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  • Writer's pictureMiranda Adame

How to Prepare your Next listing for Real estate Photography

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

The most important part of any home being put up for sale is the marketing that goes into the listing. One of the best ways to market any home or property is to have professional photography done Do you know the best ways to prepare the home before your real estate photographer arrives? Most real estate agents will know that a clean and properly staged home will photograph well. But some realtors may miss small details that might help make their photos even better. I want to share with you tips on what to do to prepare the home for real estate photography.

Make sure these items never make it into your photos/video

There is a popular saying among my community of videographers/photographers that stemmed from my mentor Parker Walbeck. It goes like this; "Its not just about what's in your frame but what is not in your frame". Meaning that items/subjects that don't add to your overall composition or that take away from your overall composition should be left out of your frame. So it's important to not only care about what goes into the photo but what needs to be taken out of it as well. The following is a list of items to make sure are put away in time for the real estate photographer to arrive.

  1. Move all parked cars out of the driveway and away from the curb. Exterior photos will look much better when cars, no matter how new and shiny or old and rusty they may be, aren't blocking the view of the home. Allow anyone who may be viewing your listing to see how big the driveway is, what the home looks like from the curb and more without cars making it more difficult to fully see and appreciate the view.

  2. Trashcans both inside the home and outside the home. Trashcans aren't flattering in photos. Be sure to put all interior trashcans in a closet, cabinet or room that won't be photographed before the shoot. If you are able, try not to schedule your photo shoot on the neighborhood trash day. When doing exterior photos/video of the home on trash day, having the neighborhood trashcans line the street won't look good. While some of them can be framed out of the shot, If you ordered drone photos/video it most likely will be impossible to get all the trashcans out of the shots and you will end up with images of all the neighborhood trashcans lining the street.

  3. Remove fallen leaves. Do this to the best of your ability. It may not be perfect but having the yard as cleaned up as possible will increase the attractiveness of the curb appeal.

  4. Have garden hose neatly stowed or completely put away. Having garden hoses not properly wrapped in a hose reel and just left on the ground is not only unappealing but also a safety hazard. If there is no way to safely and attractively corral the garden hose in a hose reel then finding a place for it in the shed or garage will be a great solution to helping the property photograph better.

  5. Grill covers. Grills can be a great way to show off the lifestyle of the backyard or patio to a potential home buyer. This recommendation isn't a must but if you can remove the grill cover and reveal a nice grill I highly recommend doing so. Otherwise make sure the grill cover is nice and not too dirty or torn up.


  1. Toilet seats. Toilet seats should all be closed when having photos and video taken. While some realtors have requested that toilets be left out of the photo/video completely sometimes it's just unavoidable with the design of the bathroom. So make sure all the toilet seats are closed as it will make the image look much better than having them open. Having toilet paper stowed away as well will help with the overall quality of the image.

  2. Pets, pet bowls, toys, beds and cages. We all love our pets. They are part of our family. I know I love my pets. However having their toys, bowls and other items in real estate photos doesn't look good. It takes away from the overall image. And while most of us love animals and having our furry friends share our home, seeing pet accessories could be a turn off to potential buyers who may not enjoy having pets in their home. We also love meeting your pets, however during the photoshoot for our safety and for theirs it is best to keep them in a secure location or remove them from the property completely.

  3. Bathroom supplies such as toothbrushes and hairbrushes, shampoo and body wash bottles, tissue boxes and non-decorative soaps. While these may not seem so bad they can make photos look cluttered. We want the home to look warm, inviting and clean. Having these products in the photos can be distracting and uninviting

  4. Towels and bathrobes. This one you can get away with if they are used for staging. Usually the towels and bathrobes used for staging are decorative or luxurious. However towels that look like they may have been used that morning and a bathrobe that was just tossed aside will not do anything for your photos other than become a distraction. You can also get away with nicely placing clean towels on the towel racks and removing all dirty and used towels.

Additional items to check before the photographer arrives.

We discussed what not to have in your photos but what are some additional tips to help prepare the home for the real estate photographers arrival?

  1. Have all the lights in every room turned on. Homes, especially darker homes, photograph better with the lights turned on. And if you booked twilight photos having the lights on in the home is essential to making those twilight photos look good.

  2. Ceiling Fans. If you are just having photos done then it's important that the ceiling fans in every room are turned off. Most Real estate photos are taken using a method called bracketing which uses three or more photos merged into one. What happens if the fan is turned on is when the photos are taken the blades of the fan will be in a different position in each photograph. This makes the merging and blending of the photos less smooth and consistent giving you ghost blades. Regardless of whether your photographer uses the bracketed method or not, having fans turned on will result in them being blurry in the photos. Fans can however look good on video if you have them at their lowest setting. So ask the photographer if they plan on photos or video first and set the fans accordingly. Or let the photographer know how to control the fans so they can set it themselves.

  3. Crooked furniture, messy pillows and distracting rugs. Making sure all the furniture is straight, the pillows haven't fallen or been moved, and making sure all rugs are straight and not folded in or over themselves will allow for more attractive photos with less distracting items in the composition. Especially for any potential buyers who may have OCD when seeing crooked furniture.

  4. Clean off and wipe down all of the counter tops and appliances in the Kitchen and bathroom. Making sure counter tops are cleaned off and not cluttered make for a more welcoming images. Also be sure to wipe down any fingerprints or smudge marks on your stainless steal appliances.

We help with minor home prep at the beginning of every shoot.

We understand that getting a home prepped for photos and ready to be listed is no easy task for the real estate agent and the sellers. Thats why part of our services include minor home preparation. At the beginning of every shoot we take a couple of minutes to make sure the home is ready and go through this checklist. So don't worry if you forgot to move a trashcan or other item, or if one of the throw pillows falls off the couch. We will go through and help take care of it all (within reason) before we even begin shooting the photographs. And the best part is its included in all of our media services!


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