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Preparing a Home for Photography

Establishing a home’s curb appeal begins with the photographs. A clean, well-staged home is more important than the technical quality of the photos. Homes are photographed as-is on the day of the shoot, so all cleaning and staging must be done prior to the photographer’s arrival. Here are some guidelines for preparing a home for a photo shoot.


• Remove for sale sign, if present.

• Driveways, sidewalks, porches, and patios should be swept and dry.

• Lawn and yard maintenance should be done within three days of the photo shoot.

• Do not water the day of the photo shoot.

• Fresh mulch in flowerbeds and around trees looks great.

• Close garage door.

• No cars in the driveway or on the street directly in front of the home.

• Clean all windows.

• Remove flags and home security signs.

• Put water hoses, trash cans, empty planters, planters with dead plants, toys, yard tools, pool cleaning supplies, bikes, etc. in the garage or other area where they cannot be seen from anywhere around the home.

• Pools and spas should look inviting and be free of covers, cleaning devices, toys, floats, and leaves.

• Water features such as fountains and waterfalls should be turned on.

• Remove grill covers and clean exterior of grill. If the grill doesn’t look appealing the cover can be left on.

• Pick up dog poop the day of the photo shoot, or it may be tracked in the home.

• Remove covers from water faucets.

• Clean and stage outdoor furniture. If a hose is used to clean furniture, do so at least a day before the photo shoot to allow everything to dry.

• Outdoor umbrellas should be closed (a crooked umbrella looks more crooked if open).

General Indoor Prep

• Clean all floors.

• Dust everything including light fixtures and ceiling fans the day before the photo shoot.

• Hide all trashcans.

• Turn off ceiling fans.

• Turn off TVs and other screens.

• Turn on all lights.

• Remove photos and other items to depersonalize the home.

• All surfaces, including shelves, should be neat and tidy. Declutter as much as possible.

• Hide portable fans and heaters.

• Hide all remotes.

• Hide power chords as much as possible.

• Clean windows.

• Replace burned out lightbulbs with bulbs of the same color temperature as existing bulbs.

• The photographer will determine the degree to which blinds/curtains should be open.


• Pets should be secured and out of sight for the duration of the photo shoot for both interior and exterior photos.

• Hide all signs of pets including dishes, beds, crates, carriers, scratching posts, litter boxes, food, and toys.

• Pick up dog poop the day of the photo shoot, or it may be tracked in the home.


• All beds should be made.

• Dressers, nightstands, and other bedroom furniture should be cleared of personal items, photographs of people, and clutter. The fewer items showing, the better.

• Remove posters and photographs of people from walls.

• Turn off ceiling fans.


• Bathroom cleanliness is extremely important. All bathroom surfaces and grout should be as clean as possible. Faucets and related fixtures should be spot free.

• Mirrors and other glass should be free of spots and streaks. • Remove all items from bathroom counters, tubs, and showers except for decorative dispensers and soaps.

• Put toilet seats down and remove decorative toilet seat covers (unless the cover is hiding damage)

• Replace old shower curtains or remove them altogether.

• Remove all bathroom rugs

• Towels should be neatly folded on towel holders or put away. Visible towels should match.


• Kitchen cleanliness is extremely important. All kitchen surfaces including countertops, cabinets, vent hoods, faucets and appliances should be clean and free of spots and streaks.

• Countertops should be decluttered. Some appliances and décor are ok on counters.

• No dirty dishes, dirty cookware, sponges, cleaning brushes, cleaning supplies, dish soap, or hand soap should be visible.

• Remove everything from the outside and top of the refrigerator.

• Remove dish towels and throw rugs.


• Offices should be decluttered. All paperwork and mail should be hidden.

• Turn off computers and hide wires to the extent possible.

• Remove photos of people and other items to depersonalize the space.

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