The camera never lies – unless you’re an estate agent

There's a fine line between tidying up and misrepresentation

Share

If you were to look in the windows of the estate agents in the high street near where I live, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the inhabitants of my manor are very oddly shaped indeed. So many of the houses seem to have been built to accommodate folk who are 10-feet wide – at least, that’s what the enormous great front doors on half of the for-sale photos would have you believe. Then there are the places with ceilings so high that London Zoo’s giraffes could quite happily move in tomorrow without having to crick their necks or bang their antennae (that’s what those things on their heads are, right?).

I love spotting a bit of cack-handed photo trickery. All those XXXL door frames and loos that are as wide as the Bed of Ware. You’ll often find me cackling outside estate agents wondering who is ever going to be fooled by bargain-basement Photoshop skills. Then there are the pictures where the photographer must have done themselves an injury in managing to avoid getting the power station/high-security prison/sewage works next door in the frame. Seriously, guys, if you ever get a viewing, someone might just notice that particular local amenity.

But people in glass houses (who are hoping to see a return on their investment so want to keep the original features intact) shouldn’t throw stones. Every photo I take on my mobile phone gets a bit of help from the “edit” button that brightens, lightens and tightens, so I can’t really moan when everyone else does it. Still, there’s tidying up and there’s taking the mickey. Property photographer John Durrant, who runs www.hello-photo.co.uk and www.doctor-photo.co.uk and enhances 2,000 photos a month for estate agents around the UK, is very clear on the difference.

“If the dimensions of a house have been changed in a picture, that’s misrepresentation,” he says. However, as an ex-estate agent, he knows the power of a proper picture. “I once photographed a house that had been on the market for a year. When I went there, I didn’t actually recognise it because what the previous estate agents had done was stretch the photo to fit the template, so the Ford Fiesta that was in the front garden looked like a Cadillac. It had been taken at the wrong time of day, the garage doors were open, they’d missed the green space out the front. Most estate agents can’t take photographs  – it’s the only industry where you’re selling something that costs £150,000 and turn up with a compact camera you can’t use to photograph it.”

His best advice for anyone leery of an unlikely image in an estate agent’s window is blunt. “Look at the floor plan. You can’t alter that!” True, but it’s not as much fun as spotting funny photo fails, though, is it?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

1st line call logger/ User access administrator

£9 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Warrington a...

Shine Night Walk 2014 - 'On the night' volunteer roles

Unpaid Voluntary Work : Cancer Research UK: We need motivational volunteers to...

Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable)

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable...

Senior IT Trainer - Buckinghamshire - £250 - £350 p/d

£200 - £300 per day: Ashdown Group: IT Trainer - Marlow, Buckinghamshire - £25...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Passengers sit and enjoy a quiet train journey in a bygone age  

Why I'm shouting about the tragic demise of the quiet carriage

Simon Kelner
 

Why black cats make amazing pets, and take good selfies too

Felicity Morse
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star