Preparing The Home For Photography

Here are some things you can do that will make your photos look much better and present your home in the best light. Remember, the photographer is not allowed to move any items or do any spot cleaning, but we do present the best face as it is.

In general, the golden rule is all lights ON and all ceiling fans OFF. This includes table and bedside lamps, under counter lights, the light over the stove, and the light over the sink.

It is best to take a "big picture" approach rather than obsess on tiny details. People care about a warm, comfortable, open living space, not whether or not there is a book on the coffee table or a picture on the mantle. As long as it looks clean and uncluttered it will show well in photos. Remember these photos are sized for web viewing and as such very small details will not be seen.

Exterior

Remove all cars from driveway.

 

Curl up hoses, put away toys or bikes, remove any sports/school/seasonal decorations or flags (the American flag is okay), and make sure the landscaping is neat and trimmed. 

 

Be sure to put trash cans either in the garage, on the side of the home, or on the corner of the driveway by the street so they are out of the photo.

 

Put cushions or pillows on patio furniture.

Open patio umbrellas. The photographer cannot open these for you - you may be surprised just how many don't function properly or are home to living things that enjoy eating photographers.

Interior

Turn ON all the lights before the photographer arrives:
Turn on ALL lamps and fixtures, including lights under kitchen counters, table and desk lamps, and bedside lamps. This makes the home look bright and inviting. Be sure to identify and replace any bulbs that are burned out.

Turn OFF ceiling fans - Spinning fans create unusual effects in the camera.

Turn off the TV

Open curtains

Lower the blinds and tilt them so that they are flat and you can see outside.

Remove seasonal specific decor from inside and outside -- you don't want to "date" the listing.

Kitchen

Lights on - under cabinet lights as well as the lights over the stove and sink.

You DON’T need to remove every appliance from the kitchen. Most people expect to see a toaster or blender in a kitchen.

 

Be sure that all dishes are put away or in the dish washer, NOT in the sink or on the counter. 

Remove decorative towels hanging on the oven door. 

Pick up pet bowls and beds.

Remove all magnets, photos, and notes from the front and side of the refrigerator.

Bedrooms

Remove robes, coats, and other things hanging on the back of the door. 

Be sure the bed is neatly made and anything under the bed is pushed WAY back otherwise it will be seen in the photos. (The photo is taken from an angle much lower than normal eye level.) 

Be sure to turn on all desk/bedside lamps and any ceiling fans are OFF.

Remove shoes and slippers from around the bed. 

Typically both sides of the bed will be photographed so don't pile things up on one side of the bed. Just because it can't be seen at the bedroom door does not mean it won't be in another angle.
 

Bathrooms

Close all toilet seats and lids.

Remove soap dishes, toothpaste, brushes, and other toiletries and personal accessories from the sink/counter and place it out of sight. 

Remove any robes and used towels that are hanging behind the door, but it's okay to leave decorative towels on towel racks.

If the shower/tub has tile that is a strong selling point it will likely be photographed so be sure to remove shower bottles and other things. If the shower has a generic tub or surround it is best to close the curtain as it will probably not be photographed.

Utility Room

Be sure it is clean and tidy. Remove excessive detergent bottles, boxes of fabric sheets.

Remove any loose hangers that may be hanging on racks over the washer or dryer.

Remove any pet bowls or litter boxes. (Often these can be moved to a corner in the utility room if need be.)

Unfinished Basement

The photographer will make a judgement call whether the basement is photographed or not. We focus on areas that draw in potential buyers. Unfinished areas are not typically a strong draw, but if it is clean and open one or two photos are sometimes nice. We understand that when preparing a house for sale an unfinished basement is often used to store a significant number of personal items and often isn't photo ready. If this is the case, don't fret. We'll just skip the basement.

© 2020 by Patrick T C Pope