It would be a different world if you could see all the before shots.
Because every shot you see by a photographer in ads, articles, etc are the after shots, after photoshop and in this article I will focus on Real Estate photography.
There is a whole lot of mess hidden in plain sight out there which you never see, and that is good but it is not real. We live in a world of illusion, of wishful thinking, of visual trickery, so without knowing our perception to reality is being changed ever so slightly by technology, where ideas become reality and things that do not exist come to be.
I do this routinely and so do many other artists, its a demand by clients and it is a condition of survival. Very similar to government corruption or embezzlement where you think if you don’t do it then someone else will, so you do it too. We are retouching the hell out of pictures to the point that when people see the original versus the glorified photo they are disappointed, so all evidence is being destroyed at every level.
An example from years ago before the age of video manipulation where you couldn’t do anything much to analog video except choose the best angles and fancy lighting and filteration and be selective with the lens choices, is where I had an assignment to shoot a house for a real estate video production in Orange County and Los Angeles. And the video came out looking very good, too good in fact because the customer called and in his words said “the buyers are truly disappointed when they walk in because the video you shot is so much better than the house”
Now the same is even more true in the age of digits where entire landscapes and people’s sizes and their faces are manipulated not just in a single image but in moving images for minutes. The name for omitting entire sections of a photograph or film is “compositing matt” it is a mask inserted in the image to replace elements in that section with something entirely different yet convincingly the same.
A lot of “after shots” are simply a process of omission by the photographer, meaning that you never even see the hundreds of before shots the photographers take in Orange County and Los Angeles, they are deleted as a first step to finding the best shot which then gets the “glorification”, we call it the hero shot in case of product advertising.
Here is the deal: reduce your expectation and discount any beautiful photograph of anybody or anything you see by 50%
Then its back to reality.