Preparing the Home for Photography

Our pricing model is based on our ability to arrive, set up, and shoot the home in a certain amount of time without spending significant amounts of time to stage the home, move furniture, hide clutter, or clean the house in any way. The preparation of the home is the responsibility of the agent and the owner. We will make suggestions and do a little straightening ourselves, but please don’t rely on us to move large objects, clean things, or do anything that would place us in a position of liability should something be broken or lost.

Let us know if your home contains valuables such as guns, artwork, or collectibles that should be hidden from the image. We can Photoshop these images without having to move them so that their location and existence is hidden from public view.

Here is a handy checklist to pass along to the owner to help us prepare the home for photographs:


  • Mow and rake the yard if necessary
  • Contain pets in the garage or out of sight
  • Remove all vehicles from driveway and do not park directly in front of the house
  • Remove all toys and equipment from driveway and yard such as basketball goals and trampolines
  • Move garbage cans out of sight
  • Remove all garden tools, sprinklers, and hoses
  • Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and patios
  • Straighten deck furniture and cushions, open umbrellas, clear other items
  • Remove grill cover and clean grill (exterior)
  • Remove propane tanks or hide them under the grill
  • Clean the pool and pool area
  • Turn on all pool lights and water features
  • Check all outdoor light fixtures to be sure they work (not necessary for daytime photos)
  • Turn on all exterior lights (not necessary for daytime photos)
  • Turn off all exterior fans


  • Remove piles of newspapers and magazines
  • Make sure all light bulbs work
  • For added appeal, make sure all light fixtures contain the same color temperature bulbs (for example, all tungsten or all fluorescent, but not a mix of each)
  • Turn on all interior lights and lamps; if it burns, it’s turned on, then we can turn them off one by one if necessary
  • Turn off all ceiling fans and room fans
  • De-clutter rooms that may be excessively furnished or heavily used, such as the study, library, or extra bedrooms
  • Remove personal photos that you do not want shown in public photographs
  • Turn off televisions and computers
  • Hide remote controls and similar nick nacks
  • Vacuum carpets and sweep hard floors
  • Mop hard floors if necessary
  • Remove pet toys, crates, kennels, litter boxes, etc, from main rooms
  • Wash windows, mirrors, glass tables, etc
  • Remove all dishes from sink and kitchen
  • Place scrubbers, dish soap, etc, in the bottom of the sink
  • Open all shades and blinds
  • Hide trash cans and Kleenex boxes
  • Light and extinguish all candles (an fresh/unburned candle looks overly staged)


  • Place trash cans out of view or in pantry/laundry
  • Remove all personal items from the outside of the refrigerator
  • De-clutter stovetop and counter tops
  • Stow all small appliances such as toasters or blenders (if possible)
  • Hide soaps and cleaning supplies
  • Hide dish towels
  • Clear sink of dishes
  • Put away dish rack or draining rack
  • Organize open shelves or cabinets that are visible when closed
  • For extra appeal, place a bowl of fresh fruit

Dining Room

  • Straighten dining room chairs
  • Add centerpiece such as candles or small flowers
  • For extra appeal, set the table with your best dishes, napkins, silverware

Living Room/Great Room/Family Room

  • Hide all remotes
  • Hide all cables and cords as best you can
  • Turn on all lamps and lights
  • Turn off ceiling fans


  • Make the beds
  • Arrange decorative pillows
  • Straighten comforters as best you can
  • Make sure nothing is visible under the bed
  • Put away clothing, shoes, etc
  • Clear the bedside tables of all books and clocks
  • Clear surfaces of clutter
  • Remove any bedside rugs, cushions, or steps


  • Make each bathroom surface shine as much as possible
  • Hang fresh towels
  • Clear counters of toiletries
  • Remove shampoo and bath products
  • Remove floor scales, trash cans, laundry baskets
  • Remove floor rugs
  • Remove any loud/very colorful toilet covers
  • Clean mirrors and glass doors thoroughly
  • For extra appeal, light candles near bath tub or place flowers or other small items near tub


  • Remove pool hose, cleaners, filters, chlorine floats
  • Turn on pool lights and all water features
  • Remove all toys and floating devices
  • Blow/sweep all leaves and debris
  • Place cushions on chairs
  • Straighten deck chairs
  • Start the hot tub jets