Congrats, you decided to list your home for sale! You scoured the internet for the best real estate agent, signed contracts, and started searching for your next home. Before your agent lists your house on the market, they might have you update a few aspects, tidy up, or even redecorate/stage. But that’s not all: then comes professional photography. 

Preparation is Key

As we have learned, professional real estate photography is the key to selling homes. Photos are the first impression for buyers, and you want to make sure your home is perfect. As photographers, we know the angles, the lighting, and more. But, if you want to ensure your home shows its absolute best in its photos, follow some of these tips for preparing your home for real estate photography…

General Cleaning & Decluttering:

  • Thoroughly clean whole house (vacuum carpet, mop hard floors, clean countertops, clean windows)
  • Turn all overhead lights and lamps ON
  • Replace all burned-out light bulbs
  • Use bulbs of the same temperature (ALL incandescent or ALL compact fluorescent)
  • 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
  • Place all shoes/jackets in closets
real estate photography
real estate photography of kitchen
exterior of home

Exterior CLeaning & Decluttering

  • Close garage doors
  • Remove cars from driveway and front of the home
  • Clean up landscaping (mow, trim shrubs, clear leaves)
  • Remove empty planters
  • Use a broom to remove cobwebs from eaves and door frames
  • Remove visible water hoses
  • Remove toys, sports balls, basketball goals, soccer goals, etc


  • Clean porch, 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
  • Hide pool cleaning supplies
  • Turn on pool fountains/water features
  • Remove visible water hoses
  • Remove trash cans
Back patio and deck
(14) kitchen 1
Modern dining room

Kitchen & Dining Rooms:

  • Clear countertops completely. No knife blocks, baking supplies, mail, etc.
  • Leave out at a max of one small appliance (ex. coffee maker)
  • Clear outside of refrigerator of magnets, papers, photos, etc.
  • Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet
  • Remove dishes from the sink, place in dishwasher
  • Clear table, dust, and polish the tabletop
  • Use decorative place setting if available
  • Feature one centerpiece such as a bouquet of flowers
  • Straighten all chairs and space them evenly
  • Remove child seats/booster chairs

Living Room:

  • Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, etc.
  • De-clutter fireplace mantel/hearth (no more than 5 items, including art)
  • Clean the interior of the fireplace and re-paint if needed
  • Fluff and arrange furniture pillows
  • Remove kid’s toys
living 2
master bed


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


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

It may feel overwhelming to look at this list, but, in the end, it will all be worth it!