Real Actual Listing Photos: Guess What’s Amiss Edition (The Original Czech Sky Post)

It’s time for a special edition of Real Actual Listing Photos, where we play a game I just invented called “Guess What’s Amiss.”

Here’s how this game works: I’ll post photos from a handful of listings, and you see if you can guess what’s odd about them that would cause me to feature them here. Feel free to click on the photos and head over to the real actual listings for some additional context.

Ready to play? Okay, here we go.

Guessed what’s amiss yet? If not, here’s a clue. Take a look at some of the photos in slideshow form below, cycling every three seconds.


In case you still haven’t figured it out yet, aside from a slight shift left or right, the sky in each of these listing photos is identical.

Also, you get bonus points if you noticed that the living room photos shown above all have the exact same fire “burning” in the fireplace.

So what the heck is going on here? Is there some sort of bizarre pink pony conspiracy going on among real estate agents to trick unsuspecting homebuyers into thinking that Seattle is always sunshine, blue skies, and warm fires?

It turns out that all of these listings were photographed by a locally-based real estate photography service called Vicaso. Vicaso sells super-saturated, oddly-angled HDR listing photos for a lower price (around $275 for 15 photos) than most independent photographers, which they produce through what in my opinion basically amounts to an assembly line.

Here’s how I imagine the process: After your photos are shot on-site by one of their photographers (using a very specific set of pre-defined camera settings), the files are sent over to what I like to picture as a Photoshop sweat shop, where a boiler room full of recent art school graduates spend all day swapping out skies, merging exposures, cranking up the saturation, and dropping fake fires into fireplaces.

Dozens (if not hundreds) of listings here in Seattle are sporting this same exact sky. Here’s another example where the effect is particularly surreal when you flip between photos #1 and #6. Of course, the influence of super-sky isn’t limited to our backyard. The same sky appears in San Diego, the Bay Area, Portland, and anywhere else that Vicaso happens to have a photo shoot on a cloudy day.

After a bit of searching, I located the original source picture, shot by an iStockPhoto member from the Czech Republic. He was flattered when I dropped him a line to let him know about the prevalence of his photo in so many listings. I haven’t yet been able to locate Vicaso’s source photo for the fake fire, so if you come across it let me know.

Of course, it could be worse. At least Vicaso is actually good at what they do, and their photos don’t come out looking like this:

19811 32nd Ave NE Seattle, WA 98155

Oh my. Please step away from the Photoshop.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    AlexB says:

    This is a great post, very witty combined with some suttle snarkyness. This would never be published in the mainstream media like the Seattletimes.

    This has to violate some type of law – or if they are getting around it somehow , it is still morally wrong to doctor pictures of a house.

  2. 2
    gxar26 says:

    This explains it. We have been looking for a house this year and have noticed that when the pictures look really good they almost never match reality. Now I will start looking for the blue sky and the fire in the fireplace.

    Brilliant post.

  3. 3
    David S says:

    Easily have the fire and the sky, two crucial elements that feed off one another. Throw in an occasional water picture from several blocks away just to temper the scene.

    I poked through some Buchan listings in the region and found that out of almost every window there was beautiful greenery or scenery which I would expect of a $900k-$1.2M home. When I looked at the sky photo on Redfin it revealed they were on 5200sf lots and had about 9″ between housing units. I realized there had been slight of hand in the photos.

    No bother though. It’s the salesman’s job to portray the product they are peddling in the best possible light. Even if this means creating photos with geography and features that don’t exist. Those are just little details anyway it’s the house that’s important.

    I feel bad for the millionaires who will always live with their blinds drawn.

  4. 4
    David S says:

    Oh, and it looks like they are trying to cover asset liquidation costs and make profit on Property #4 that’s why it is at $1.195M listing from $980k in ’04, everything is up 22% after all!

  5. 5
    Ahau says:

    Wow, that’s interesting. I picked up on the fireplaces all looking the same, but not the skies until you mentioned it. If you look for shadowing, you can tell that a couple of those were taken on overcast days, but the other two were taken on sunny days and the sky was still changed.
    RE: David S @ 1 – I see the same thing with the builder’s “artist” renderings of homes. They draw the house with mature trees, like it’s in a dense forest, and they conveniently don’t show any neighboring homes. You show up to a couple of dead twigs out front, no fences, neighbors you could hand a cup of sugar to without leaving your respective homes, on a slope with no view. Classic.

  6. 6

    I don’t have a problem with making the sky blue, although we’ve never done that to the best of my knowledge. I’m not sure what photoshop touches our photographers use. The only one I remember is once they photoshopped a light on when we didn’t have a replacement bulb. But I’m sure they probably deal with exposure issues all the time.

  7. 7

    By Ahau @ 3:

    RE: David S @ 1 – I see the same thing with the builder’s “artist” renderings of homes. They draw the house with mature trees, like it’s in a dense forest, and they conveniently don’t show any neighboring homes.

    It’s interesting that they do that, because in my experience actually living next to such things isn’t that big of a draw, or at least it’s not as big of a draw to most people as it is to me.

  8. 8
    guest says:

    Sellers must think that these kinds of photos help sell their home, but when I see a listing with these photo sets I think, with disappointment, “oh, they’ve got those canned, hyper saturated, overly staged listing photos. . .the actual listing must be something they are ashamed to let everyone see.”

    Seattle Bubble can be such an exclusive “boys club” with tittle-tattle and sniping galore, but articles like this make it worth reading and following.

    Carefully prepared and presented, innovative, objective perspectives like the one provided by this article on photo shopped / assembly line listing photo sets, have probably educated me more about the home buying process than any thing else.

    Now the Tim has a really big job on his hands: work for Redfin, but stay independent and credible on Seattle Bubble. Good luck.

  9. 9
    Pegasus says:

    Tim…if you can look at the sky picture carefully you can see a face in the clouds. I can’t tell if it is Satan or Kary……

  10. 10
    Ahau says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6 – So, by saying “forest”, I think I was exaggerating. “Park” is more like it. Case in point:

    Oh, interesting. Doesn’t this house seem a little tall (3 stories) and narrow for being in such a wide open park?

    Oh, now I get it.

    The thing is, the homes in this neighborhood are close together, but some people don’t mind that. I myself live in a townhome. I have no particular beef with this builder. I think it’s normal to put a little gloss on your product. You just have to be careful as a buyer, to make sure you know what to expect once construction is complete and you’re holding a deed (and deed of trust).

  11. 11
    Astro Kermit says:

    That is hilarious! Great discovery & post!

    gg Vicaso.

  12. 12
    David S says:

    By Astro Kermit @ 10:

    That is hilarious! Great discovery & post!

    gg Vicaso.

    Imagine what Vicaso could do with a mail order bride contract. ;-)

  13. 13
    Astro Kermit says:

    RE: Ahau @ 5

    The difference is one is clearly presented as a drawing, the other is presented as the truth.

  14. 14
    masaba says:

    I’ve had a suspicion that stuff like this was going on for a while. It is obvious when you look at any of those photos in isolation that they have been highly doctored, ie. contrast intensified, lighting turned up, shadows removed, etc. I always thought that if they go that far, why stop there? A little mildew in the corners, just smudge it out!

    However, this post is more than I ever imagined. The same sky seemingly appearing over homes throughout the Pacific Northwest. It’s uncanny!

  15. 15
    Drone says:

    Come on people, be realistic. It’s entirely reasonable to assume that all of these photos were taken by different photographers on the exact same day, in houses that were all facing the exact same location. You wouldn’t want to waste a day with a sky like that.

    You may rightly complain that the MLS listings are from different dates. Of course, I agree; with photos that good, you wouldn’t want to list the houses all at once! Think of the stampede of buyers you would create… someone could get hurt!

  16. 16
    David S says:

    It all fits with “NEW LISTING”, days on market DOM 2, cumulative days on market CDOM 314. The peddler is obligated represent their product in the best possible ‘light’.

    MLS doesn’t do it but I appreciate Redfin showing both DOM and CDOM to us. I mean it is nice to be able to see all six pages of listing history on these things.

  17. 17
    Jillayne says:

    Perhaps we’ll see a required disclosure like this “Photos of this house have been digitally enhanced.”

    The pics I can’t stand are when the lense used stretches the room to make the room look way, way bigger than reality.

  18. 18
    mentelope says:

    I don’t find this that surprising. I have worked for architects for years, and they request these kinds of changes all the time. I noticed right away that all of the windows had been replaced with perfectly exposed views. A dead giveaway for this is that the floors are brighter than the windows. A reflection is never brighter than the light source it is reflecting. It is very difficult to balance the exposure between the bright window and the room in-camera, therefore it is a commonly requested change. I only have a problem with it when the exterior that is put in is not the true exterior of the building. To drop in beautiful landscaping when there is really a brick wall outside the window is an outright lie, and unethical, in my opinion. That is, if the picture is being used to sell the property. If you are just making a pretty picture for the architect’s portfolio, then I guess it is okay. They would probably be better off if they had a cache of 20 or so skies which they could rotate randomly, and people would be far less likely to notice the trick. I have a collection of skies I use for this purpose. I also keep fire images for the same reason. Gas fireplaces do not produce a dramatic flame, so dropping in a raging fire is a fairly common request.

  19. 19
    NC says:

    Here is an interesting thread from last year where a bunch of photo buffs are trying to figure out their methods:

  20. 20

    RE: guest @ 8

    Actually Guest Its the Opposite IMO

    If SB became just a dry humor section on the web, with no RE opinions based on data and facts; I predict it would die out fast.

    On the other hand though, this article example was very entertaining and a good occasional sidetrack from the more serious stuff.

  21. 21
    johnnybigspenda says:

    Listing photos are to entice people to get out of their office chair and take an actual tour of the house. There are many good houses with horrendous pictures that do nothing to get people to come take a look. Infact, lazy buyers don’t even take a second look and may be passing up a house that would fit their needs. If I were a seller, I’d make darn sure my pictures were as good as they can look. Not sure you need to fake the sky and fire, but a little lighting and color surely increases the chances that people will like what they see.

  22. 22
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Jillayne @ 17 – I view the doctored photos as the same thing as to why women wear make-up. Full disclosure….not likely.

  23. 23

    RE: johnnybigspenda @ 21 – Yes listing photos are there to entice buyers, but you don’t want the pictures to over-state the property. If the reaction when viewing the house is disappointment, due to too high of expectations set by the pictures, that’s not a good thing.

    I analogize it to the situation where an agent lists a 3 bedroom house with bonus room as a 4 bedroom. It’s much better, IMHO, to list it as a 3 bedroom and have buyers excited about the bonus room than to list it as a 4 bedroom and have buyers disappointed.

  24. 24
    LA Relo says:

    I’ve seen that in other listings too. It’s so poorly done it makes me angry they would even try to pass it off.

    Although it’s only going to bite them in the @$$ when a prospective buyer shows up and realizes the photoshopped dream home in a tropical paradise is actually a gloomy dump.

  25. 25
    Jerdobi says:

    We can all laugh about these doctored photos, but it’s obviously a case of fraud and misrepresentation. So can I assume this fraud and misrepresentation applies to the dollars and SqFt numbers in the listing too? Was the rooms stretched out to look bigger? Was the room colors changed?

    Definitely a cause for legal action if someone wanted to press the issue.

  26. 26

    RE: Jillayne @ 17
    I am so with you on that one, Jillayne. Little galley kitchens look like they go on for miles.

  27. 27
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Jerdobi @ 25 – You can sue for anything but can you win? Just cause they made it “purty” doesn’t mean much. How about staging and putting a few drops of vanilla in the oven or microwave just before a prospective buyer shows up to hide the stench of the carpets? I think if they materially alter the appearance of the structure in the photo…maybe but you still get to see the real thing before you bid. It isn’t a blind auction. I think Kary is right(for once). You don’t want to disappoint them once they see reality.

  28. 28

    RE: Jerdobi @ 25 – Almost every contract has a clause to prevent suit if the square footage is misrepresented. It’s up to the buyer to verify.

  29. 29
    wreckingbull says:

    This reminds me of the words of a friend who found his wife on several years ago, after literally doing the Internet dating thing for 5 years, 24×7.

    “Just remember that the photo is the best they have ever looked and will ever look”

  30. 30

    RE: wreckingbull @ 29


    Those internet photos sometimes come from stylist shops where they can make an ugly 64 YO hag look like Cher.

    EHarmony is totally dying out lately [they recently offerred me $5/mo membership for 6 months], I think its the economy, singles don’t even have money to meet for a cup of coffee and then possibly be horrified after they finally do meet that the profile pictures were a joke. We need the adult singles dances back again, but almost all the good ones [legal BYOB] died out, there’s only one left in Tacoma [SRC] and one left in Olympia [United Singles]…..again the economy, the singles can’t afford sitters to get to the dances either.

  31. 31

    By softwarengineer @ 30:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 29 – Those internet photos sometimes come from stylist shops where they can make an ugly 64 YO hag look like Cher.

    Cher? Is that all they can do? How about make an ugly 64 YO had look like Jessica Alba? [Or fill in your own younger actress.]

  32. 32
    Still Anonymous says:

    Wow, The Tim. I thought I was a good internet researcher, but if you can track down the guy who took the photo of “a blue sky with some wispy clouds,” I bow to your mad skills.

    Those photos, however, look so polished that I wonder if ANYTHING in them is real – even the windows in rooms, etc. If a selling realtor wants to misrepresent in that way, what other ways will things be misrepresented as part of the sale process? But then again, they don’t need to fool me, just some sucker that’s even dumber than me.

  33. 33
    whatup says:

    Thank you for the post.
    I’ve actually been seeing this type of photos on red fin when browsing for a house, and have always wondered if they were real or computer graphics or what. Now I know. Mystery solved.

  34. 34
    deejayoh says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 31:

    By softwarengineer @ 30:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 29 – Those internet photos sometimes come from stylist shops where they can make an ugly 64 YO hag look like Cher.

    Cher? Is that all they can do? How about make an ugly 64 YO had look like Jessica Alba? [Or fill in your own younger actress.]

    Best Answer – Chosen by AskerCher ( Cherilyn Sarkisian ) was born May 20, 1946 ..

    which makes her 64. Not much of an accomplishment at all.

  35. 35
    CCG says:

    By gxar26 @ 2:

    This explains it. We have been looking for a house this year and have noticed that when the pictures look really good they almost never match reality. Now I will start looking for the blue sky and the fire in the fireplace.

    Brilliant post.

    Yep, very well done.

  36. 36
    Urban Artist says:

    I had the same experience with a lot of rental photos. I thought there was some kind of new Bling filter in Photoshop. The rooms made to look bigger and super sparkly clean. When you actually saw the place it was amazing how bad the actual rental was compared to the photo.

  37. 37
    HappyRenter says:

    In the house #1, second picture (with the fireplace), it looks like they pasted a landscape where the windows are.

  38. 38

    Pegasus said”I think Kary is right(for once). ‘

    What’s the old saying? Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while?

  39. 39
    Scotsman says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 34

    But do we have any idea what the real Cher- pre this-and-that surgery, actually looks like? This might be tougher than you think. ;-)

  40. 40

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 38 – I’m not really too concerned about Pegasus. His main beef with me was over the risk of Tsunamis, and risk concepts in general, an area where he is completely clueless. Based on his agreement here I may have to re-think my policy of not overselling listings with pictures.

  41. 41
    Jerdobi says:

    I find it surprising how unconcerning and light heartedness everyone has applied to the misrepresentation of a home approaching $1 million dollars. If I misrepresent my income level the IRS throws me in jail, if I misrepresent my resume I’m fired, if I misrepresent a car I’m selling as in good working order and it’s not and the wheel falls off; I’m sued. Or, if I put a picture of myself from college on a dating site and the girl finds I was out of school 25 years ago; she dumps me.

    Now, if a listing says it’s 3000 sqft and it’s actually 2000 sqft. Well, you should known better and do your homework; don’t trust the realtor or website. If the view out the window on Redfin shows the Puget Sound and you purchase the home as a “view home” and end up looking at a brick wall; we’ll you should have known those pictures are all PhotoShop’ed and gone and looked out that window to be sure.

    A business where you can’t trust what you see, read or hear. Just the kind of business ethics that makes me proud to be an American.

    Come on, it’s “Fraud” plain and simple.

    That’s a prison offense with 3-5 years in prison. No matter the fine print obscured somewhere on the website or realtor agreement that everything they say or shows is “Caveat emptor”.

  42. 42
    One Eyed Man says:

    I’ve talked to an independent photographer about the HDR photos before. He said they started out using them to get the view shots in proper exposure for high end homes. It’s my understanding that they take shots from a tripod at a bunch of different exposures and there’s fancy software that combines the exposures so that you can get the view exposed in the same picture with the interior. According to a high end agent I know who uses Vicaso, supposedly they don’t paste in anything but the exterior sky and the gas fireplace (gas fires don’t show up well otherwise).

    As for Cher, I think her most attractive feature was her persona rather than her physical features. To me she just looked very strong willed (which I like) but also kind of nasty ,like a dominatrix. I tend to go more for the intellectual, wholesome type (at least in public). Sonny had the best line about Cher. Supposedly he said she thought Mt Rushmore was a natural phenomenon

  43. 43

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 42 – The alternative to that is having a ton of lighting equipment, and taking the shot over and over and over until you get the lighting right. It’s very time consuming.

    Really though, that is more a limitation of the camera than deceit. If you were in the house and focusing your eyes on a dim area your eyes would adjust. But when a camera is taking a wide picture of an entire room, it can’t adjust for each area (unless you use the method you described).

  44. 44

    RE: Jerdobi @ 41 – I can’t see that the photos would ever rise to fraud, unless the property was bought without stepping foot in the property. Although maybe you could make a fraud claim for your time and gas to go look at the place. I’ve wanted to do that on some of the 3 bedrooms listed as 4. ;-)

  45. 45
    The Tim says:

    By Ahau @ 10:

    So, by saying “forest”, I think I was exaggerating. “Park” is more like it. Case in point:

    That is a great example. I may have to drive down there and get a photo of my own at the same angle as the rendering, then make a post just for this. Nice find!

  46. 46
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 44

    I agree that there probably isn’t the element of justifiable reliance necessary for fraud. But if they put in a view or other substantive amenities that aren’t actually there (more than just the blue sky or a fire which are continuously changing anyway), it might rise to a level of deceptive conduct that could cause an issue with the Department of Licensing.

  47. 47
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Jerdobi @ 41 – We were talking about pictures and you suddenly twisted it to misrepresenting square footage. Where on any of the homes in Tim’s story is that being done intentionally if at all? Get a life and stop trying to make mountains out of mole hills. There is plenty of fraud to be concerned about but you are trying to twist cosmetic presentations into fraud. Does your wife or boyfriend wear make-up? Sue them in your false rage of marketing gimmicks. Say you don’t have any fears of Tsunamis wiping us all out here in the PNW do you? How about asteroids?

  48. 48
    David S says:

    Ok, at risk of sounding a little rough I will say that, and we all know it, sex sells. And there is nothing sexier than photoshopped listing porn. Pictures that just make me want to get all warm and snuggly with the listing. Oh yeah baby!

  49. 49
    The Tim says:

    Now I see this sky everywhere I look when I’m browsing listings.

    Check out this one that I happened upon today: 2820 W Dravus St Seattle, WA 98199. It’s got Czech Sky in five of the fifteen photos, and the fake fire burning in five more. NICE.

  50. 50
    David S says:

    RE: The Tim @ 49 – What purpose would there be in showing the power lines in the listing photos? It would only detract from the natural beauty.

  51. 51
  52. 52
    corncob says:

    RE: The Tim @ 49 – Several of the photos seem to have fake trees or shrubs inserted (3, 12, 15) as well. But for some reason they decided to keep the huge dead lawn in the main picture.

  53. 53
    Cheap South says:

    I don’t mind the saturation, sky, and fire. It certainly looks much better than most of the crappy photos on most listings.

    Adding trees, or features to the actual home, that would be false advertising.

  54. 54

    This is why I like bank owned homes:
    Other homes have the fake sky, the fake fire, and cute staging.
    Bank owned homes often have just one crappy photograph, taken by the retarded real estate agent with his thumb over the lens. Sometimes, they’re practically the same house as the one with the fake skies and fires and staging. Very often when you go inside they’re just fine, although at times they’re dirtier. Seems like banks only want to mow lawns and only want to repair roofs after the damage has occurred to the walls, etc. I did go into one bank owned home where it seemed like the previous owners left in a hurry, with clothes strewn everywhere and a moldy pot of spaghetti on the stove.

  55. 55

    By David S @ 48:

    Ok, at risk of sounding a little rough I will say that, and we all know it, sex sells. And there is nothing sexier than photoshopped listing porn. Pictures that just make me want to get all warm and snuggly with the listing. Oh yeah baby!

    I remember years ago walking into what should have been a vacant townhouse, and being startled by mannequins standing in the living room area. Maybe whoever bought that place should sue the seller because the mannequins were more attractive than the friends that come to his townhouse?

  56. 56
    Ahau says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 54 – You forgot to mention the retarded agent’s side view mirror in the photo, that’s my favorite part!

  57. 57
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 55 – Funny you mention that. I had the mannequin experince two, in a home I toured in 2005 at the base of Phinney Ridge. No idea what was up with that. I wonder if it is the same, twisted, staging company.

  58. 58
    redmondjp says:

    This is all fine and good, but what about a post on all of the photoshopped real estate AGENT pictures?

    The ones in my hometown still feel the need to insert their own picture (instead of one of the house) in the local newspaper ads. I just laugh. How did they know I’m looking for a smiling, posed couple that might want to sell me a house?

  59. 59
    Lurker says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 54:

    I did go into one bank owned home where it seemed like the previous owners left in a hurry, with clothes strewn everywhere and a moldy pot of spaghetti on the stove.

    Fresh baked cookies were definitely getting overrated anyways.

  60. 60
    TheHulk says:

    Apparently this thread is getting some attention inside Microsoft. People are discussing whether or not it ‘s ok to tweak photos like this. Just like the comments on this site, people fall into 2 categories. Those who stand to “benefit” from the tweaked photos – aka real estate agents, stagers, photographers etc and then there are the buyers/consumers who scream murder at being shown super fancy jazzed up photos for a crappy place.

    Personally, I like a place with normal untouched pictures. That way when I physically see the place, I like it a little better (oh this has so much better lighting than in the pics etc.). OTOH, if the pictures are omg-this-place-looks-awesome then the seller has already set up high expectations from the buyers and any flaw becomes more apparent and seems to reduce the appeal of the house. But, to each his own.

  61. 61

    RE: TheHulk @ 60
    I agree with you, but ultimately nobody is going to benefit from these tweaked photos, except maybe the photographer. Sure, you might go see a house because the photos are so beautiful, but when you do actually visit, you may realize that they left out the photo of the moldy wall, or that the kitchen in reality is very tiny. I guess the photo has to be nice enough to get you to want to see the house, but if it’s over the top exaggerated, it’s only going to make people mad once you see it in person.

  62. 62
    Racket says:

    As a Microsoft stock holder I am more appalled that people there are more worried about this than job, than the people doctoring the photos.

  63. 63
    BillE says:

    By David S @ 51:

    Found some in my neck of the woods too.

    This is so fun. It’s like a treasure hunt.

    Those are some gems. I like it when the lawn is so green it can make your eyes bleed.
    I found one of my own:
    Those shades of green just don’t occur in nature.

  64. 64
    El Capitan says:

    I just love how people from certain political spectrums instantly must involve government and the courts. “It’s Fraud!” “contact the Department of Licensing!” “it’s unethical!” “certainly this must be illegal”
    Perhaps we should create a licensing “Bureau of Realty Photography” with a crew of government inspectors to police the industry?


    It’s photographs. No fraud unless an ignorant buyer enters into a legal agreement without visiting the property. 99% of all listing pictures suck; they’re from an agent’s point-n-shoot and make your $760k property look like a bank owned shack in a crap neighborhood. If anything, these over-saturated replaced-sky pics look almost as bad, I’d hope anyone smart enough to afford a home could see the obvious over-processing, like an LA blond with the giant store bought ‘rack’.

    Now if you want some real humor in realty photography check out Lovely Listings:

  65. 65

    […] EditionReal Actual Listing Photos: Multi-Million-Dollar EditionReal Actual Listing Photos: Take 1Real Actual Listing Photos: Guess What’s Amiss EditionJump to the top of the comments. ↑ Leave a ReplyDo you want a nifty avatar picture next to your […]

  66. 66
    Aaron Rose says:

    Did anyone from Vicaso respond to this post? Great work Tim. Let’s be serious here, who are they fooling? What is the advantage to providing fake photography? I am sure when home buyers see photos like the ones above they raise their eyebrows.

  67. 67
    Qocutfp says:

    I think Jillayne is right. Needs to be disclosed. How close is it to skirting the rules? Superimposing other things on the photos went on for a while as did artist’s renderings of new constuction that looked eerily real, but it was still a vacant lot.
    NWMLS rules state photos “must not contain any superimposed graphics or text, must not
    contain more than one photograph (i.e. combining more than one photograph into a single image is prohibited)”

  68. 68

    […] E Hamlin St$1,299,000$1,295,000$4,0000.3%$1,299,000Astute readers will notice that the Czech Sky even makes an appearance above. Nice.Seen any over-the-top price games worth shaming? Link it up in […]

  69. 69
    Dan Achatz says:

    This whole post is absurd. I’m not a huge Vicaso fan, because I’m a competitor to them, but replacing a rainy northwest sky with blue sky just allows the agent to list the home without having to wait for the weather to clear. Also, camera technology is such that when shooting a north facing house into the sun, it may be impossible for the camera to render the blue sky that is actually there. The same is true of the fire. Is it actually required that we pollute our pristine Puget Sound air just to have a fire in a photo?

    I don’t really care for the Vicaso images, but I can tell you one thing, they are not covering up nuclear power plants in the yard with giant arborvitae

    One last thing Vicaso is higher priced than the average Real Estate photographer in Seattle.

  70. 70

    By Dan Achatz @ 69:

    This whole post is absurd. I’m not a huge Vicaso fan, because I’m a competitor to them, but replacing a rainy northwest sky with blue sky just allows the agent to list the home without having to wait for the weather to clear.

    That’s a good point. Right now I’d just be happy with an hour or two without rain that might get on the lens.

  71. 71
    The Tim says:

    RE: Dan Achatz @ 69 – My point was not that replacing the sky is dumb. In fact I even pointed out that Vicaso does a nice job at it. What I find so amusing is that they use the same sky and the same fire in every single photo.

  72. 72

    […] April image, shown at left… Regular readers may recognize the sky in the background as the infamous Czech Sky, which appears in a ridiculous number of Seattle-area listing […]

  73. 73
  74. 74

    […] breathless view. Hat tip to Matt Goyer on this one. I thought it needed a little something… extra, so I whipped up an alternate version. “Awaits your vision & […]

  75. 75

    […] Czech Sky: If the name isn’t self-evident, read this post. […]

  76. 76
    Steve says:

    I did a little research and it turns out that Tim’s wife has a real estate photography company that was started in 2009. This seems like some pretty bias info at this point. Not to be dis-respectful, but her work is very consumer looking. Its also a little un-ethical considering Tim works for Redfin and Redfin uses images like this for its own marketing on there listings.

    You should be a little more careful what you post online.

  77. 77
    The Tim says:

    Yes Steve @ 76 – Congratulations, Columbo. Not that it’s a secret or anything.

    A few things you don’t know, though.

    1) Although the website is still up, she hasn’t done any work in 2+ years. When she was active I even advertised for her on the sidebar.

    2) Even if my wife were still doing real estate photography, that wouldn’t make the photos I post on “Real Actual Listing Photos” any less silly.

    3) Yes, I work for Redfin, and yes, Redfin has used Vicaso’s photo services in the past as well. In fact, I have many Redfin listings in my massive Czech Sky collection. If I pretended that Redfin never posted anything silly, or called out other agents or brokerages by name, maybe you would have a point.

    Merry Christmas.

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