The One Thing Real Estate Photographers Always Edit Out of Listing Photos

published Sep 3, 2021
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Real estate listing photos can make or break a first impression for homebuyers. While home staging is one way to woo them, it’s not always necessary in creating a great gallery. In fact, sometimes less is more when it comes to capturing a space looking its best. Just like the fashion adage says, leaving one thing out might do the trick.

Even in the digital age where so many devices are wireless, there are still many other appliances that require an electrical cord. And since no one in the history of ever has said, “What a beautiful cord!” when looking at a real estate listing, some discerning agents will ask to have them Photoshopped out of view.

Robert Moreno, a Boston-based real estate photographer, is often asked to remove the cords from table lamps, desktop computers, wall-mounted TVs, landlines, and other devices to create a fuss-free image. Photo editing software aside, If you can’t coil up cords or hide them neatly behind furniture or under area rugs, unplug and remove them from the photo.

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It’s a small detail for sure, but it’s one that creates a clean and appealing aesthetic. Of course, no one is fooled into thinking that the Peloton in the corner of the home gym is miraculously wireless. And that’s exactly why Moreno doesn’t mind the odd request to remove cords — it’s not messing with the ethics of selling a home.

Staging a home is putting the existing space in its best light. Touching up photos is one thing, but doctoring photos for the sake of deception is another thing entirely. 

Case in point: Moreno was once asked to erase a dumpster that was parked in the driveway while the owners were moving out. A dumpster isn’t the easiest thing to get out of view IRL, but then again, it’s not meant to stay on a residential property forever. He agreed to the request because the dumpster was going to get removed eventually.

Still, there have been times when Moreno has declined a Photoshop request not because of the additional workload, but because doing so would be a misrepresentation of the property.

“Here in Boston, we still have huge amounts of wooden telephone poles that carry wires, and sometimes these telephone poles and wires will be right smack dab in the middle of the camera frame,” Moreno says. “[It’s] killing the view of an otherwise very lovely house with wonderful curb appeal.” 

While Moreno understands an agent’s inclination to want a telephone pole removed from a photo, his response to this request is simply, “no.” Unlike a dumpster, a telephone pole is permanent until the utility company says otherwise. Like it or lump it, the homeowner has no choice in it being there, so they might as well see it first in the listing photos.

To be fair, no one is going to pass on a house just because they see a cord in a photo, nor will they start a bidding war if they don’t spot one. This pro tip is more about upholding the principles of good photography. In a time when people start their home searches online, looks are everything.