Preparing Your Home

A Checklist

In order to prepare your property for shooting, keep in mind that the images are representative of what is present at the time the photo is taken. Thus, consider that things you may see every day, and no longer see, are in fact the things that may need to be removed from the area being photographed. Because the photographer will be concerned with the technical and artistic details related to framing and exposing images, the photographer will not have time to clean, remove, or re-arrange rooms or locations prior to shooting; that is your job, normally attended to by the home owner, or a staging person. Everything needs to be made ready before the photographer arrives. The photographer will be on a strict shooting schedule and will need immediate access to the property at the scheduled time. Depending on the size of the home or location, you should allot 1 to 2 hours of time for shooting the subject area.  Larger locations, high-end homes, etc. may take longer to shoot.  Specific customer time constraints can be met as needed. The property owner or home owner need not be present, so long as access is granted and someone representing the home or property owner allows the needed access, and all arrangements have been made.      

Here are some helpful hints on how to prepare your location:        


  1. Make sure all tabletops and counter tops are clean and free of all clutter, including mixers, blenders, salt shakers, plate racks, magazines, purses or any other articles.  
  2. Remove all pet bowls, cages, pet food containers.  
  3. Remove any and all objects on floors, carpets and furniture, including blankets, afghans and knickknacks.  
  4. Make sure there are no wrinkles in any rugs. 
  5. Remove any clutter on writing tables.  
  6. Organize all bookshelves.  
  7. Remove trash containers from rooms, as well as toilet caddys, plungers, etc.  
  8. Remove all hobby or collector related paraphernalia, box it and store it.  
  9. Remove all pets to the basement or other area where they will not be seen.  
  10. Remove boots, shoes, laundry, car keys and material on or on top of the refrigerator.  
  11. Remove posters, banners, toys and kitsch from bedrooms.  
  12. Make sure all beds are made very neatly with no wrinkles or odd creases, dresser tops neat and clean and photos removed from mirrors.  
  13. Remove any family pictures that you don't want to appear in your photos. 
  14. Make sure any stains are removed from walls, floors, carpets, or counter fronts or tops. 
  15. Clean all bathrooms thoroughly, and remove all stains from the toilet bowl, clean or replace any rugs, purchase and install new toilet seats.  Check shower doors and walls closely for any soap residue and make sure the shower is clean. 
  16. Remove all laundry from sight.  
  17. Review the house when complete and remove excess furniture or chairs, slightly less furnishings may be preferable to too many pieces of furniture.  
  18. Remove all furniture that is an odd style and does not match the furniture in the room.  
  19. Where possible windows should be clean and smear-free, inside and out.  
  20. Observe oven the window(s) for cleanliness as well as fireplace doors, they need to be clean.  Additionally, wash walls where needed due to dirt.
  21. Check that all pictures or hanging objects are straight on the wall etc. 
  22. Check and clean rarely used areas for dust, such as pool tables, game tables, etc. 
  23. Consider replacing the house numbers on the front of the home and enhancing the entrance with other décor.      
  24. Generally, look to remove or hide cable TV wires and cables from sight, or hidden, also,see that electrical cords are hidden or removed from view, where possible.  (Vacant properties especially have need of removal of odd cables, as they may detract from the image.)


  1. Make sure grass is cut, leaves raked, trash picked, broken windows repaired, driveway and walks swept.  
  2. Remove cars, boats, RV's or any other vehicles from the scene.  
  3. Remove any equipment, rakes, shovels, waste containers, or portable storage sheds from the area.  
  4. Make sure porches, decks, patios, and pool side areas are clutter-free and clean and that only clean and well organized furniture is shown. If a pool is covered, make the cover as clean looking as possible.  Do not hide clutter under your deck, it may be invisible to you, but the camera will see it.
  5. It is best for exterior paint to be in good condition, consider touch-ups as needed.     
  6. Prune bushes, water the grass to keep it green in season, especially prior to the shoot.

Other: Refrain from cooking food with odors during times before showing the home.  Avoid having a wood fire place burning, it may only provide a smoke smell.    

Do:   Use flowers, plants, and accent lights to brighten up a room. 

  1. Do:  Keep things dust and clutter-free. Use storage: use the garage, basement, or rent a storage unit off site.


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