Photo Ready Guide

Make professional marketing part of your brand.


Sometimes there is a little confusion about exactly how much staging and cleaning should be done before the photographer arrives on site. The answer: all of it. Remember: Real estate staging and interior design are separate careers from real estate photography. In some cases, agents will hire a stager for listings, but often this is not necessary. Photographers can help with small things that affect individual shots such as moving around a vase of flowers that blocks a specific view or if something is just too distracting, but the property should be photo ready before the photographer arrives on site. This helps us provide the best photography that we can by allowing us to focus on just the photography. If there is still work, cleaning, or staging to be done when a photographer arrives, that is a variable that scheduling cannot plan for.

Remember: the more time the photographer has to work on photography the better the photos will be!

Can you just shoot around that?”

The absolute best policy is to remove any factor from the equation that doesn’t need to be there. Hiding things or piles of objects in places you think they might not be visible doesn’t always work with wide angle lenses and if the photographer has to “shoot around it” or “avoid that area” because some things need to be moved but haven’t, then that can constrict the framing of shots (making rooms look smaller) as well as limiting the angles.

How do I know if the property is photo ready?”

In real estate photography, “clean” is not a relative concept. If you want the property to have a better chance at being sold then it absolutely needs to be as clean as humanly possible. Don’t skimp on the photo-shoot prep! We can’t stress enough how important this part of the home-selling process is! Online buyers are finicky and photos of a dirty home leave a bad impression of the property.

What exactly do we need to do to get ready?”


  • Remove all cars from the driveway (park across the street, not directly in front of the house being shot–the photographer might need to stand there for a shot).
  • Put garbage cans in the garage and close garage doors.
  • Clean the pool and remove Polaris and floats.
  • Remove hoses or tidy them up.


  • Set the tables.
  • Remove pets. Crate them if necessary or let them outside, but remember that they don’t need to be visible outside of the windows.
  • Remove pet bowls and litter boxes.
  • Put clean towels on towel racks and make sure they’re straight.
  • Remove everything except decorative items from counters (less is more).
  • Replace all blown light bulbs!
  • Turn off televisions, computers, and fans (these will be turned on for video only).
  • Remove any stickers, magnets, and photos from the fridge.
  • Remove excessive family photos.
  • Remove anything that might be offensive to others.
  • Clean the carpets and sweep the floors.
  • Open all the blinds to let light in and keep them consistently aligned.
  • Make every bed.
  • If you must hide items under the beds make sure that they are not visible.
  • Remove soaps, loofahs, and wash rags from shower and bathroom counters.
  • Remove toothbrushes.
  • Make sure all the windows are cleaned.
  • Store away charging cables.

Use the garage and closets for storage of everything that doesn’t belong in the photo-shoot.

If you believe the property won’t be ready in time please give us a call and let us know before we arrive on-site! Same-day cancels will result in a cancellation fee. Listings that are not photo can be subject to cancellation.

Hiring a professional stager is never a bad idea! We’ve been working with our friends over at The Polished Peach for years and can’t recommend them enough!

A few quick notes to wrap up:
  • De-clutter and stage before the appointment!
  • Make sure contractors will be completed with projects before the appointment! We understand that sometimes projects run over time or get completed late, we just ask that you let us know if this could be an issue. It's recommended to plan on contractor work to be scheduled to be completed at the least a day before the photo-shoot. From our experience, contractor work is rarely ever completed on time if it's scheduled the same day as the shoot.
  • Don't book showings at the time of the photo-shoot! (Yes, this has actually happened to us).