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Take advantage of these remarkable retouching techniques

It is the property images that will grab buyers and can make or break your campaign. Don’t miss out on valuable leads with these expert photo retouching tips.

Retouching for elite real estate marketing requires a keen eye and well-developed Photoshop skills. Campaigntrack’s Tom Gregory leads a team of more than 40 retouchers who elevate many of the top agency’s property photography to the high standards they expect.

Overseeing the retouching of thousands of real estate photos each year, Tom understands the unique requirements real estate marketing demands. Each brand has a different set of guidelines and each advertising medium (print and online) different specifications.

“Retouching a photo generally takes 30 minutes, depending on the size of the home and the weather conditions in the picture,” Tom explains. “Our team members have a background in arts or graphic design and they undergo one month of specialist training before they start working on basic photos. From there they work their way up to deal with our most prestigious clients.”

Tom explains what is and isn’t possible with photo retouching and outlines the latest techniques you should know about.

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A picturesque evening brought to life with the help of retouching.

Subtle enhancements can make a very big difference to the impact of a photo.

Subtle enhancements can make a very big difference to the impact of a photo.

1. What retouching can do

When a set of exposures comes through to Campaigntrack’s retouching team, they receive a set of instructions from the agent which outlines how they would like each image brought to life.

“Generally we work to make indoor rooms appear evenly lit with clear detail. We’ll add a blue sky to give the photograph an instant lift and will remove distracting shadows or glare from outdoor pictures,” Tom says.

Retouching perfects tricky indoor lighting.

Retouching can perfect challenging indoor lighting.

Retouching perfects tricky indoor lighting.

Prior to retouching shadows and glare overtake the home’s interior.

Retouchers can remove small objects like family photos to help make a room appear less cluttered and fill in patchy grass. If there is a television in the shot, they will add an image that complements the surrounds of the house or the interior decor. Swimming pools can be topped up with water and made to look clean and inviting.

A clear blue sky and clean pool makes a better first impression.

A clear blue sky and pristine pool make a great first impression.

A clear blue sky and clean pool makes a better first impression.

Dull weather doesn’t do this lovely garden and pool area justice.

2. Government rules and regulations

While some agents prefer their property campaigns to look as natural as possible, others request extensive image changes. Campaigntrack will accommodate most requests as long as they are in keeping with government guidelines.

Fair Trading laws in Australia stipulate it is against regulations to misrepresent a property.

“We are not allowed to remove fixtures such as power points or gas outlets unless we have in writing that they will be removed as part of upgrades to the house,” Tom says. “As part of the rules, our retouchers can’t take out objects such as telegraph poles, even if they obstruct the photo. We also can’t add grass if there is none in the garden as this is misleading.”

Enhancing grass is allowed but not adding it in where there is none

Legally, enhancing grass is allowed but adding grass where there is none is not.

Enhancing grass is allowed but not adding it in where there is none

Overall this shot has been sharpened and enriched with colour.

The agent provides final sign-off on retouched photos. It is important for all agents to be aware of these government regulations as they may need to communicate the laws to any vendor who has unrealistic expectations about marketing the property.

3. How to set up for a photo shoot correctly

While retouchers are highly skilled, Tom points out there are limits to the miracles they can work.

“Dirt and grime are hard to remove from photos,” he explains, “we recommend that you vacuum inside and sweep outside as much as possible – that way floors and tiles look well presented. It’s a good idea to clean windows so there are no messy smudges.”

A twilight vista becomes irresistible with the help of retouching.

Ensuring a home is clean prior to shooting will save on retouching costs.

A twilight vista becomes irresistible with the help of retouching.

Removing unwanted clutter and grime from surfaces and windows improves results.

To get exterior walls and fencing looking like new, give them a quick wash with a high-powered hose before the photographer arrives. And don’t forget to remove clothes and clutter to save on retouching requirements.

4. The benefits of retouching

Your listings need to stand out from the crowd and incorporating stunning photos will attract buyers. A professionally retouched photo will present the home in its best light, encouraging more people to attend the open house, driving up competition for the property.

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Shot at dusk this picturesque setting is brought to life with a tranquil skyline.

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Leaving an overcast sky makes the image appear dull.

Nowadays vendors expect a great deal from property photography as they need to ensure their primary asset is showcased perfectly. And it is not just your current clients you should consider, listings act like an unofficial portfolio which potential vendors review before engaging your services.

Why not benefit from the expertise of retouchers who specialise in real estate marketing? Speak to Campaigntrack today about providing your clients with the highest quality retouching on the market.

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Jacqui Thompson

Jacqui has over 13 years of experience as an editor, content producer and writer for digital and print media. Specialising in real estate, marketing and lifestyle content, Jacqui is Campaigntrack's Content Marketing Editor.