Throughout our home search, I encountered listing after listing full of cartoon-like pictures. When I asked a local real estate photographer, Stephen Barling of Barling Photography, what the deal with those images was, he told me that the photographers were being heavy handed with a technique called high-dynamic-range imaging, or HDR.
When I googled HDR, I found some cool looking pictures with interesting contrasts in the sky, but a few looked a bit like Thomas Kincaid paintings. Which is great if you like Thomas Kincaid paintings. I do not like Thomas Kincaid paintings.
In my area, I've noticed that some of the most beautiful homes on the market have gotten the HDR treatment. These are places that don't need any "help" looking beautiful in a real estate listing, so I wonder why it's being used.
Here are a few images from the listing for a $1.7 million dollar home in my area. The home is stunning and it would have looked absolutely gorgeous without the enhancing. The treatment is almost distracting, don't you think?
To contrast, here are a few images taken by that real estate photographer I mentioned above, Stephen Barling.
There's definitely a little something happening in the picture above and the one below (I can see it if I look at the sofa pillows), but the editing isn't nearly as obvious as the first set of images I shared.
I love this last image because it shows a bathroom that isn't the fanciest in the world still looking great without cartoon-like photoshopping.
Aren't those much better than the HDR images?
Even Barbara Corcoran couldn't resist a jab at the overuse of HDR in this clip from The Today Show (Stephen shot the Charlottesville house that shows up in this clip at the end).