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Preparing Your Home for Real Estate Photography

Preparing Your Home for Real Estate Photography

Contributed by Larry Gasinski, Photography by Larry Gasinski

Previously I wrote about using a professional photographer when listing your home for sale (see here). In this day of the Internet, where buyers routinely search online for homes, it is very important to make sure you make a great first impression. Professional photography will go a long way in helping your home make a great first impression.

Let’s say that you and your REALTOR® have agreed to use a professional photographer. What’s next? It is important to prepare your home for the photographs. Your agent has probably already told you some things to do to prepare your home for visits by potential buyers. Many of these same things help to prepare the home for photographs. Let’s go through some of those things:


  • Move cars out of the driveway and away from the front of the home.


    Photo: Larry Gasinski

  • Put trash containers out of sight.
  • The lawn should be freshly mowed and trimmed.
  • Prune shrubs and trees.
  • De-clutter: remove tools, toys, car parts, newspapers, garden hoses, etc.
  • Touch up paint if necessary.
  • If you have a patio with a picnic table, set the table with a colorful tablecloth and place settings. If the table has an umbrella, put it up.
  • If you have a pool, remove the pool sweep. If there is a waterfall or fountain, turn it on.
  • Outdoor photos are best taken early to mid-morning and then again late afternoon to early evening. The harsh mid-day sun is usually not very flattering. However, too early or too late with the sun low in the sky can make taking photos difficult if the sun is shining directly into the camera lens.
  • If you have a yard with a pool and lighting, or landscape lighting, pictures at dusk with the exterior lights on often show your yard at its best.
  • I personally am not a fan of wetting down concrete for exterior photographs. During the day, the concrete begins to dry unevenly and puddles can result in glare. An exception to this is twilight photographs in which the wet surface sometimes enhances the look of the concrete.



  • De-clutter. Let me repeat this: De-clutter!
  • Remove magnets, photos, recipes, etc. from the refrigerator doors.
  • Pick up clothing, books, papers, etc.
  • Remove personal items (knick-knacks, photographs, etc.). You do not need to make the home look vacant, but less is better.
  • preparing-home-for-real-estate-photography

    Photo: Flickr

    Remove excess furniture. Sometimes removing a chair or coffee table can make a room look larger.

  • Remove shampoo, conditioner, and other bottles from the shower. Towels in the bathroom should be fresh, not recently used after a shower.
  • Remove towels hanging on oven door handles.
  • De-clutter your kitchen counters.
  • Clean windows and mirrors
  • Set the stage:
    • Use a tablecloth and place settings on the dining room and kitchen tables. A vase with colorful flowers often looks good in photographs.
    • Arrange colorful books and magazines on the coffee table.
    • Candles, flowers, and coffee table art books are also a nice

      Photo: Flickr


    • Be sure beds are made and clothes put away. Extra pillows and a nice spread on the bead make very attractive photographs.
  • I usually like to have the interior lights on for photographs. Be sure any burnt-out bulbs have been replaced.
  • If your home has special features, be sure to tell the photographer. It may be those special features captured in a photograph that sell your home.

Occasionally, a seller will wait until the photographer arrives before starting to de-clutter or move items from rooms. I would strongly advise against this. First of all, it greatly slows down the photo session, but more importantly, it usually results in a room or rooms not looking their best. It is much better to give the project some forethought and have the home ready for the photographer.

Lastly, if in doubt about how to best present your home, it might be a good idea to hire a stager for the task. Stagers know how to make a home look its best and may be able to assist with small accessories that will look nice in a photograph. Your real estate agent can probably recommend an accomplished stager for you.

For any questions, don’t hesitate to call me at 661-263-7457 or check out my website at

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28040 Industry Drive, Valencia, CA, 91355
Phone: (661) 255-3112
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