How to Get Ready for Photos 📷

You decided that you are going to sell your home and now you must get it in tip-top shape. It is critical that your home be perfect for photos because you want to make the first impression count. The photos will make people want to come see your home and hopefully buy it!

The majority of people will start their home search online viewing sites such as Zillow or or your Agent Website. Here are some tips for making your home perfect for photos.

Interior of the Home

  • Start by giving your home the best deep clean its ever had – clean means you have taken great care of  your home – thoroughly clean whole house (vacuum carpets, mop hard floors, clean countertops, clean windows)

On Photo Day

  • 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) – if you home on the darkish side…consider daylight bulbs, they significantly brighten any home!
  • Turn all ceiling fans OFF
  • Turn all TVs OFF
  • Turn all computer screens OFF
  • 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 closet
  • Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet
  • Remove dishes from sink, place in dishwasher
  • Clear table, dust and polish the table top
  • Use decorative place setting if available
  • Feature one center piece such as a bouquet of flowers
  • Straighten all chairs and space them evenly
  • Remove child seats/booster chairs
  • Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, etc.
  • De-clutter fireplace mantel/hearth
  • Clean interior of fireplace and re-paint if needed
  • Fluff and arrange furniture pillows
  • Remove kid’s toys
  • Clear nightstands of all personal items including chargers and Kleenex boxes
  • Store away phone/tablet charging cables
  • Remove all clutter from top of dressers
  • Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos
  • Clear countertops completely. No soap, toothbrushes, medications, deodorant, etc. (only leaving decorative items)
  • Put toilet seats down
  • Fold toilet paper…like you see in a hotel
  • Close closet doors
  • Remove shampoo, soap, loofahs, etc. from showers and tubs
  • Remove dirty towels – leave out only new, unused towels
  • Remove floor mats

Exterior of Home

Curb appeal is so important, this is the first thing potential buyers see when they pull up. You also want your backyard to be seen as a relaxing space, make sure it is picked up!

  • Close garage doors
  • Remove cars from driveway and front of home
  • Clean up landscaping (mow, trim shrubs, clear leaves)
  • Remove empty planters
  • Use 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 trash cans
  • Sweep or hose down patios


  • Place food and water bowls in pantry or closet
  • Place pet beds/toys in pantry or close
  • Use lint roller on furniture to remove pet hair
  • Contain pets in hidden crate or outside
  • Clear back yard of pet waste/toys

What to Expect During the Photo Shoot

When the photographer arrives, your house should be photo shoot ready! He usually has a full schedule that day and will need to be able to photograph without interruptions to make sure he does the best possible job for you.  To make sure that he gets all the shots that you would like, please have the home “open house ready.” Plan for extra family members (including pets) to be away from home.  Park your extra vehicles down the street. Our photographer will be in your home approximately 2 hours.  It usually takes 24-48 hours for the photographer to finish editing the photos and send them to us.  Upon receipt, we will share the link with you to view all the images.  The last step (uploading photos!) for getting your listing up and running on the MLS!

Elizabeth Lutz is a licensed Realtor with The Connors Group at Windermere Group One and specializes in the team’s social media marketing.  Check out for more information.

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