Pre-Shoot Home Preparation Checklist

Photos will give your potential buyers their first impression, and our goal at IGNIS IMAGES is to present your home in its best light. Since your photos will be used to market your home online, your home should be clean, decluttered, and as neutral in appearance as possible. You want potential buyers to picture themselves in your home. With this in mind, here are a few tips and guidelines to help you prepare your home for photography.

  • Depending on the size of your home, your photoshoot will take 30 minutes to and hour (or more).
  • Typcial photo packages include still photos of the interior and exterior of your home. You or your realtor can order additional services such as aerial photography or twilight photos for an extra fee.
  • Your photographer will photograph each room, including the main living areas, kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Closets, garages, and storage areas are typically not photographed. Your back yard will likely not be photographed unless you have a special feature such as a pool or deck.
  • Your photographer will choose the angles and shots they best feel show off your home, but will be happy to consider special photos upon request. These extra requested photos may or may not incur additional fees.

General Exterior Preparation

  • Mow the yard and trim the trees and bushes if necessary. Remove weeds and dead plants.
  • Park vehicles in the garage or down the street.
  • Remove dirt, oil, and stains from the driveway, sidewalk, fence, porch, and facade if necessary.
  • Hide garbage and recycling bins. Also hide hoses, lawn equipment, and personal items.
  • It you have a pool, make sure it is clean, open, and all hoses, vacuums, and toys are hidden.

General Interior Preparation

  • Vacuum carpets. Mop and/or sweep floors.
  • Turn OFF ceiling fans and TVs. Hide remotes.
  • Turn ON all lights. This includes overheads, lamps, under cabinet, decorative, accent, etc.)
  • Fully open all blinds and curtains. Mini blinds can be left down and turned so you can see outside. Clean windows if noticably dirty. Windows should remain closed.
  • Hide all pet-related items such as dishes, beds, toys, kennels, and litter boxes.
  • Hide all trash bins.
  • Hide personal items you don’t want photographed and shown online. Also hide expensive items. You home along with your address will be shown online.
  • Bookshelves should be de-cluttered. Think minimalistic without being fully bare.

Living Room Preparation—this room is where a potential buyer and their family will spend most of their time, so make it look as inviting as possible.

  • Store away blankets, excessive throw pillows, candles, personal items, DVDs, and game systems. Fluff and arrange the pillows you choose to leave out.
  • Remove clutter from top and underneath end tables and coffee table.
  • Clean out the fireplace and declutter the mantel.
  • Remove children’s toys and pet-related items.
  • Remove personal photos at your discretion to help protect your privacy. The more neutral your home appears, the more likely a buyer can picture themselves living there.

Kitchen Preparation—these photos generally have the top number of views on a tour, so it’s important to make this room shine.

  • All clutter on countertops should be removed and hidden away. This includes personal items, dishes, drying racks, dish towels, dish soap, spices, toasters and small appliances, coffee makers, etc.
  • Table tops should be either completely bare with a simple centerpiece, or staged with full place settings at every chair.
  • Remove towels from hooks, front of ovens, dishwashers, and cabinets.
  • Polish your stainless steel appliances. Remove refrigerator magnets.

Bedroom Preparation—just like your living room, your potential buyers will spend a large part of their lives in the bedroom, so let’s make it look comfortable and relaxing.

  • Make the bed and fluff the pillows.
  • Store away personal items, shoes, coats, etc.
  • Declutter the tops of dressers and tables.
  • Be sure lamps are plugged in and in working order.
  • Your closets can be used to store things out of sight you’d rather not have photographed. However, if your closet is a custom build or offers a special amenity, be sure to organize and stage it for presentation.

Bathroom Preparation—you’ll want your bathroom to look as clean and pristine as possible, so spend a little extra time here for the best presentation possible.

  • Close the toilet seats.
  • Clear off countertops completely, including any decor.
  • Remove toiletries, soaps, shampoos, hygiene, and personal items from visible areas, including the bath and shower.
  • Clean the shower door to remove smudges and water stains.
  • Remove used towels from towel rods and replace with new, folded towels.
  • Hide away clothes hampers.

If in doubt about how to best declutter and stage your home, ask your realtor for help. They can offer advice on how to best present your home for potential buyers.

Finally, on the day of your photo shoot it’s best that your family is not present. Take the time to go shopping, watch a movie, or ingulge in another fun activity knowing your home is in the hands of professionals. Your photo shoot will progress much more quickly if your photographer can move freely from room to room without interruption.