I teach a lot of people how to improve their property photography but my business also edits several thousand photos every month for estate agents and individual customers all around the UK. On photography workshop days, the questions that I invariably get asked about involve Photoshop and these include, ‘How did you get rid of that car?’ and ‘How do you add blue skies? Some people are fascinated by what can be achieved, but like many other skills, success boils down to experience and the ability to see things differently.

‘The real truth is that there isn’t a set answer. What we do in Photoshop is more art than science. Yes, you have to know how to clone and that there are nuances when doing that. You would need to know, for example, how the brush/clone stamp size and its softness or the hardness of its edges and its opacity etc will affect the area that you’re deleting. Teaching this ISN’T a 5-minute job, so I tend to swerve when I’m asked.

I learned how to Photoshop by teaching myself using Youtube and www.lynda.com, but it took hundreds of hours to get to a point where I felt that I could offer a serious service to my customers.

Take a look at www.doctor-photo.co.uk and you’ll see an example of a property that I’ve ‘extended’ to enable buyers to visualise the owner’s plans. This and the majority of my work involves working on a large screen with images that are magnified so much that you can see each individual pixel. It’s therefore completely true that often, you’re not really sure what an image looks like post-edit until you’ve zoomed back out.

One little trick I’ll share is that when cloning against hard edges, it’s much easier to achieve that edge, (not to colour ‘over the lines’) when you’ve first drawn a selection up to where you want to clone to, using the pen tool or marquee tool. But then, often you’ll see differences in shades, so even a plain cream wall *which you might think would be easy to clone) can easily look unreal because shadows and light will create different hues ranging maybe from brown (in the shadows) to off-white (in the highlighted areas).

I’ve added below some images showing ‘before’s and ‘after’s’ and these, you will see, involved having to work at very close quarters. Every image is different. All of them require a different approach. The trick is to look at any project not as one image but as tens, or hundreds or even thousands of small elements and work on those individually, building up a kind of digital jigsaw.

You can take from the above examples that there’s no ‘magic’ stroke of the mouse, and the sharp-eyed will see in the new house photos, that I’ve also added grass and glass balconies. Projects like these when looked at as a whole, can seem daunting, but they become much easier to complete when they’re looked at in minute detail. So that’s the answer to the question that I get asked the most. The question for you, if you’re an agent, is ‘Do you really have the time to do that yourself?