This extreme example out of Sydney, Australia (http://petapixel.com/2016/02/16/real-estate-photo-illegal-false-advertising/
) raises the question of what is ethical and what is not when it comes to editing images to hide unpleasant details about real estate listings.
Although the responsibility to disclose material facts about the home lies only with the home seller and their agent, we photographers must ask ourselves what, if any, alterations are acceptable when creating an image for Real Estate purposes.
At Pierre Galant photography, we have devised the following guidelines when it comes to this question:
It is acceptable to remove or enhance objects that are temporary such as parked cars, trash cans, toys, garden hoses, graffitti, or even yellow grass that would easily become green with some watering.
We also deem acceptable to remove permanent objects that obstruct the view of the home that we are trying to depict such as street lamps, power lines, tree branches etc.
What we do not remove are permanent features that do not hide the home, and are a material fact about the home itself -- Power lines and objects that obstruct the view from
the home, presence of neighboring houses, cracks on the home and driveway etc.
And since the image from Australia also raises the question of sky replacement, we should note that we do practice sky replacement and enhancement when is adds visual interest to the photograph. Here is Los Angeles, the sky is so often bright blue, that we don't mind adding a few high clouds to break the monotony of an all-blue sky.
Take a look: