Last Updated on October 21, 2020 by Jose Barrios

Home » Guides » 3 Must-Have Editing Software for Real Estate Photography

* Update: Adobe has released it’s Sky Replacement tool for Photoshop, this makes Luminar unnecessary for your real estate photography workflow in my opinion. You can check out my post explaining more about it here.

You can edit your photos with just about anything, but you only need three pieces of software: Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, and Luminar.

There are many guides out there that mention many other platforms, but in my experience as a real estate photographer, you only need these three.

I guess that most people out there writing about photo editing software are not photographers or much worse, are not even real estate photographers.

Why these three photo editors?

Every YouTube video or online guide is for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. To use something different is way too complicated and not worth the effort. Other editing platforms might be similar or even better, but for photographing houses, these three are the best.

Lightroom Classic

This flagship product from Adobe was created for quick and easy editing of large amounts of photos.

The main features that make it stand out:

  • Edit your photos in a non-destructive way
  • Easily create and use presets
  • Batch processing of images
  • Create Collections and Collection Sets
  • Add tags, ratings, and descriptions to photos
  • Integrates with Photoshop and Luminar
  • Lightroom Classic allows you to handle very large catalogs

Unlike other photographers, when you photograph houses every day, you can end up with tens of thousands of photos, so being able to sort your collections is a must.

Seamless integration with Photoshop is also a very big plus since not every photo can be edited in Lightroom.


Photoshop has been the standard when it comes to photo editing for years. No other software comes even close. For real estate photos Photoshop is indispensable since many real estate photo edits cannot be done without it.

Common editing techniques that need Photoshop:

  • Window Pulls
  • Flambients
  • Blending flash images
  • Content-Aware Fill
  • Color cast removal

There are many more things you can do in Photoshop, to many to list here, but as a real estate photographer Photoshop is another of that must-have software you cannot live without.

Luminar 4

While not an essential piece of software, it has one feature that is worth the price: Sky Replacement.

When out and about photographing houses not every day will have optimal weather. You might have a cloudy overcast day or a bright blue sky with no clouds at all.

Before I used this software, I had to do a sky replacement in Photoshop, not an easy or quick thing to do. It could take 15 minutes or more to get it just right, and when you must deliver a couple of hundred photos in a day, time is of the essence.

Then Luminar 4 came along, after trying out the demo I had to buy this software. It allowed me to replace with ease the sky in a couple of minutes. No more messing with Photoshop.

Even though the results are not always perfect, Luminar 4 delivers most of the time an acceptable image for the MLS, allowing you to work even on cloudy days.

Its AI feature does a great job at masking trees, leaves, and other objects creating an almost perfect sky replacement.

The best features of Luminar 4 when used for real estate photography

  • Sky replacement
  • Low price
  • Onetime payment
  • It saves you time!

What is the cost?

The Adobe software is subscription-based, meaning it has a monthly fee. The upside is that Adobe gives the latest versions when they come out with all the new features at no extra cost.

Considering that Adobe is constantly making their products better, this is a great feature to have.

Luminar 4 is made by Skylum Software, their model is based on a single time purchase, but if a new version comes out (Like Luminar 5) you will have to buy a new license.

Cost breakdown:

  • Luminar 4: $89 one time price
  • Creative Cloud Photography: $9.99 a month, it includes Photoshop Lightroom, Photoshop Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, Photoshop Express (for your tablet), and Photoshop Camera for your smartphone.


Even though there are many alternatives out there you could use, the reality here is that you are running a business, and to make a profit you must be fast and efficient.

The cost of all three is quite inexpensive when you consider just how much they can produce for your business. All three put together are less than $20 a month.

The combination of these three platforms will take your photography business to the next level, enabling you to deliver photos fast to your customers.