House Prep Tips

Good real estate photos don’t happen by chance.  They of course involve a good photographer with good equipment.  But quality photos are also the result of some elbow grease from the owners and/or the realtor.  In order to photograph a home in its best light, some prep work needs to be done before the photo shoot.  Real estate photographers shoot a property as-is.  So when scheduling a shoot, a good cleaning/decluttering is in order before the day of the photo shoot.

What follows are some “best practices” in getting the most from your real estate photos:

General tips no matter the room

▢   Reduce, reduce, reduce:  You don’t want the house to be completely empty, but the less in the house, the better.  Lived in houses have too much clutter for a good real estate photo, so work with the owner to clear as much clutter as possible.

▢   A fresh cleaning: Sweep the floors, clean the windows, and dust everything before the shoot.  And make sure to “erase” the patterns left in carpet after the vacuum has been run.

▢   Lighting: On the day of the shoot, turn on all the lights and replace any burned out bulbs.  The color temperature of the lighting is important in photography, and today's modern lighting can be complicated.  Try to make sure all the lights look the same in a given space (some bulbs are warmer or more yellow in color, while others are more daylight balanced or white in color).

▢   De-personalize: Nothing should be visible of a personal nature.  No family photos, no mail, no wood lettering on the walls in the kid’s room spelling out “Johnny”.

▢   De-mammalize: Be it owners or pets, it is best that none are home at the time of the shoot.  All food bowls, cages, leashes, toys, beds, terrariums, scratching posts, et cetera should be hidden.  Also remove any furniture that has pet damage.


Front Exterior

▢  Remove any cars from the driveway and from the street in front of the property.

▢  Make sure the yard is freshly mowed and the hedges trimmed.

▢  The driveway and all walkways should be swept.

▢   Remove any newspapers from the driveway.

▢  Put the garden hose away.

▢   Close the garage door.



▢   Replace any faded pillows/cushions on outdoor furniture.

▢   Remove any debris and ash from the fire pit.

▢   Remove the pool cleaning robot and put any other cleaning tools away.

▢   Make sure the pool is clean.

▢   Put the pool cover away.

▢   Put pool toys away.

▢   Make sure trash cans are not visible.

▢   A grill should be clean and closed.

▢   If you have a fountain, turn it on.

▢   Put any yard tools away.

▢   Put the garden hose away.



▢   Make sure the kitchen counter is clear of most appliances, cutting boards, etc.  Less clutter makes things look more spacious.  However, don't leave the counters completely vacant as that makes things look less inviting.

▢   A colorful bowl of fruit may be nice, or a cookbook on a rack.  Fresh flowers are always nice.

▢   Put all dishes away.  Clean or dirty, there should be no dishes in dish racks or the sink.

▢   Clear the dining room table.  Maybe just have a centerpiece with flowers.  

▢   Straighten chairs and place them evenly around the table.


Living room

▢   Remove magazine racks.

▢   De-clutter the fireplace mantle.

▢   Make sure fireplace is clean, with no burned wood or ash.  Make sure area just above the fireplace opening is not covered in soot.

▢   Turn the ceiling fan off, but leave the light on.



▢   Make all beds and fluff all pillows.

▢   Remove personal items on nightstands.

▢   Remove all charging cables/docks.

▢   Remove items under the bed that show.

▢   Close all closet doors.

▢   Turn the ceiling fan off, but leave the light on.



▢   Clean soap scum off of glass shower doors.

▢   Don’t leave out the soap/soap dish.  Hide all toiletries.

▢   Put out fresh towels.

▢   Make sure there is toilet paper on the roll.

▢   Remove floor mats, toilet mats & toilet lid covers.

▢   Put all toilet seats down.