How to Prepare a Home for Real Estate Photography

Hiring a CampaignPROS photographer is one of the best things you can do to make your real estate listing a success. There are a few things that you should do to prepare the property before the photographer arrives.


General Guidelines

Following these general guidelines will help ensure that your photos turn out beautiful, increasing the likelihood that the property will sell more quickly and for a better price. The more you prepare the property before the photographer arrives, the better the pictures are going to look. Remember, the photographer is there to take photos and make the space look good through the lens. It’s not their job to clean up a messy property. They can only do so much with a house that is in poor condition. It’s difficult to make a messy room look uncluttered in the picture.

If you can afford it, you might consider hiring a professional styler to take care of the furniture arrangement and decor. It makes a big difference in the final outcome of the photos when a professional styler is involved in the design of the room.

If your budget won’t allow a styler, there are things you can do on your own to make the property look good. When you arrange the furniture and adjust the decor, you want to make the area look like a tastefully furnished hotel. Keep the furnishings and decor somewhat generic, but stylish at the same time.


First Impressions

The first view that a person will get from any room is when they are standing in the doorway, so keep that perspective in mind when you are arranging the furniture. You want to create a lasting impression from the moment they walk in the room.

From a photo standpoint, the real estate photographer will take photos from the doorway area, and they will also make use of the windows and natural light in the room. So you want to consider the way the furniture is placed so it corresponds with the windows and doorways. It is good to capture the windows in the photos, because people like to see the natural light that comes in the room.

If there are built-in features in the room, such as a fireplace or decorative pillars, the photographer will take the photos from an angle to include those features. So, you can arrange your furniture to be complimentary to the built-in decor.


Less is More

It is always best to clear the clutter out of every room, because an open space is more appealing. Get rid of anything that is cluttering the room, and when you think you are done, remove a few more items in the room.

The goal is to create a stylish, generic room in which the buyer can picture themselves living in. If you include too many personal effects, such as photos and memorabilia, it makes it more difficult for the buyer to imagine their own things in the room. So remove the distractions and eliminate any clutter that may be present.


Clean Up

A quick wipe down to “clean” the house isn’t enough of a clean-up. It is important that all areas are deep-cleaned in order to remove hard water build-up, dirt, or anything else that might be visible. Make sure that the windows are spotless. They should be washed to get rid of fingerprints or marks.


No Pets

If there are any pets, it is best to move them out of the way during the photo shoot. Don’t let the pets run around in the yard during the photo shoot, and any indoor animals should be moved out of each room as it is being photographed.


Exterior Preparation

Curb appeal matters, because buyers want their new home to look good on both the outside and inside. The exterior of the home is one of the first things that a person will look at when they view the listing, so it is important that you clean up around the house to make it look good.

The front yard is the most important, but don’t neglect the back yard. It won’t look natural to have front yard photos of a beautifully manicured lawn and flower beds, with a messy back yard.

Exterior tasks should include:

  • Pull weeds

  • Trim trees and overgrown shrubs

  • Rake up the leaves

  • Mow the lawn and use the right edging tools near cement

  • Wrap up garden hoses and put them away in the garage or shed

  • Pick up any items that may be laying around the yard, such as garden tools, garbage cans, toys, empty pots or pots with dead plants

  • Cover dirt with mulch to make it look more attractive

  • Move cars out of the driveway

  • Sweep the porch and sidewalks

  • If you have outdoor furniture, wipe it down and make sure that the cushions look clean and nice


Interior Preparation

You should make sure that you let in as much light as possible before the photographer arrives. Open up blinds and curtains, and turn on every light in the property. All lamps and surface lights should be on, including the lights that are part of furniture and appliances such as those on the stove or built into a bookshelf. If any light bulbs are burned out, make sure to replace them and use high-wattage bulbs to make the room brighter.



As with other areas in the house, you want to get rid of any clutter that is visible in the room. The kitchen often collects a lot of things on the counters, but you want to make sure that the counters are as open as possible. Remove small appliances that are sitting around, as well as stacks of paper or dishes that may be placed at the end of the counter.

If you have child-proof equipment that is visible on the outside of the cabinets or cupboards, it is better to remove that equipment for the photos. Clear the school notices, crayon drawings, and magnets off of the fridge.

Clear away dish racks, cutting boards, tea towels, hand and dish soap bottles, cleaning products, mops, brooms and garbage cans. You can add a little decoration with a nice bowl of fresh fruit or a vase of flowers.


Living Room

As the formal sitting room in the house, it is especially important to make sure that the furniture is arranged appropriately. The goal of the room should be to create a beautiful and comfortable space. It should be an area where the potential buyer could imagine their family spending time.

If you have a nice coffee table book, set it out as decor on the table. Remove any magazines, and if bookshelves are in the room, take out half of the books and arrange the remaining books in a nice pattern. Keep the nice, hardback and colourful books on the shelf, and clear out the old books.


Family Room

Small items are sometimes left in the living room, because it is the space where the family often spends a lot of time. Collect the TV remotes, video game systems, DVDs, or any other electronic items. It is also a good idea to pay attention to the way the electronic cords are arranged, and try to move them to a place so that they are out of sight. Clear out any toys that may have been left in the room by kids.


Dining Room

Make sure the dining table is scrubbed and the chairs are arranged neatly around the table. You might consider adding a nice centre-piece on the table, such as bowl of fresh fruit or a floral arrangement. Don’t leave any left over plates or dishes on the table, wipe the table, sweep and mop the floor to remove anymarks.



It maybe tempting to stuff everything under the bed in order to hide them, but items under the beds can sometimes show up in real estate photos. Instead of trying to hide clothing and toys under the bed, move everything out of the room so that the space is as open as possible.

With teenager bedrooms, sometimes there are unique or unusual decorations. Those decorations may need to be adjusted in order to make the space appear more generic and neutral, instead of being too trendy. Remember, you want the buyer to imagine themselves in the room, and unusual themes in the bedrooms might be distracting.

Look at pictures in magazines to see the way the beds are made, and match the bedding accordingly. You want the bed to look beautiful and inviting. Use a nice bedspread and big, fluffy pillows that are neatly arranged at the head of the bed.

Remove anything that is sitting on the nightstand. Common things that need to be moved include phone chargers, tissue boxes, lip balm, glasses or jewellery.



In the bathroom, everything should be moved off the counter, including makeup, razors, soap, toothbrushes, and beauty products. In the shower and tub, remove the shampoo, soaps, wash cloths, and baby toys.

The garbage cans, bathmats, laundry baskets, extra toilet paper, the toilet brush, and scales should also be moved out of the room. Finish off by closing the toilet, and hang fresh towels on the towel racks.


A Little Bit of Preparation Goes a Long Way

If your real estate photographer arrives and the property has not been prepared for the photo shoot, the results might not be ideal and might not look the best on your real estate listing. It is very important to spend the necessary time to make sure that the property is prepared so that the photographer can show the space in the best light.