Add a warm, welcoming glow to any real estate photograph by learning how to turn daytime shoot to dusk.   

There’s a reason why photographers and cinematographers call dusk ‘the golden hour’. That’s the time when the harsh white light of the day softens, the colors come out and everything in the frame is washed with a golden glow of light that makes everything look “picture perfect” (pun intended). 

Most real estate photographs look better at dusk, and if you can’t shoot at dusk, you should learn how to recreate the look of a dusk shoot digitally, or work with a partner like PhotoUp who can do it for you. 

How to Edit A Day to Dusk Image for Real Estate Photo Editing
Before: Dull looking real estate photo
How to Edit A Day to Dusk Image for Real Estate Photo Editing
After: Yellow Sky – Day to Dusk Photo Edit by PhotoUp
After: Purple Sky – Day to Dusk Photo Edit by PhotoUp

Shooting a day to dusk image is only half the battle. There are additional steps to remember when editing a day to dusk shoot. Everyone knows that you need to transform the sky to an evening scene, but lots of people forget that you also need to work on a house’s interior and exterior lighting to ensure that it remains the star of the show. 

The last thing you want is a sky so pretty that it attracts attention away from the property you’re trying to sell. Make sure to keep a viewer’s attention on the focus of the image, the house itself. 

How to Create a Day to Dusk Edit in Photoshop: 

Watch along with the video while you follow the steps outlined below. 

Turning Day to Dusk with Lightroom and Photoshop.  

  1. Import your image into Lightroom and do basic adjustments.
  2. Make it a little darker as its a dusk image.
  3. Create a virtual copy.
  4. On that copy adjust the glow of the windows to make it look like the light is on.
  5. Boost the exposure and temperature to create a glowing effect. 
  6. Now move them into Photoshop.
  7. In Photoshop make the window layer on top and add an inverted mask (Press and hold the ALT key while clicking the Masking button).
  8. Select the windows using the Pen tool (P), then press the Delete Button.
  9. Now add an Outer Glow using the Layer style.
  10. Within the Layer Style, use the sliders to adjust to an appropriate level.

Once you’re happy with the windows of the house, it’s time to work on the sky:

  1. Duplicate the base photo.
  2. Go to the Channel panel and duplicate the blue channel.
  3. Adjust the levels in the Sky by pressing CTRL – L on your keyboard.
  4. Select the non-sky area, make them black and use the Dodge Brush (O) to lighten the sky .
  5. Now you want to load the channel as a selection, then click the Masking button.
  6. Now import the dusk sky photo that you want to use behind the building.
  7. Adjust its position and make sure to blend it properly with the house. E.g you may want to use the Burn tool to darken the house overall.
  8. Then save the new image. 
  9. Back in Lightroom, you can make one or two adjustments to the white balance until you’re happy with the final product. 

Keep in mind that you’re showcasing a home for a potential buyer and not trying to create an award-winning nature photograph. The dusk scene is there to show off the best features of the property and put the viewers in a calm, welcomed state of mind so they look favorably on the listing. The goal is to make a home buyer think of themselves living in this incredible home and taking in a beautiful evening sunset.  
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