Home Preparation Cheat Sheet

The goal of professional photography is to show your home in its best light.  Because these photos will be used online to market your home, it should be clean, decluttered and as neutral a space as possible.  You want potential buyers to be able to see themselves in your home.  In preparation for professional photography of your home, here are a few tips and guidelines to help you prepare for the Photographer.

  • The standard photo shoot typically takes no more than 30 minutes for most homes (photos only). Please note that we reserve up to 90 minutes on site for Luxury Property Photography.

  • The typical photography package includes still photos of the interior AND exterior of the home.

  • The Photographer will photograph each room, including the main living areas, kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms.

  • Closet and garage interiors are generally not photographed and can be used to store items you do not want seen in the photos.

  • The Photographer will choose the angles and shots they feel best show off the home, but will be happy to take any photos you request.

Lights: On or Off?

In general, we tell most home owners to have lights on.  However, it is very important that all the bulbs not only be in working order, but also be the same color temperature.  Modern LED bulbs can be purchased in varying temperature ranges of Kelvin:  from cool (bright white) to warm (golden/orange-ish) range.  When replacing bulbs in your fixtures, it is important to ensure that all bulbs in a fixture and room be the same color.  Different color bulbs is very obvious in photos.

Your photographer may suggest photographing your home with lights off if the color scheme of your home is a cooler, neutral or modern farmhouse look like grey and white.  Edison bulbs, which are very popular with this type of look, tend to emit a very orange/warm light.  This decor often photographs better with lights turned off.

The above example shows a modern designed grey/neutral tone kitchen photographed with lights off.

The above example shows warm-toned kitchen photographed with lights on.

General Interior Preparation

  • Have the home cleaned, staged and ready to photograph. Vacuuming, mopping, etc. should all be completed before the photographer arrives.  If you wonder if an item will show up in the pictures, it will. Best to hide it away if you don’t want it shown.
  • Light dust does generally not appear in pictures.  That being said, dusty footprints on hardwood floors and hand prints/dog slobber on glass windows will appear.

  • Unless your garage is a finished workshop, a showplace for high end cars, or has some other interesting feature that will help sell your home, we will most likely NOT be photographing it.  This is a great place to store items that you don’t want shown.

  • In most cases, turn on all lights (overheads, lamps, under cabinet, decorative, etc.) and make sure that ceiling fans have lights on, but the fan is in the off position.

  • Open all window blinds and drapes. Mini-blinds can be left down and simply turned so that you can see out (they don’t need to be pulled up).

  • While a few decorative accent pillows are ok for sofas and chairs, throw blankets, afghans and other creature comforts should be hidden away in coat closets.

  • Bookshelves should be staged and de-cluttered.

  • TVs should be turned OFF and remotes should be hidden away.

  • While its tempting to have windows open on beautiful days, windows should be closed for photos.

Kitchen Preparation

  • Kitchen photos generally have the top number of views on a tour, so it is vitally important to make this space shine!

  • Unless otherwise directed by your realtor or a professional stager, please make sure that all clutter from countertops is removed and hidden away. This includes items such as mail & mail holders, keys, dishes, drying racks, dish rags/towels, dish soap, toasters, coffee pots, etc.

  • Island centerpieces can be used if they are small and do not obstruct the view across the room.  Small fruit bowls are fine, but large floral arrangements often block the view of other kitchen features.

  • Please remove kitchen towels from front of ovens, dishwashers or cabinets.

  • Stainless steel polish should be used on any stainless appliances.

  • Chrome or stainless polish should be used on any applicable faucets or sink fixtures.

Bathroom Preparation

  • Bathrooms, especially the master bath, should be decluttered as well.

  • Counters should be clear of all items except hand soap.  Blow dryers, curling irons, toothbrushes/toothpaste, makeup, and personal care items should all be hidden away.

  • Please make sure to remove any dirty bath towels as well as bath robes from hooks and towel bars.  In addition, any over-the-door hooks/hangers for towels and robes should be removed as well.

  • Glass showers should be completely cleaned and clear.  Glass should be descaled and transparent.

  • All shampoos and conditioners should be removed from the shower for photos.


We love dogs, and other animals, but in order to keep your space as neutral as possible for potential buyers (some are allergic and some simply don’t like pets), please make sure that the following guidelines regarding pets are followed for photography.

  • Hide away all traces of your animals.  This includes, but may not be limited to:

    • Dog Crates

    • Cages

    • Litter Boxes

    • Pet Food Bowls

    • Pet Toys

    • Scratching Posts

    • Pet beds

    • Urine Stains

    • Any other pet related items

  • If you’re not able to be home during the appointment, please make sure that your dog is either removed from the property or secured in a crate in the part of the home that will not be photographed (garage, basement room, etc.).

  • Dogs that are outside tend to stand at the back door, which creates visible nose and/or paw prints on your glass doors and also means your dog could show up in photos.

Exterior Preparation

We recommend working with a landscaper to make sure your yard looks as tidy as possible. Here are some suggestions for making the exterior look its best:

  • Freshly mowed grass, new mulch, edged lawns and trimmed fencelines help give a great first impression.

  • Hide all garbage cans in the garage.  They are often visible on the side of the of the home.

  • Close garage doors.

  • Remove vehicles from the driveway (park them down the street so they aren’t in the photos).

  • Hide away balls, game nets, toys, etc. (they can go in the garage)

  • In the warm months, patio umbrellas should be opened.  In cold months, patio umbrellas should be removed and hidden away.

  • Patio furniture should be cleaned and staged; cushions should be cleaned and properly arranged on furniture.

  • If you have a pool, please make sure it is clean, open and all hoses, pool vacuums, cords and toys are hidden away.

  • We recommend reaching out to your past clients to see if they have any referrals for winter listing.  If yes, have them photographed in the fall instead of in the winter when the property may be snow covered and grey.