Preparing a Home for Real Estate Photography

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When you have your house photographed for a real estate listing both the exterior and interior of the home, including all major rooms, will be photographed. Homeowners and agents can help make the photography process go smoothly and make the home looks its best in the photographs by doing some preparation before the photographer arrives.
Keep these things in mind as you prepare the home for photography:

  • The better the home shows in photographs to potential buyers the more likely they will want to view it and buy it.
  • You are trying to show off the home's best features; a lot of "stuff" can distract from those features.
  • When the photo shoot begins I like to start with the front and back exteriors. After all the exterior photos I move to the interior photos starting at the front door and moving through the home as you would walk through it (typically moving from the front door and living areas to kitchen and dinning areas to master bedroom and bath and then to secondary rooms and baths)

If You Do Nothing Else, Do These Things:

  • Exteriors: make sure there are no vehicles in the driveway
  • Window shades shutters and blinds:
  • Horizontal blinds and shutters- its usually best to keep horizontal blinds down but open with the blades in a flat position so to see the exterior. The exception is when you do not want to see outside the window (side of a house when a neighbor’s house is visible, etc.) In those cases turn the shutter blades up a little.
  • Vertical blinds - usually look best fully open.
  • The most important thing is that a any one wall with multiple window coverings are adjusted all the same.
  • Have all lights in the house turned on before scheduled photo shoot.
  • Replace all burned out light bulbs.  Good lighting is key.
  • Turn off the ceiling fans
  • Pick up throw rugs and runners in entryways, kitchens, and bathrooms so that the floor can be clearly seen.
  • Remove excess furnishings and knick-knacks from rooms.
  • Large amounts of furniture and decorations do not generally photograph well and can distract from the homes features. Hide the clutter. Less in more.
  • Hide bright colorful objects (baby toys, workout balls, shower and tub shampoos, tooth brushes, etc.) these bright colored objects can be a distraction in finished photos.
  • Lastly, to get the best possible photographs no should be in the area or room being photographed.
  • Reasons: so not to have reflections and shadows of people in mirrors and glass.

Home Exterior:

  • Remove all cars, boats, RVs, motorcycles etc. from the driveways and do not park directly in front of the house.
  • Move garbage and recycling cans out of sight.
  • Remove all garden tools, hoses, and clutter.
  • Pick up after your pets. 
  • Mow the grass, rake up leaves and debris, pull weeds and remove any dead vegetation.
  • If you are feeling ambitious, plant some fresh flowers in empty planters and pots.
  • Sweep driveways, sidewalks and patios.

Swimming Pools and Spas:

  • Make sure they are clean.  Sweep dirt off the bottom and skim off the debris floating on top. 
  • Remove the cover, pool sweep, floating chlorine dispenser and pool toys.
  • Straighten lounge chairs, put away cleaning tools, and set up the patio umbrella if you have one.
  • Turn on pool light(s), waterfalls and spa bubbles.

Living & Family Room:

  • Remove newspapers and magazines and put away books.
  • Tuck the remote controls in a draw to get them out of sight.
  • Conceal exposed cables and cords as best that you can.
  • Remove clutter, personal photos, the kids toys, etc. from bookshelves, tables and the floor.
  • Dust and vacuum.  Dust can show in a photograph.
  • Wash any glass surfaces including table tops, cabinet doors and windows.  Smudges and dirt on glass will be noticeable in the photographs.
  • Straighten pillows and throws (give those pillows the interior designer pillow chop).


  • Make the beds neatly; straighten the bed spread and pillows. 
  • Tidy up, dust and vacuum.
  • Pick up and put away clothes and shoes.
  • Remove items from bedside tables  books, magazines, pictures, clock radios, etc.
  • In the kids rooms put excess toys out of sight, take posters and drawings off the walls, and straighten up overall.


  • Put small appliances, knife blocks and kitchen gadgets away and off the counters
  • Remove photos, notes, papers and magnets from the refrigerator.
  • Clean the major appliances  refrigerator, oven, stove top, range hood, and dishwasher.
  • Wipe down the counter tops.
  • Don't leave any dirty dishes in the sink or sponges, dish towels, dish soap or the like near the sink.
  • Move trash cans out of site.

Dining Room:

  • Dust the furniture and vacuum the floors.
  • Setting the table with nice dinnerware, napkins and a centerpiece can give a homey feel.
  • If you have a China cabinet make sure things are straight and tidy inside.


  • Clear off the counter tops; toiletries, tissues, hair products, just about everything should be put away.
  • Remove personal care products and children's bath toys from the shower and tub.
  • Make sure towels are folded neatly and are straight on the towel bars.
  • Close the lid on the toilets.
  • Mirrors and shower doors should be clean.

Odds and Ends:

  • Turn on all the lights, inside and out.
  • Turn off the ceiling fans.
  • Open the blinds, shades and curtains.

Valuables in the House:

  • If you have items of value at your home or business that you don't want photographed (sports memorabilia, art, etc.) please let me know.
  • Protect the family of the home by removing children’s names from their bedroom wall if it is large enough to be legible in a photograph.  
  • The address and detailed pictures of the home or business location will be online. Think of other details that should not be visible online.

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