There is often discussion on real estate blogs about how far (if at all) a real estate agent / photographer should travel down the photo retouching road.
Athol Kay has a great series titled “Pimp My Listing Photo” that covers acceptable ways to “manipulate” real estate photos.
My personal take is it is perfectly acceptable to correct tilt, exposure, fisheye distortion and other such things Athol frequently talks about. I also don’t see a problem with removing things that are “temporary” such as trash cans, autos, the dog, etc. (though really, it’s far less hassle to move them before you shoot the photo…).
You’re going way too far if you conveniently take out things like telephone poles, holes in the wall and start changing colors, or make the roof look like new. That’s misrepresentation in my book.
I don’t have the technical skills (yet) to pimp a photo as well as Athol. Nor do I have the artistic skills to really manipulate a photo. Want to see what a good Photoshop artist can do? Check out this photoshop contest where folks take a pimping a photo of a bathroom to the extreme.
Here is my favorite: