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Ultimate Guide: How to Prepare Your Property for Real Estate Photography images 1.jpg

Pre Shoot Checklist


A Week Before the Shoot:


The exterior of the home is going to be the first thing that captures potential buyers attention. Therefore, it is important that your clients review the following pre shoot checklist so that it is photo ready for the day of the shoot.

  • Clean up the yard. You want to have the basic landscaping needs done as well as add additional touches to really give the home some curb appeal.

  • Weed flower beds, cut the grass and add fresh mulch or seasonal flowers.

  • The exterior of the house, driveways, patios, decks, walkways, and the front porch should be pressure washed.

  • Clean all windows and doors outside.

  • If you have a pool make sure it’s cleaned as well.

  • Also, clean any outdoor furniture or lawn décor.

2. Interior

  • Go through each room and clean up any of the clutter. You don’t want to have stacks of paper or items on shelves, tables or on the floors.

  • Check to make sure all the lights in the home are working.

  • Deep clean all the rooms. Clean the carpets, wipe down the walls, clean the windows and window seals, and scrub the floors and bathroom tiles.

  • Don’t forget to give all the light switches, doors, and cabinets a good cleaning as well.


On the Day of The Shoot:

1. Exterior

  • You want to make sure the cars are not parked in the driveway or directly in front of the home.

  • Keep garbage cans, garden hoses, sprinklers, lawn mowers, and any other garden or landscape tools out of sight.

  • All toys, pool items, and other personal items should be removed from the yard or outdoor space.

  • Review the cushions on patio furniture.

  • Sweep the walkways, front porch, and patio to remove leaves and debris.

2. Interior.

  • Open all curtains and/or turn the blinds horizontally in each room.

  • Sweep, vacuum, and mop all floors.

  • Turn on all lights including lamps but keep ceiling fans off.

  • Try to keep any cables, wires or power cords hidden and out of sight.

  • If there is a pet you want to clear away any toys and beds from the rooms and remove the pet dishes.

  • Keep all televisions and computers off and hide the remote controls.

3. Kitchen and dining room:
  • Wipe off the countertops and tables.

  • Remove any towels, sponges, dishes and soap dispensers from the counters, tables and sink and store them somewhere out of sight.

  • Take down any items you have hanging on the refrigerator like magnets, pictures or stickers.

  • Keep trash cans out of sight.

  • Consider placing fresh flowers or a fruit bowl on the counter top.

  • For the dining room table, set out a nice place settings or add a centerpiece.

4. Bathrooms:
  • Should also be wiped down and all personal items removed from the sink and shower/tub area including soap dishes, shampoos, and toothbrushes.

  • Don’t leave out any kid toys, scales, dirty towels or other toiletries.

  • Remove trash cans from the room as well as clothing hampers.

  • Put the toilet lid down and replace the toilet paper roll.

5. Bedrooms:
  • Clear floors and make beds.

  • Tidy up the closets and put all clothes away.

  • Try to keep as many of your personal items off shelves, desks, and dressers.

Additionally, if there are pets, it is best to make arrangements for them to be off the property while the shoot is going on. This will ensure that they do not accidentally run in while you are working.

Of course, it is best to pass along this list to your client so that the homeowner does the bulk of this work. So try to include a pre shoot checklist in your communication with the client prior to the shoot. If you are able to successfully have your clients consistently follow the pre shoot checklist on all of your shoots your will find your shoots to be much easier!

A Little Bit of Preparation Goes a Long Way


If your real estate photographer arrives, and they see that the home has not been prepared for the photo shoot, then you might be charged a cancellation fee and be forced to reschedule. Or, the photographer might move forward with the photo shoot, but the results will be unprofessional and they will not look good on your real estate listing. It is very important that you spend the time that is needed to make sure that your home is prepared so that the photographer has something to work with.

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