9 Ways Real Estate Agents Legally Bend The Law When Photoshopping

Spokes­man Robert Larocca from The Real Estate Insti­tute said, “Most agents com­plied with Stock and Busi­ness Agents Act.

Agents were not sup­posed to add or sub­tract things from a prop­erty, but could play with light and lens angles to make it look more attract­ive,” Robert said.

You can put a nice blue sky behind the prop­erty because you are not selling a per­man­ent blue sky, I think that’s understood.”

1. Vir­tual Furniture

So now you’re prob­ably think­ing, “What about pho­toshopped fur­niture or what we call vir­tual furniture”.

Well accord­ing to Lisa Dar­ven­iza from virtualfurniture.com.au, “empty homes tend to look smal­ler than when they are fur­nished and Vir­tual Fur­niture gives an impres­sion of what a home will look like when it is fur­nished which makes it more attract­ive to buyers”.

Lisa also told me, “We are strin­gent with our per­spect­ives and only ever give a truly accur­ate reflec­tion of scale. Most of our images are cre­ated using actual pho­to­graphs of fur­niture from our extens­ive photo lib­rary, rather than com­puter gen­er­ated fur­niture. The dif­fer­ence is obvious!”

So in say­ing all of that, because we are not selling per­man­ent fur­niture, it is 100% legal!

After Photoshopped furniture virtualfurniture.com.au

After  virtualfurniture.com.au

Before Photoshopped furniture  virtualfurniture.com.au

Before virtualfurniture.com.au

2. HDR Photography

High-dynamic-range ima­ging (HDRI or HDR) is a strategy employed in pho­to­graphy to cap­ture a lar­ger range between the light­est and darkest areas of a house than cur­rent nor­mal digital ima­ging. HDR pic­tures will show more accur­ately the range of light levels found in your prop­erty, from dir­ect day­light to faint star­light, and is com­monly cap­tured by way of dif­fer­ently exposed pho­tos of the same property.

Basic­ally we take 5 images using a Nikon D5100 DSLR of a home like this;

Then we merge all 5 pho­tos together using soft­ware and bring out the best parts of all 5 photos.

This fin­ished res­ult ends up some­thing like this.

Finnish photo of a seven hills property after the High-dynamic-range imaging and photoshopping taken by Nikon D5100 DSL

Prop­erty after the High-dynamic-range ima­ging and photoshopping

For a great art­icle that I found about HDR Vs. Flash For Interi­ors And Real Estate Pho­to­graphy click here.

The pho­tos do not mis­rep­res­ent the prop­erty as the aspect ratios are maintained.

3. HDR Pan­or­amic Expos­ure Blend­ing and 360* tour photos

360* tour photos

panorama photo taken by a real estate agent

HDR Pan­or­amic Expos­ure Blending

Real Estate Agent doing a HDR Panoramic Exposure Blending to a property

For a great art­icle on how to do pan­or­amic pho­to­graphy, click here:

4. Wide angle lens

Well you can do this eas­ily your­self but it will set you back $2,000 — $2,500 for a lens. That will give your prop­erty justice, not to men­tion the cost of a DSLR camera.

real estate agent photo shot taken by panasonic wide angle lens room 1

Nor­mal wide angle lens

real estate agent photo shot taken by 18mm wide angle lens of room 2

18mm wide angle lens

real estate agent photo shot taken by 10mm wide angle lens room 3

10mm wide angle lens

5. We don’t use Pho­toshop we use Light Room

One of our biggest secrets is that we actu­ally don’t use Photoshop!

In fact, we use Light Room (this is a sub­set of Pho­toshop) which we have found is best for man­aging all the pho­tos we take. After cre­at­ing and mer­ging the HDR pho­tos, we have found Light Room is best at util­ising all the light in the image layers.

Here is an example of what light room does. Keep in mind we went over­board on this one to show you the look it pro­duces. It can make a house look like a car­toon if you’re not careful.


Real estate agent taking Photoshop light room and HDR too far

Example of a real estate agent tak­ing Pho­toshop light room and HDR too far

6. Shoot­ing dif­fer­ent angles at dif­fer­ent times to avoid mak­ing houses look too small.

  • We find out the best hours for the light to fall on the exter­ior of the home that will make the photo come out nicer than normal.
  • We often shoot angels so you can’t see the power lines etc or if we can’t avoid the undesir­able future we will shoot at dusk E.g. where you can hardly see the black power lines. This is 100% legal to do.
  • Remov­ing clut­ter is an old trick that will make any room look bigger.

a bad real estate agent removing clutter for bath room photo

  • We also don’t shoot at eye level because you nat­ur­ally point the cam­era down and it makes the room look smal­ler. The ideal height for the tri­pod is around your chest height
  • We have found angles (mainly from corners) in rooms gives the impres­sion of more space. You can make an extremely small room look so much big­ger by just pos­i­tion­ing the camera.
  • A good one is to take the inside pho­tos at twi­light, when the light bet­ter matches the interior levels com­ing through win­dows — Works a treat.
  • We use partly cloudy days to our advant­age because it lowers the con­trast and makes the pho­tos pop out.
  • And my favour­ite is tak­ing out­side shots from the top of my car or a lad­der. It makes the block size look big­ger, but it can wreck your car roof.

7. Zoom­ing in on views mak­ing it look closer

We find zoom­ing in on views in the city or parks works well at mak­ing it look closer, but we do label it on the pic­ture that it is e.g. X3 Zoom but we do this in small print that people glaze over and don’t notice.

8. Elev­ated images/Aerial Photography

A cam­era on a pole makes the block look humong­ous. This is called “Aer­ial Pho­to­graphy” or Elev­ated Image. The elev­ated cam­era gives a much more unique per­spect­ive of a prop­erty and sets it apart from other agents bor­ing photography.

A camera on a Pole makes Aerial Photography - Elevated image by elders real estate seven hills

A cam­era on a Pole makes Aer­ial Pho­to­graphy look good

9. Dis­clos­ure, dis­clos­ure, and more disclosure

I left the best trick till last and that is dis­clos­ure. Agents have a legal require­ment to dis­close inform­a­tion to buy­ers, and we have no prob­lem in doing this. What this allows us to do is make slight pre­sumptive changes to the advert­ising as long as we dis­close these changes.

E.g. We can add a nice pic­ture of a park 2km down the street and dis­close this as a “loc­a­tion shot”. Good agents know this works as sub­lim­inal advert­ising even though it is dis­closed. Buy­ers may pre­sume you can see this park from the house, but when they get to the open home they may say to them­selves, “I thought there was a nice park here?” This works par­tic­u­larly well on a house that doesn’t have many good features.

There are many other strategies we can imple­ment to get buy­ers to your open home. If you’re think­ing of selling or strug­gling to sell your prop­erty, feel free to call one of our exper­i­enced agents on (02) 9896 2333.


Jhai is an award win­ning Inter­net Mar­ket­ing Real Estate Agent for Eld­ers Toongab­bie and Kings Langley. After run­ning his own inter­net mar­ket­ing busi­ness he has now set his own sites for the real estate industry. He observed that 90% of real estate agents did not know how to mar­ket them­selves online. Jhai is now fixed on one goal. To teach real estate agents that they can mar­ket online so much bet­ter than they cur­rently are.

Since then he has been con­sist­ently quoted in the Sydney Morn­ing Her­ald and Real Estate Busi­ness online. He is a reg­u­lar guest blog­ger on TheHomePage.com.au, shar­ing his expert­ise of mar­ket­ing aspects for the Real Estate Industry. His biggest pas­sions are his wife, mar­tial arts, dogs and most of all property.

seven hills real estate agent NSW
Cnr Federal Road Prospect Highway Seven Hills NSW 2147 Australia