a little bluer, and after further review, the second set of pics was simply lightened. Am I right?

Jun 02, 2017 08:09 AM #12
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Excellent job!  I sometimes increase the saturation of the color also.

Jun 06, 2017 06:24 PM #13
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Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®

Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea
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