Bob in Michigan asks:
How much to remove from photos? Flying my drone for real estate photos, I've followed the philosophy of removing or cleaning up anything that could be done with a broom, a hose or picked-up (dirt on a driveway, yard signs, cars and trash cans). Yesterday I was asked to remove overhead wires.
Should I remove wires (and their shadows), green phone boxes (at the corners of the lot), moss on a roof or repair a patch of bad lawn grass?
As another example, if you're told that the homeowner will be removing their swimming pool in two weeks but they need the photos today, should you cover the pool with green grass today?
What are the legal and ethical guidelines that should be followed?
Last week Dave, in Western Australia sent me some recent links to news articles relating to real estate photography ethics. One from the Chicago Tribune talking about the general concern of digital photo modification as it relates to real estate photography and another specific case that occurred in New Zealand where an agent was busted because he photoshopped some mold out of a photo.
Over the years we've had a lot of heated discussions here about ethics of image modification in the context of real estate photography. I think the subject is important enough that I have a separate page dedicated to summarizing the consensus that has evolved out of these discussions over the years.
Here is a general outline of that consensus:
In summary the photographer is working for the listing agent, not the potential buyer and representation of the property is the listing agent's legal responsibility, not the photographers. However, prudence suggests that if the photographer is asked to modify photographs they believe materially misrepresents the property, they should document in writing the fact they are modifying the photograph at the agents request.