Photo real is an interesting subject...having downloaded and used tons of the stuff over a period time, I have actually stopped using it. I do not fault anyone who takes the time to develop and share, or charge...it's just a matter of personal preference.
FWIW, even Tile Proxy, which I think is one of the better approaches to photo real, has its own technical limitations and requirements which I think makes it as much an experiment as a usable program addition. btw, i have tremendous respect for Christian and others who have done so much for the community to make it a reality.
The truth is that the hobby has made tremendous strides in realism of sky, clouds and water...as well as airport textures, runways, tarmacs...etc. But, I honestly think that as good as it is, most of our scenery still has a drawn in, if not cartoon like look. there are exceptions, and programs such as utx, gex, rex (all of which I use), have helped improve the visual look of simulated flight.
So, there is my two or three cents on the subject....the beauty of our hobby is its versatility and permutations for each of us.