Kyle Stoner
Kyle Stoner
Closeup on modern DSLR camera in hand of modern female interior photographer at home
Kyle Stoner
Kyle Stoner

    How to Prep a House Before A Photographer Comes

    You've probably heard "don't judge a book by its cover" countless times. Unfortunately, this saying doesn't translate very well to real estate. In fact, most people do judge a listing by its photos online. If you're hiring a photographer to capture to take photos of your home, here's what you need to accomplish to maximize the potential buyers you bring in and make your property stand out in the market.

    Cleaning the House

    Sweep and Mop Floors

    Taking the time to sweep and mop the floors, while it may seem tedious, can go a long way in making a home look presentable. For homeowners with hardwood flooring, use the correct cleaning products to ensure that the floors are not damaged. Luckily, you don’t have to go too crazy. It’s unnecessary to wax or polish the floors (discouraged, in fact) as this can cause a glare in photographs.

    Wash Windows and Mirrors

    Nobody likes a streaky mirror, it’s a thoughtless problem with a really easy solution. That goes for all the windows on the interior and exterior of the house. Wash these surfaces to eliminate dirt, dust, or fingerprints that may have built up over time. Use a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth or newspaper to avoid leaving behind streaks or smudges. Don’t leave this task until the last minute. You want to make time for the surfaces to completely dry before the photographer arrives.

    Dust and Vacuum Furniture

    Couches, chairs, tables, beds...dust and vacuum all of these before the photographer comes.  Crumbs and pet hair do not make for a pretty picture. If you don’t have a feather duster, a microfiber cloth (and maybe a dusting spray) will do the trick just fine. It’s also time to use your vacuum’s brush attachments to clear out any cobwebs in corners or debris in tight spaces.

    Clean Kitchen and Bathrooms

    Additionally, you’ll want to clean the kitchen and bathrooms, as well as around their countertops and sinks. All-purpose cleaners will come in handy for the countertops and sinks. Remove any personal items that are distracting in photographs. Items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, or shampoo should be tucked away and out of sight.

    White fluffy bath towel hanging on wall rail in bathroom

    Organizing the House

    Hang Towels and Bathmats

    Hanging towels and bathmats are essential in making a house seem move-in ready. Towels should be hung evenly spaced in bathrooms, and bathroom mats should be placed in front of sinks and showers. This will not only give the illusion of a larger room but create a polished, unified look so that buyers can envision themselves living in the home in a matter of days. However, avoid busy patterns or bright colors that may not speak to everyone’s individual style. Stick with neutral colors that don’t take away from the overall look of the space.

    Remove Clutter & Store Personal Items

    Likewise to the bathrooms and kitchen, clutter can make a space look smaller and can be distracting to potential buyers. Store them out of sight and keep them neatly organized. Leaving out photographs or children's toys could seem chaotic and make it difficult for potential buyers to envision living in the space.

    Arrange Furniture

    Arrange or rearrange the furniture in a way that is inviting and spacious. When furniture is placed too close together, it can make a room look cramped or small. Keep the pieces properly centered for a sense of balance, and remove any unnecessary furniture that does not add value to the room.

    Grey corner couch with pillows and blankets in white living room interior

    Improving the House

    Replace Light Bulbs

    Great lighting is essential to any photoshoot, so remember to replace burned-out light bulbs. You want to stay away from yellow or blue casts and give your house an overall brighter appearance. Ideally, the photographer will come during the day to capture the natural light that comes into the home. This will help to ensure that the photos are true to life and accurately display the home as it is.

    Open All Blinds and Curtains

    Opening all window treatments is another way to ensure that the house looks its best in photos. Natural light brightens any space and can make the home look bigger and more spacious. When photographing a room, the photographer will usually take several pictures to capture the space from different angles. If the blinds or curtains are closed, the photographer will have to rearrange the furniture to get the most out of the space or take a picture without natural light. Therefore, it is important to open all window treatments before the photographer arrives as to not waste any time.

    Add New Bedding and Pillows

    Adding new bedding and pillows to each bedroom is a great way to make a house look familiar and cozy. Before the photographer arrives, homeowners should make sure that all of the beds in the house are made correctly with matching sheets, blankets, and pillows. Additionally, decorative pillows should be added to each bed to add texture and color to the space. This will create a charming atmosphere in the bedrooms and that will make potential buyers look forward to cozying up in bed.

    Add Greenery and Decor

    Adding texture from greenery and decor in the space gives a lively and vibrant impression. Make sure to match these additions to the overall style of the home. Just because it’s trendy, don’t add mid-century modern decor to your farmhouse-style home. You want your decor, furniture, and general style to be cohesive. Be careful to not overdo it: adding too much will look disorderly and be a waste of money. Keep the decor minimal and tasteful to ensure that the house looks its best in photos.

    woman mowing her lawn

    Preparing the Exterior

    The exterior of the home is important for more than just the photoshoot. It’s the first thing people will see during an open house, or it could be why someone driving by who sees the “For Sale” sign on your lawn might entice them to search for your home online.

    • Mow the lawn & trim the hedges for a well-manicured, polished effect.

    • Sweep the patio, driveway, and walkway to clear away grass clippings, twigs, and leaves.

    • Repair damaged fixtures. A loose gutter just looks sloppy.

    Go the Extra Mile

    Light Candles

    Adding a few lit candles to the table or other areas brings warmth to the space. If possible, opt for a scent that is not too overpowering but still pleasant, like a light vanilla scent. Additionally, make sure to place the candles in areas that are out of reach of children or pets, and don’t forget to blow them out before the photographer arrives.

    When choosing candles, look for ones that come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Smaller candles can be placed on mantles or windowsills, while larger candles can be scattered around the room. If you’re afraid of having too many candles, pick a few places where you can place multiple candles to make the most of the space, like grouping three in the center of a table. When selecting a color for the candles, stay away from bright colors and opt for more muted tones, like grays and whites.

    Place Fresh Flowers

    Fresh flowers provide a bright and cheerful ambiance. Go with flowers that are in season and that have bright colors, like sunflowers, daisies, and roses. Avoid artificial flowers, as they can make a room look stale and dated.

    When choosing where to place the flowers, look for areas that are easily visible and can be seen from multiple angles. You can also place the flowers in areas that you want to draw attention to, like the entryway or the living room. Additionally, if you’re worried about having too many flowers in the room, you can always place a few in a vase and then move them around throughout the house as needed.

    When arranging the flowers, make sure that they are evenly spaced out and that they are placed in areas that will draw the eye. You can also add a few sprigs of greenery around the flowers to give them an extra pop of color. Finally, make sure to replace the flowers every few days to keep them looking fresh and vibrant.

    If you already have the photos out of the way and are ready to list, check out our selling options at or find your perfect home at

    We’d love to hear your thoughts about this article and our blog. Let us know how we did by completing the Unreal Estate Blog Feedback Survey.

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