What is a Virtual Twilight?

What is a Virtual Twilight?
March 31, 2021 Sierra Freeman

What is a Virtual Twilight?

A Virtual Twilight, sometimes called a Virtual Dusk, is a daytime photo that has been digitally altered to look as though it was taken at sunset.

Twilight images are popular for a number of reasons; they’re cinematic – magical, even – but they also tell a story. Inside, a family settles in for the night. Could your clients be that family, someday?

But regular, onsite Twilights are also tricky to perfect. Is the weather cooperating? If the home is occupied, are the occupants able to leave for a second time so that photographers can once again enter and take photos? Is another onsite shoot within the budget?

A key advantage of Virtual Twilights is that all factors are controlled. In other words, it doesn’t matter if there’s a less-than-stellar sunset that evening or if half the lights aren’t working inside. As long as there’s a good daytime shot to use as a starting point, the virtual image can be edited to look picture-perfect every time.

Plus, Virtual Twilights can be tweaked until they’re perfect for your unique listing. If you’d prefer a sky with more pink and purple hues, we can easily add those. If you decide you’d like to have the fire pit lit, we can do that, too! With Virtual Twilights, we can easily edit until you are satisfied with the finished photo.

Are Virtual Twilights effective?

The short answer? Absolutely.

A study done by HomeJab, which compared the click-through rate of a Virtual Twilight photo vs. a daytime photo, suggests that Virtual Twilights may be 300% more effective than their daytime counterparts. When it comes to advertising in an oversaturated market, an attention-grabbing photo can make all the difference.

At Open Homes, we’ve certainly seen a sharp uptick in the popularity of Virtual Twilights this year. Compared with last year, we’ve seen a 356% increase in the number of Virtual Twilights being ordered. We’ll likely see this number continue to grow throughout the year as agents become familiar with the product and realize the many benefits of ordering Virtual Twilights.

Check out this blog post by Harry Parson, who took on a stagnant listing that had sat on the market for over a year with no interest. Parson’s first step was to revamp the home’s marketing using Virtual Twilights. After adding the virtual images to the home’s property website, the home sold in less than a week. More than that, it sold for $20,000 over asking.

Twilights are an effective marketing tool for showing off a unique facet of the home at sunset.  Similarly, Virtual Twilights are just as effective while also removing the need to return to the property for a second time.

How are Virtual Twilights made?

First, photos are taken during the day. These photos may be part of a pre-marketing shoot and show just the exterior, or they may be part of a full shoot to cover both inside and outside the house.

The daytime images will be submitted to our Creative Team that evening and your photos will be ready by 9:00am the morning after the appointment. By default, we’ll select images to turn into Virtual Twilights for you. However, if you’d rather select your own Virtual Twilight images, simply let us know and we’ll make a note to wait for your input instead of selecting for you. If you’d prefer to select your own images, just be aware that processing will take an additional business day to process.

So, how does the actual virtual magic happen? In post-processing, the daytime sky is removed and replaced with a photoshopped twilight sky, lights are added to windows, lamp posts, string lights, etc. The rest of the photo is darkened slightly so that the illuminated areas “pop” just as they would in a real Twilight image.

If you’re curious about Virtual Twilights and want to see more examples, check out our services page here.



  1. […] this year we wrote a blog post about Virtual Twilights which explained the benefits of using photoshopped “Golden Hour” photos to make listings sell […]

  2. […] this year we wrote a blog post about Virtual Twilights which explained the benefits of using photoshopped “Golden Hour” photos to make listings sell […]

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