How To Edit Interior Luxury Real Estate Photos, HDR With No Flash, by Alex Serrao

In this informative video, Alex Serrao delves into the intricacies of editing real estate photography, a topic highly requested by his audience. He begins by setting the context for the tutorial, emphasizing its relevance and necessity in the realm of real estate photography. Alex shares his personal experience, noting that while he currently outsources most of his editing work, especially for interiors, due to time constraints and business growth, he still possesses the skills and knowledge to perform the editing himself. This blend of personal insight and professional expertise sets the stage for a detailed and practical tutorial.

Alex’s tutorial focuses on editing real estate interiors using Adobe Lightroom Classic and Photoshop, emphasizing that Lightroom Classic is essential for this specific process due to its capability to export layers into Photoshop. He walks viewers through the initial steps in Lightroom, including making basic corrections and adjustments to exposure, highlights, and shadows. These preliminary steps are crucial in preparing the images for more advanced editing in Photoshop.

Transitioning to Photoshop, Alex demonstrates a more complex editing technique involving layer masks and luminosity masks to achieve a balanced and natural look in the photos. He meticulously explains the process of selecting and adjusting specific areas of the photos, such as windows, to enhance their clarity and brightness. This detailed approach highlights his expertise in photo editing, providing viewers with a comprehensive understanding of the techniques used in professional real estate photography.

Alex concludes the tutorial by bringing the edited photo back into Lightroom for final adjustments. He emphasizes the importance of achieving a natural and realistic look, tweaking highlights and exposure to refine the image. His closing remarks reiterate the tutorial’s practicality and usefulness, especially for those new to real estate photography editing. He encourages viewers to practice these techniques to improve their skills, offering a glimpse of the challenges and rewards of mastering real estate photography editing.


“What is going on, beautiful people? Thank you for stopping by today. My name is Alex, and we talk about real estate photography here, and today is no different. But what is different today is we’re going to be talking about editing photos. This is by far the most requested video topic question that I get, without a doubt. On every single video I post, everybody asks me, ‘Can you do an editing video? Can you do an editing video?’ And this is it, this is the video. So, I just took pictures of a house today, and I thought, ‘Why don’t I just go ahead and do that video today? I have a little bit of time. I had a photo shoot that I was supposed to do this afternoon that pushed till tomorrow.’ So, I was like, ‘What do I do with all this free time?’ So, the answer is an editing video. So, without further ado, let’s go ahead and show you guys the process and how to get those crispy, beautiful windows and bright rooms without a flash. Alright, let’s go.”

“Guys, this is the very long-awaited, much-asked-for tutorial on how to edit real estate interiors. So, I typically don’t normally do this myself anymore, I used to obviously do it when I started, but at this point in my business, I outsource most of my editing, especially the interiors, because they just take so long. So as I’m growing this business and I have several shoots in a day, and I still want to spend some time with my family, you know, you gotta weigh out the pros and cons of what’s most important to you. The fact is that I can have an editor that I pay relatively inexpensively overseas, and you know, built up a relationship with a specific person, and they do amazing for me, no complaints. So, as long as I can do that and have some time and freedom, which is why we’re entrepreneurs to begin with, right? I’m gonna keep doing that. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be able to edit the photos myself. So, I’m gonna show you guys how to edit these photos.”

“This is actually a house that I just shot today. The photos are being edited by my editor, but I decided to take one of them and just show you guys how to do it. So, what we do is I have the three photos here in Lightroom Classic. It’s a very important distinction here that Lightroom Classic is the only way that you can do this. You cannot use it with the new Lightroom CC, unfortunately. I really like Lightroom CC, however, Lightroom Classic is the only one that will allow you to export layers into Photoshop, which is what we need to do. The very first thing is we’re going to click on this one and we are going to scroll down here and just make a couple quick corrections. So, remove chromatic aberration and enable profile corrections. It automatically knows I have a Canon 16 to 35 millimeter lens. And we will do the same thing for here, and we will do the same thing for here. After we do that, we will go back to them and we are going to adjust the exposure and highlights and shadows a little bit. So, this one is nice and bright, just like I want, but we’re actually going to bring that down just a touch so you can see a little bit more of those highlights. And you’ll see right over here, the histogram. We like to pay attention to that because we want to kind of have everything balanced and nothing too high or too low. So, we might even want to bring that down a little bit more. I think that’s probably good. And then this one, pretty good, we’ll bring the shadows up a little bit, and the exposure down a tiny bit. And we’ll bring the highlights down a little bit as well, I think. And then this one, we are going to bring the height, or the shadows up, excuse me, we are going to bring the exposure up, and we are going to drop these highlights down so that we can see that sky still. So, I think that’s looking pretty good. I’m going to get these blended together in Photoshop, and then I’m actually going to bring it back into Lightroom and continue the editing there. So, let’s select all of these, you’re going to right-click, you’re going to go to ‘Edit in’ and then ‘Open as Layers in Photoshop.’ Alright, we are letting them load up in here.

Perfect. So, what we want to do very first is bring this dark one up to the top, bring your baseline one to the middle, and have your brightest one on the bottom. So, what we like to do first is go ahead and take that little eyeball off of the dark one. And so, we’re looking at kind of the baseline one right here. And from there, we’re going to go over to channels and we’re going to command-click on the RGB channel. It’s going to go ahead and select all of this, and what we want to do is go up to ‘Select,’ then ‘Modify,’ and ‘Feather.’ This is also, you know, there’s a shortcut for it, but you know, easy to just do that as well. I like to put in about 150 for this, 150 pixels. It’s going to highlight those areas, and what you’re going to do from there is go back over to layers and add as layer mask. What you’re doing there is essentially creating a luminosity mask and making the blend a little bit more even. From there, we are going to click on this top one, and go ahead and open that eyeball back up, and we are going to go over to the pen tool. And let’s go ahead and zoom in on these windows and start to cut these out. So, you’re going to, let’s zoom in a little bit more, we’re going to go right here, click, and I have the little rubber band tool turned on, by the way, so you can see this line on the screen, which kind of just helps make it a little bit faster, I think. So, let’s go ahead and go through here, and then click on that to close it up. And then what you want to do is hit command, shift, enter, and that will select that area. And let’s go ahead and do the next one. Command, shift, enter, let’s do the next one. Just like that. Command, shift, enter, the next one. And what you could do also is do the entire window and then just exclude these bars in the middle, and that’s another way to do it, either way, whatever you think is faster. Let’s go ahead and zoom into this guy over here and do go from there to here, to there, to there, to there, go around this little dream. Okay. And let’s zoom in and go around this faucet. I think we actually need to go, yeah, I missed that first point right there. Go ahead and hit enter, and from there we are actually almost done. Let’s go ahead and hit ‘Layer Mask,’ and then that will

go ahead and pull those windows in for the most part. As you can tell, we’re actually pretty close to being done. So, what you can do from here is hit command, W, and that’s going to save it and close it out of Photoshop. It should bring it back into Lightroom from there. Now, once we are back in Lightroom, you can see that this is the image that we produced. And what I like to do is just a little bit of editing from here. So, I think, you know, as these look really nice and you can see right through them, but I honestly think it’s a little bit too much. It doesn’t look real natural. So, what I like to do is just bring up these highlights a little bit, and then we can even create a gradient and kind of make the inside on this side a little bit brighter. And let’s just adjust a little bit of exposure there. 0.6 and honestly, it’s looking pretty good. If you wanted to, you could take the brush and just kind of go over this real gently. I have it pretty feathered out, and bring that exposure up just a little bit, and this highlights down just a little bit. And I think that honestly looks pretty good. That’s an image I’d be pretty happy with delivering to a client.

“As you can tell, it’s not a super difficult process. Of course, sometimes it does get more difficult on one image. I remember having such a hard time because it had a lot of plants covering up the window, and so I had to kind of work around and select the window through the plant, which was a real pain, a real joy if you will. But for the most part, you know, the windows are not too terrible, and you can get them done pretty quickly, especially once you start getting used to it. So, I hope that was super helpful for you guys. If it was, leave a like. If you want me to do another one, I can do a few more interiors for you guys. But this is how you do it. So, if you want to hit the subscribe button, I’d certainly appreciate it, and I will see you guys in the next one. Peace.”