Prepare your home for photography

The first impression really counts

Increasingly customers are looking online to buy a home. The property you are selling should be in tip-top condition and its presentation spotless. A clean, clutter-free and tidy property shows how much respect and love owners have put into their home, and inspires the new owners to see themselves living there.

It would be a disservice to your listing, as a homeowner or a real estate agent, not to have the property presented in the most flattering light. Buyers really love to see how they can personally use the space and create an environment on their taste and level of comfort.

Besides creating a clutter-free and tidy space, here are some extra rules that will help set your listing apart while generating interest

General requirements:

  • Remove personal, sentimental items, unnecessary objects/furniture;
  • Mop, dust and vacuum the entire house; 
  • Clean and empty countertops and surfaces;
  • Stage spaces with flowers, fruit bowls, etc;
  • Remove all toys i.e. children/pets;
  • Open curtains and turn lights on; 
  • Turn off fans; 
  • Turn off screens,TVs, computers and other electronics; 
  • Replace any broken light bulbs; 
  • Remove all magazines, newspapers and mail; 
  • Place all shoes, coats in closets or wardrobes;
  • Wash and clean windows curtains and blinds; 
  • Improve curb appeal by making the outdoor spaces neat and tidy.

The kitchen

As strange as this might sound, the kitchen is by far the most important room for the buyers.  Everyone wants a large spacious, clean space to cook, prepare and spend time with family. If there is limited space in your kitchen, make sure you free all the countertops as much as possible. 

  • Clean all the countertops by removing appliances or hiding them in the cupboards; 
  • Remove all the cooking utensils, knives or baking supplies;
  • Clear outside of the refrigerator and remove any magnets or photographs; 
  • Remove garbage bins; 
  • Wash and remove any dishes from the sink;
  • Remove dish towels, sponges and washing liquids.

The dining room

Dining rooms are all about lifestyle, it’s the place where the buyers can receive guests and eat in an elegant manner. If the design of the space allows it, move the dining table under a floating light or a chandelier. 

  • Clean all surfaces and remove unrelated objects;
  • Dust the table and wash or brush chair cushions;
  • You can stage the table with a set of matching dishes;
  • Add a decoration, candles, or a flower centerpiece.

The living room 

This is the space where most families spend time together, and enjoy gatherings with friends. Comfortable sofas and soft furnishings will easily make it one of the most desirable rooms in the house.

  • Turn off TV and hide remote controls; 
  • Remove magazines and newspapers;
  • Arrange throws or blankets neatly;
  • Fluff and arrange cushions and soft furnishings;
  • Declutter coffee tables and shelves.


It’s easy to appeal to everyone with a clean master bedroom, free from personal items and clutter. These rooms should give a vibe of comfort and rest. Use some clean and crisp linen, matching cushions or blankets, some artwork and attractive sheers or shading curtains.

  • Wash, clean and iron all bedding;
  • Make beds and add matching bedding with pillows and covers;
  • Remove personal items from nightstands and bedside tables;
  • Remove personal objects, cosmetics or accessories from dressers;
  • Clear under the bed and remove objects that might show up in photos; 
  • Close wardrobe doors and hide clothing.

Children’s bedrooms

All parents know the importance of space for their kids, and so children’s bedrooms should be showcased in their best possible light. They should be aired, clean and free from clutter. 

  • Refresh bedding;  
  • Remove personalized names from walls or furniture;
  • Remove toys or pack neatly in storing boxes; 
  • Remove posters, photographs or stickers.

Guests rooms:

The guest room can often turn into a storage area so it’s good to spend time removing anything that should live elsewhere. Offering a neutral but inviting room is vital so that the buyer can ‘visualize’ what they want to do specifically with this room. 

  • Wash and clean beds and bedding;
  • Stage the beds with matching bedding and extra cushions;
  • Remove boxes, suitcases, unused or unmatched furniture; 
  • Empty the wardrobes;
  • Sort out neatly in drawers, extra pillows, blankets or accessories for guests.

Walk-in closets:

If your house has a walk-in closet, that’s a great selling point you’ll want to show off in your photo shoot.

  • Store all clothes behind doors; if that’s not possible, hang everything on individual hangers with little spaces in between; 
  • Remove shoes from the floor and place them in designated cupboards or racks; 
  • Make sure all accessory shelves look neat and everything is stored neatly; 
  • Remove dirty clothes; 
  • Clean floors.

En-suite bathrooms, shower cabins and toilets

The most important aspect of bathrooms is that they should look immaculate and feel fresh. It’s a place of tranquility and cleanliness so make sure all the spaces are pristine, dry and neat.

  • Add clean matching towels; 
  • Clear and wash countertops;
  • Remove cosmetic and hygiene-related containers for soaps, shampoos, etc.;
  • Remove any cosmetics, washing, deodorants or medication; 
  • Wash and refresh mirrors and shower screens;
  • Remove floor mats or rugs; 
  • Renew toilet paper trays;
  • Put the toilet seat down.


Like the guest rooms, offices need to be versatile. More people work from home, so a well aired office with suitable space for a desk and other working accessories, will definitely improve the chance of sale. Make sure the desks are at least 60% cleared of objects.

  • Pack away paperwork and personal or work related files;
  • Use office organizers to store and sort out things;
  • Add a lamp to the desk as an accessory;
  • Inject extra life into the space with some green plants.

Outdoor spaces

Front of the house and the entrance

Most of the time, this is the first thing the buyer sees and it’s a major part of the property’s overall curb appeal. 

  • Close garage doors; 
  • Remove cars from the front of the house or the entrance;
  • Make sure the landscape is neat and fresh, cut the grass and wash and scrub the entryway; 
  • Clean the front door;
  • Powerwash walkways or parking plots;
  • Upgrade or wash the mailbox;
  • Refresh any address or house number.

Back garden, terraces and balconies

It’s essential to show the full potential of any outdoor space. There are some fairly simple ways to spruce up the outdoor space:

  • Clean and cut grass;
  • Remove swimming pool vacuum;
  • Clean up the pool and surrounding areas; 
  • Remove visible water hoses;
  • Remove any trash cans;
  • Freshen up patio furniture with clean cushions;
  • Remove any children’s or pet toys; 
  • Add flower pots or other decorations.

Now your home is ready and you should book a photo session of the property straight away. 

I’ve created this Photo Shoot Checklist as a helpful tool seeing the struggles homeowners or estate agents encounter when preparing a property for a professional photo shoot. Feel free to download a simplified .pdf version of this Checklist and have it handy before the photo session. 

Download Photo Shoot Checklist

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