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What Is a Composite Photo?

Published: 27/08/2021

What is a composite photo? This is a common question among photographers looking for more ways to portray a home in a creative yet realistic way. We're explaining the benefits of using a composite image in real estate photography, as well as shooting and editing tips.

What Is a Composite Photo?

A composite photo is an enhanced yet convincing image consisting of two or more different images. During post-processing, you can combine layers to integrate several visual elements in a unified image

Although it may sound simple, creating a composite photo involves a complex process. Learning how to do it would enable you to understand more why composite images are essential in real estate marketing.

Living room with high ceiling

Importance of Composite Photos in Real Estate

A composite image is a constructed photo composed of two or more various pictures. This is a valuable technique in real estate photography because it allows you to depict different elements as part of a single scene.

This often happens in scenes with unlikely combinations, and sometimes, even impossible to shoot in a single frame. For instance, there's a darker shot of the property and a lighter shot of the exteriors for you to mix the details with varying highlights and shadows.

Another example would be when clients request to put models in the scene as if they are walking on the property. Sometimes, putting actual models in the shot would make it difficult to retain exposure. The best solution is to include the models as composite elements in the main image.

How to Take Composite Real Estate Images

About 31.5% of agents and brokers plan to spend more than $400 on real estate marketing efforts monthly. Part of that would be for professionally edited real estate photos.

Compositing real estate images can be easier if you have all the crucial details. Likewise, this saves you time in editing as you can quickly establish the scene. 

  • Prepare a shot list: Communicate with the agent or seller about the elements you must include. For instance, do you need that light falloff from a different photo and the spacious interior from another one? By preparing a shot list, you only need to take photos with the necessary scenes, angles, and elements.
  • Ensure proper lighting: Take pictures of a room or space in the same style or type of lighting. It would be challenging to integrate a well-lit interior with a poorly-lit image of models.
  • Use a green screen: Use a green screen or a high-contrast background for elements you can't include in the shot right away. In this way, it will be easier for you to cut out parts and integrate them into the main image.

Tips on Editing Composite Real Estate Photos

Professional real estate images help sell properties 39% closer to their original prices. One of the ways for you to produce quality listing images is by knowing the best way to edit composite photos. 

When compositing real estate pictures, you need to use a photo-editing program such as Photoshop or Corel. It's best to shoot RAW photos, so you'll have more control when editing. 

Mac computer with editing software to create composite photos

The complexity may depend on the client's requirements, although you can seamlessly edit composites when you know the correct steps.

Related Questions

Is Composite the Same as Montage?

No, composite is different from a montage. A composite image combines several elements to create a cohesive theme or intent. On the other hand, a montage puts together multiple photos, each with its particular meaning, purpose, or story.

Why Do Real Estate Photographers Take Bracketed Photos?

Photographers shoot bracketed pictures because it provides different exposure settings of a single scene. In effect, you can edit a High Dynamic Range (HDR) photo to show an evenly exposed subject.

What's the Difference Between Bracketed and Composite Photos?

Unlike bracketed images that use variable exposures, composite photos must have consistent lighting and exposure. In this way, you can easily integrate the elements, and you won't have to alter their exposures individually.


Despite preparing the necessary equipment, composition, and lighting, there would be times when you can't fully capture what you envision in mind. With a composite photo, you have more power to achieve creative yet saleable real estate images.