When selling a property, first impressions really count. Since looking for a home starts with a search in online or offline listings, it is crucial for real estate photos to be high-quality to impress would-be buyers. Achieving that level of quality begins with a clean, tidy, and organized property.

Property owners can clean and organize the house themselves. Alternatively, they can ask for consultation and assistance from professional home stagers, cleaners, and interior designers to make the area ready for a photo shoot.

Check out some simple tips in preparing a home for a photo shoot. As a photographer, you can give this list to the homeowner or agent so they can prepare their properties for your shoot.


General Preparations
  1. The best look starts with a clean, organized space. Clean the house thoroughly. That means vacuuming the carpet, mopping hardwood floors, wiping furniture, and more. Get rid of unwanted items such as junk, shoes, and cardboard boxes.
  2. Remove personal photographs and replace them with ones that feature landscapes, general objects, abstracts, and more. Do the same with personal collections and items.
  3. Arrange furniture and appliances so that cables and outlets are hidden from view if possible.
  4. Fix sofas, beds, couches, and other upholstered furniture. Make sure they are wrinkle-free, and the pillows are arranged neatly.
  5. Use bulbs of the same temperature (e.g. daylight, incandescent, etc.) on all lamps and other light sources. Doing so creates a uniform glow when everything is turned on.
  6. Open windows and blinds to let natural light in.
  7. Turn off televisions and computer screens to avoid unwanted glare.


Common Rooms (Dining Room, Living Room, Den)
  1. Polish counters, tables, and podiums so they shine.
  2. Put a centerpiece on tables such as a bouquet of flowers, a tray of scented candles, or a sculpture. A centerpiece makes the image more cohesive.
  3. Space the chairs and ottomans evenly.
  4. If you wish to use magazines, books, and journals as accessories, choose ones whose colors complement the room. Arrange two or three neatly.
  5. No more than five decorations or artworks should be placed in the room.
  6. Fluff up pillows and cushions. Make sure tablecloths, covers, and curtains are free of wrinkles and stains.
  7. Remove children’s toys, family photos, and personal memorabilia.


  1. Wipe countertops clean and clear out knife blocks, mail, baking supplies, leftover food, and other kitchen tools.
  2. Remove refrigerator magnets, photos, and other paraphernalia. Limit kitchen decorations to just one item such as a vase or a fruit basket.
  3. Include one small kitchen appliance such as a coffee maker, microwave oven, or blender.
  4. Remove dishes and utensils from the sink, and hide garbage cans.


  1. Clean and polish countertops, sinks, and bathtub rims.
  2. Leave no shampoo, soap, medications, toothbrush, and other toiletries in the bathroom.
  3. Make sure the toilet seats are down the closet doors are closed.
  4. Remove dirty towels, and replace them with clean and fresh ones.
  5. Remove dirty floor mats.
  6. The number of decorations should be kept to a maximum of five items.


  1. Make the bed by pressing and smoothing out linens, pillows, and shams.
  2. Remove personal items and clutter from nightstands and dressers.
  3. Conceal all charging cables.
  4. Take out family photos from the walls.


Front Exterior
  1. Clean up the yard by mowing overgrown grass, trimming shrubs, blowing away leaves, and more.
  2. Remove visible water hoses as well as other unwanted objects such as toys, inflatables, garden equipment, empty planters, and more.
  3. Park vehicles inside the garage and close the garage doors.
  4. Clean eaves, window frames, gutters, and other exterior structures.
  5. Turn on water features.


  1. Tidy up the porch and outdoor furniture. Pillows and cushions should look fresh.
  2. Conceal toys, hoses, cleaning supplies, and other unwanted objects.
  3. Keep trash cans out of sight.
  4. Clean the pool and jacuzzi. Make sure there’s nothing floating on them.


First impressions truly last. In the real estate business, beautiful images can sway prospective home buyers in your favor. Use these practical tips as a checklist to make properties look stunning, cozy, warm, and ready to live in. If you’re a real estate photographer, provide this list to your agents so they can prepare the home before you arrive, making your job that much easier.