The Big Fix in Real Estate Photography

Services for Real Estate Pros with Texas

As a photographer for JPC Virtual Tours in Boerne, Texas, I don't always have the best conditions to workwith. This means we sometimes have to make some corrections to the photos before we create a slide show or virtual tour. I am always looking for ways to enhance or tweak my pictures to make the colors pop, or remove a blemish. In my search for perfection, I have found that there are many different techniques and programs on the market that can perform these tasks, everyone has their favorite. Having the right tool can make all the difference in world. Many of these programs are expensive or have a long learning curve. Adobe Photoshop is touted as being the premier program for photo manipulation and creation. It is also very expensive. Of course there are others but the one I think comes closest to Photoshop is a free open source program called "The Gimp." You can down load the program at It is so similar to Photoshop you can use Photoshop brushes to use with Gimp. Now that you have the program you have to learn how to use it. There is a users manual at (, and there are tutorials at, or you can do an internet search for Gimp tutorials. Next thing to consider is what needs to be fixed. Usually just some minor adjustment of the contrast or brightness is all that is necessary. But sometimes, the picture just doesn’t seem right. A technique that I have found interesting is called High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI or just HDR). HDR is actually a set of techniques that allows a greater dynamic range of luminance between light and dark areas of a scene than normal digital imaging techniques. There are several programs that were created just for HDR photo manipulation. These programs all require you to take several shots using different setting on your camera then combining them to get the HDR effect. I found a Gimp tutorial that shows you how to create a fake HDR effect with just one photo. ( I'll just insert a couple of before and after pictures.

These are from the tutorial:



These are from my archives:



You can really see the difference.

If all this seems a little daunting, you could just call me it’s what I do for a living.

Comments (9)

Ginger S
Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC - Wilmington, NC
Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~

Hi Lon, This is fascinating! I am going to check it out for sure! I have Photoshop, but have not mastered it, to say the least!

Welcome to AR, nice to meet you, Ginger

Feb 28, 2009 07:02 AM
Heather the Realtor Orlando, Lake Mary
LemonTree Realty - Orlando, FL
First Time Home Buyers, Bank Owned Homes

wow that is a big difference and all from a free site. I like that. I m not a master of photoshop either and maybe gimp is what I need even though I have to laugh at the name.

Feb 28, 2009 07:24 AM
Lon Jett
Texas - Boerne, TX
JPC Virtual Tours

Thanks, I practice by doing the tutorials.

Feb 28, 2009 07:50 AM
Kimo Stowell
HI Pro Realty LLC RB-21531 - Honolulu, HI
REALTOR Associate® RS-76763 - Honolulu Hawai'i

Aloha Lon,

Very interesting info, thank you for posting. The tree is quite remarkable.


Feb 28, 2009 08:10 AM
Connie Goodrich
Keller Williams Realty - McKinney, TX
CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas

Thanks for the insights and the photography does look so much more appealing.  Proper photos are a must for our visual gateway for buyers first impression of our listings.  Great tips!

Feb 28, 2009 08:11 AM
Brett Weaver
SpotLight Virtual Tours - Florence, AL

Lon, Great job with the HDR.  I didn't know GIMP was that advanced.  Good to know.  Photomatix is a commercial program that is great for HDR as well.  I got a discount because my wife is an educator (<$50).

Mar 01, 2009 05:59 AM
Lon Jett
Texas - Boerne, TX
JPC Virtual Tours

Thanks for the all the positive comments. I am a photoshop junkie, I was able to purchase CS2 at a discount because I work at UTSA. Even then it was $300.00. I prefer $ and there are many add-ons.


Mar 01, 2009 06:44 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker


Thanks for this information.   Free is good so I will have to check this one out.

Mar 11, 2009 08:52 PM
Avril Anjers
Guffey, CO
Vortex Media Productions

Thanks for this information. I will be checking this out. I'm always looking for ways to improve my tours.

Apr 06, 2009 02:56 PM