Strategies to Stay Within the Law When Editing Digital Photos

August 13th, 2007

I hesitate to do another post on photo editing ethics again since we have pretty much beat this subject to death in the recent past. However, the Real Estate Trends + Technology Magazine of the California Association of Realtors have a pretty definitive article by John Edwards, titled Have you crossed the line?

I think this is a great summary of the issues on this subject. And I feel like it pretty much summarizes the conclusions that we collectively came to on the ethics of real estate photo modification.

I think the statement in the article by Teresa Hoffman, president of the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials, a Montgomery, Ala.-based organization that represents governmental agencies and other organizations that issue real estate licenses, regulate real estate practice and enforce real estate law gets at the essence of the issue. She says:

“Remember, if a consumer claims they relied on a representation as real and true, and it turns out to be an enhancement and false, the licensee will have to defend the action. Why would anyone wish to incur this risk?”

That is the Realtor is the one that is at risk of having to legally defending themselves from a potential law suit and if they are smart they will error on the side of caution.

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3 Responses to “Strategies to Stay Within the Law When Editing Digital Photos”

  • This is a good article.

    I have run into agents that have no reservations asking to have the yard cleaned, or show a view that could only be seen from the roof, or other crazy requests. There was one that had listed a house in a prominent Bay Area beach community and wanted a copy of the beach shown with the house. However that view could not be seen from the house and in reality was more than a half mile away!

  • I think you’re confusing the issues slightly. When a buyer buys a house and is told “The Oil Tank is the backyard was removed ten years ago”, and in fact it was just filled with sand by someones uncle, that sort of thing is what the Association is talking about.

    Photography is a little different in that a buyer can look at the photos and then go actually look at what the photos are of. It can be a fine line at times, but ultimately the ethics issue kicks in after the sales issue does for photos.

    I think once you start taking shots better than the naked eye can see, or shooting things that purposely decive the buyer, you just start pissing them off because its obvious you’re trying to fool them.

    And pissed off buyers don’t buy the house.

    If you’re shooting a $300,000 home with more special effects, lighting and editing than a Hollywood movie…

  • I second motion # 2

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