Why Real-Estate Shots Always Look So Different From The Actual Homes
By Mikelle Leow, 14 Sep 2022
“That’s a really nice house,” you say as you click through a gallery of photos. “I can see myself living there.” Little do you know that this homey abode is, well… homely.
As with fast-food meals that never look like their pictures, real-estate photos, too, can often be deceiving. It turns out that photographers have a number of go-to tricks to digitally clean up houses, creating visuals of places that are much more spacious and well-maintained than in reality.
One of the most common techniques, as you may have guessed, is to use a wider lens, which can greatly manipulate the perceived depth of a space. A new video produced by the Guardian Australia (via PetaPixel) brings this trick to light, along with several others.
Guardian Australia picture editor Carly Earl visited a property in Sydney and captured some photos of the area, then compared them with a set of images shot and edited by a hired anonymous photographer who takes real-estate shots for a living.
With the photographs side by side, it was apparent that the lighting and saturation had been dramatically enhanced in the promotional imagery. Immediately, the environment looked sunnier and the trees looked greener. It’s the oldest retouching trick in the book and something that’s done across industries, so this one’s not so surprising.
More astounding was the digital addition of a fake fire to a fireplace and a neat patch of grass on top of mud to make the venue look more welcoming.
You see, realtors aren’t selling you a house you can flip. They’re selling a dream.
According to the Guardian, in Australia, manipulating product images beyond reasonable belief violates Australian Consumer Law and can result in a penalty of up to AU$1.1 million (US$740,000). However, staging a fire where there’s none isn’t illegal, as long as the fireplace works and can produce a real one.
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