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!
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.
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
HDR Panoramic Exposure Blending
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
About Jhai Mitchell
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.