Photography Prep Guide for Homeowners

A practical guide on getting your home ready for photos

Let's be honest, just the thought of getting your house ready to sell is overwhelming. Then your agent tells you they've booked a time for a professional photographer to come take pictures your house and then the pressure is really on. 

What do you do?!

Well, There's a lot of deep cleaning you probably could do, and there's also the reality of what you have the time, capacity and energy to actually do. 

This guide is for you!

It is not an exhaustive list, but it outlines some of things that make me smile (because I notice the care you took!) when I walk into a space to photograph it.

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Indoor spaces (in general):

  • Declutter as much as possible! I'm emphasizing this because it is the single most important thing you can do that will have the most impact on photos. Less is almost always more! Decluttering may also include furniture if there's too much in a particular room. Rooms that are packed full of stuff generally don't photograph as well as spaces with a more minimalistic vibe.
  • Remove personal photos from walls, surfaces, tabletops or dressers.
  • If you have blinds or curtains, have them open, and have them as directionally uniform as possible in each room.
  • Turn televisions & ceiling fans off.
  • Place all indoor garbage cans out of view or stash them in a closet.
  • Hide cables & cords as much as you can.
  • If you have young kids and there are child-proof locks on your cabinets or cupboards or have baby gates that can be removed for the photos, please remove them. 
  • Kids toys: declutter and stash away as many as you can. I have young kids, too, and believe me, I completely understand how challenging this can be and I realize the size limitations of closets!
  • Do you have pets? Awesome! Me too. However for photos, remove food & water dishes, beds & toys.


  • Clear off counter tops. Remove small appliances, cutting boards, dish racks, dishtowels from the front of the stove, paper towel holders, storage organizers, etc.
  • Remove notes, paper, photos and other personal items from the refrigerator. 
  • If you have a stainless steel appliances that have obvious fingerprints or watermarks, wipe down & clean them off. 


  • Make all beds & tidy bedrooms. 
  • Remove the random 'stuff' that tends to collect on bedside tables: tissue boxes, cell phone chargers, lip balm, lotions, etc. 
  • If you're using space under the bed as storage, make sure nothing is close to the edges of the bed and immediately visible. To double check you're 'safe', stand in the doorway and take a look into the bedroom from knee height.


  • Clean & clear off the counter tops in the bathroom. Remove soaps, toothbrushes, etc. 
  • Make sure the mirror is clean & toilet seat is down. 
  • Remove toilet brushes, plungers, potty training aids and garbage cans. 
  • Remove soap & shampoo bottles and other bath supplies from the shower & tub units - especially important if there see-through glass doors into the shower area. 
  • Hang a minimal number of fresh towels on towel rods and remove all others including bath mats (from the back of the door, etc.)

Outdoor spaces:

  • Remove vehicles from the driveway and don't park directly in front of the house. 
  • If you have garbage or recycling containers outside, make sure they're not visible from the street. 
  • Sweep (or shovel!) walkways, driveways, decks & patios.
  • Mow & rake the yard. 
  • Remove garden tools, make sure garden hoses are coiled and sprinklers are away.

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Really, it's mostly about decluttering as much as possible.

Sure, there are a lots of little decor & designer accents that can go a long way. A vase of fresh flowers, a bowl of fruit, a quality coffee-table book or a well placed throw blanket on a couch - these things can go a long way in adding staging elements that will add some visual appeal to your images - but exercise caution in going overboard. 

Too much of a good thing and it can start to look un-natural and over the top.  

At the end of the day, neat, tidy spaces are going to present and photograph the best.

If you have any questions, or you're looking for a quality set of images of your property or project - Feel free to ask!

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