home prep


                                     Preparing a Home for a Professional Photo Shoot

                                   a copy can be downloaded or printed here

To ensure your photoshoot goes smoothly and safely, please refer to the checklist. These simple preparations can be easily accomplished and will present your home in its best light and enhance the quality of the photography.

The more you prepare your home, the better the photographs are going to look.

The home should be prepared prior to the photography appointment using this checklist or a customized list from an agent or stager. This will allow the photographer to focus on creating great images within the allotted time.


Plan not to be seen: All occupants (and pets) should plan on either being off the property or remain in areas where they can't be seen during the photoshoot. Rooms overlap in the photos, people can cause shadows and reflections, and there is risk to equipment that will be setup throughout the property.


Interior (All Rooms) When photographing a home, less is more.

  • Clean the entire house– vacuum and mop the floors, dust, etc.

  • Replace any burned out light bulbs in fixtures and lamps

  • Remove clutter and excessive decorative items from bookshelves, tables, and cabinets

  • Remove piles of newspapers, magazines, books, mail, and other paper

  • Hide remote controls, mobile docking stations and charging cables

  •  Conceal all exposed cables and power cords as best as possible

  • Remove throw rugs and runners in entryways, kitchens, and bathrooms

  • Tuck trash cans out of view in a closet or cupboard

  • Turn OFF all ceiling fans

  • Turn OFF all TVs, computers, monitors, gaming consoles and other electronics

  • Turn ON all overhead lights and lamps

  • Curtains/Draperies and blinds should be open and uniform for all windows in each room



  • Remove all vehicles from driveways and do not park directly in front of the house

  • Close the garage doors

  • Move all garbage cans and recycling bins out of sight

  • Put away all garden tools, including water hoses and sprinklers

  • Remove all children’s toys, goals, nets, balls, and bikes from the yard

  • Trim the grass and bushes, rake the yard, and put out fresh mulch

  • Sweep driveways, sidewalks, walkways, patios, decks, stairs, and any hard surfaces

  • Arrange outdoor furniture and cushions; be sure pillows and cushions are fresh, not faded

  • Open any outdoor umbrellas

  • Visible areas under decks should be free of unsightly items and clutter

  • Remove cobwebs from doorframes and eaves

  • Be sure roof and gutters are free of leaves and other debris

  • Remove empty planters

  • For pools, remove any debris, the pool sweep, pool cleaning equipment, and any pool toys

  • Turn on any water features, such as waterfalls and bubblers


Living and Family Room

  • Clean the interior of the fireplace and light it

  • De-clutter the fireplace mantel and hearth

  • Fluff and arrange furniture cushions and pillows on all seating areas

  • Remove children’s and pet toys



  • Clean all major appliances–refrigerator, oven, rangehood, etc.

  • Clear off countertops and remove small appliances-toaster, coffeepot, knife block, can opener, etc.

  • Thoroughly clean and wipe down all countertops.

  • Remove all items from refrigerator doors, including photos, notes, magnets, and paper

  • Remove all floor mats

  • Put away all dishes and dish towels

  • Be sure the sink is clean and free of dishes, dish racks, scrub brushes, sponges, sponge holders, and soap dispensers

  • Turn on any under-counter lighting and the stove light

  • Optional: Decorating with a bowl of fresh fruit or small bouquet of flowers is a nice touch.


Dining Room

  • Remove clutter from china cabinet and buffet

  • If the china cabinet has a light, turn it on

  • Clean and polish the dining room table

  • Straighten all chairs and be sure they are spaced evenly around the table

  • Be sure table is centered under the chandelier if possible

  • Add a colorful centerpiece to the table, such as candles or flowers

  • Optional: Set the table with nice dinnerware using decorative place settings



  • Be sure the beds are neatly made, and pillows are fluffed and neatly arranged

  • Items stored under beds should be out of sight

  • Remove any wall posters, window stickers, etc.

  • Remove all personal items from nightstands

  • Remove clutter from dressers and bookcases

  • If there is a fireplace, clean the interior and light it

  • If the closet is to be photographed, be sure it’s neatly organized and cleaned

  • For kid’s rooms, organize small toys into baskets or wicker bins put away larger toys

  • For nurseries, remove or hide items such as diaper pails, changing table pads, etc.


  • Remove all personal care items, such as soaps, toothbrushes, brushes and combs, medications, etc. from countertops

  • Remove shampoo, soap, loofas, razors, etc. from showers and bathtubs

  • Remove all floor mats and throw rugs

  • Thoroughly clean mirrors, bathtubs, showers, toilets, and countertops

  • If you have a glass shower door, clean and squeegee to remove haze, mold/mildew

  • Toilet seats should be down, and lid closed

  • Hide toilet brushes and laundry baskets

  • Remove kids’ stools and bath toys

  • Optional: Replace used towels and wash cloths with clean, fluffy towels (white if possible)


Laundry Room

  • Be sure all dirty laundry and laundry baskets are out of sight

  • Close all cabinets

  • Remove all items from counters if possible

  • Clean the appliances and wipe down all counter tops to ensure they are free of fingerprints, soap scum, etc



  • Pets should be contained in a hidden crate, garage, or outside

  • Put away pet beds, toys, food dishes, and scratching posts

  • Ensure yard is free of pet waste


Twilight Prep (if applicable)

  • Turn on all interior and exterior lights: All lights throughout the property need to be turned on. Please replace burned-out bulbs.

  • Turn on spas and remove covers (if applicable): If you have a spa, remove the cover and turn it on before photographer arrives. Turn on the lights in the spa as well.

  • Turn on pool lights (if applicable): If you have a pool, turn on the pool lights before photographer arrives.

  • Turn on water features (if applicable): If you have fountains, waterfalls, or similar water features, please turn them on before photographer arrives.