Prepare your home

Tips to prepare your home for the best real estate photos possible

Why to prep for photos?

The majority of home buyers start their search online, so it is important to make the first impression count! We want the photos of your home to be as good as they can be. To make sure that happens, you need to prepare the property for the photo shoot. We recommend using a professional home staging service for the best results.

Keep in mind the most important things when preparing your home for photographing

  • Clean the house and the yard. Dust and vacuum, make beds, clean countertops and remove all items from the shower.
  • De-clutter as much as possible (LESS IS MORE)! Remove all magazines, refrigerator magnets, dishes, towels, shoes etc., and hide all trash cans.
  • De-personalize as much as you can. Remove all (or most of) personal photos and seasonal/holiday decorations.

When at the location, we will photograph the house as it is. If you want us to come other time, it will incur an additional charge.


  • Wait for the house to be cleaned and prepared for the photo shoot
  • Move or rearrange furniture
  • Pick-up or move toys, tools or yard items
  • Make beds, clean, dust or de-clutter
  • Use Photoshop to remove/fix vehicles, power lines, damaged walls, ...
  • Touch personal bathroom supplies (shampoo, soap, tooth brushes, towels, ...)


Please, follow these tips to prepare your home for the best real estate photos possible.

  • General

  • Use professional home staging service, if you can
  • Thoroughly clean whole house (vacuum carpet, mop hard floors, clean countertops, clean windows)
  • Replace all burned out light bulbs
  • If possible, use bulbs of the same temperature (ALL incandescent or ALL compact fluorescent)
  • Turn ON all overhead lights and lamps
  • Turn OFF all ceiling fans, TVs and computer screens
  • Open blinds/window treatments to let in outside light
  • Remove personal photographs (or replace with general landscape/object photographs)
  • Make all beds
  • Remove small floor rugs to reveal actual flooring
  • Hide (place in closets) all shoes and jackets

  • Front exterior

  • Remove cars from driveway and front of home
  • Close garage doors
  • Clean up landscaping (mow, trim shrubs, clear leaves)
  • Remove empty planters
  • Use broom to remove cobwebs from eaves and door frames
  • Remove/hide visible water hoses
  • Remove/hide toys, sport equipment (balls, soccer goals, etc.) and yard machines
  • Back yard

  • Clean porch, deck and patio and tidy up outdoor tables/chairs/cushions
  • Pillows/cushions should be fresh, not faded
  • Clear out kid's toys, balls, frisbees, etc.
  • Clean pool, remove pool vacuum/cleaner hose and hide pool cleaning supplies
  • Turn on pool fountains/water features
  • Remove visible water hoses
  • Remove trash cans

  • Kitchen

  • Clear countertops completely. No knife blocks, baking supplies, mail, etc.
  • Leave out max of one small appliance (ex. coffee maker or toaster)
  • Remove magnets, papers, photos, etc. from refrigerator
  • Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet
  • Remove all dishes from sink (place in dishwasher or cabinets)
  • Dining

  • Clear table, dust and polish the table top
  • Use decorative place setting if available
  • Feature one center piece such as a bouquet of flowers
  • Straighten all chairs and space them evenly
  • Remove child seats/booster chairs
  • Family/living

  • Remove all magazines, papers, mail, etc.
  • De-clutter fireplace mantel/hearth (no more than 5 items, including art)
  • Clean interior of fireplace and re-paint if needed
  • Fluff and arrange furniture pillows
  • Remove kid's toys

  • Bedroom

  • Make bed, and put decorative pillows/shams if available
  • Press bed linens and bed skirts
  • Clear nightstands of all personal items
  • Remove all phone/tablet charging cables
  • Remove all clutter from top of dressers
  • Remove family photos from walls
  • Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos
  • Bath

  • Clear countertops completely. No soap, toothbrushes, medications, deodorant, etc.
  • Put toilet seats down
  • Close closet doors
  • Remove shampoo, soap, etc. from showers and tubs
  • Remove dirty towels - leave out only new, unused towels
  • Remove floor mats


Download PDF documents with the tips to prepare your home for the best real estate photos