Real Estate Check List


Preparing for a photography shoot.

To photograph an average-sized home (up to about 2,000 square feet) should take about an hour depending on the number of images selected.  Larger homes will of course take more time and require more images. 

A typical real estate listing will include both the exterior and interior shots of the home, including all major rooms. Homeowners and agents can help make the photography process go smoothly and make the home look its best in the photographs by doing some preparation before any photography begins. Many of the following recommendations may seem obvious but it is good to have a checklist just so nothing is forgotten as you prepare the home for your photography session: 

The better the home shows in photographs the more likely potential buyers will want to view it and make an offer. You are trying to highlight the home’s best features and too much “stuff” can be distracting. If in doubt, remember less is more. We are not photographing your home, we are photographing the potential new home of prospective buyers or renters.  Do not take the process personally, it is all part of the business of selling and renting a house. High-quality photography will show the home exactly as it is.  Some minor flaws and dirt can be corrected in post-processing, but if you can see it with your eyes the camera will “see it too”.

If You Do Nothing Else, Do These Things:

    • Replace all burned-out light bulbs both inside and outside the house.  Try to keep all the bulbs within a room consistent ie; color, LED, incandescent, etc. Good lighting is key.
    • Hide all clutter.
    • Remove excess furnishings and knick-knacks from rooms.  Large amounts of furniture and decorations do not generally photograph well and can distract from the home’s features and can potentially make a room look smaller.
    • Pick up throw rugs and runners in entryways, kitchens, and bathrooms so that the floor can be clearly seen.
    • Clean the floors.
Home Exterior:

    • Remove all cars, boats, RVs, motorcycles etc. from the driveways and do not park directly in front of the house.
    • Move garbage and recycling cans out of sight.
    • Remove all garden tools, hoses, and clutter.
    • Pick up after your pets. 
    • Mow the grass, rake up leaves and debris, pull weeds and remove any dead vegetation.
    • If you are feeling ambitious, plant some fresh flowers in empty planters and pots.
    • Sweep driveways, sidewalks and patios.
Swimming Pools and Spas:

    • Make sure they are clean.  Sweep dirt off the bottom and skim off the debris floating on top. 
    • Remove the cover, pool sweep, floating chlorine dispenser, and pool toys.
    • Straighten lounge chairs, put away cleaning tools, and set up the patio umbrella if you have one.
    • Turn on pool light(s), waterfalls, and spa bubbles. Verify several days prior to your shoot that these are working in case you need to schedule repairs.
    • If you want to add an extra touch, roll up some colorful pool towels and place them on the chairs and set up a pitcher of lemonade with some glasses on a table.

Living & Family Room:

    • Remove newspapers and magazines and put away books.
    • Tuck the remote controls in a draw to get them out of sight.
    • Conceal exposed cables and cords as best that you can.
    • Remove clutter, personal photos, the kid’s toys, etc. from bookshelves, tables, and the floor.
    • Dust and vacuum. 
    • Wash any glass surfaces including tabletops, cabinet doors, and windows.  Smudges and dirt on glass surfaces will be noticeable.
    • Straighten pillows and throws.


    • Make the beds neatly; straighten the bedspreads and pillows. 
    • Remove books, magazines, pictures, clock radios, from bedside tables, tidy up, dust, and vacuum. etc.
    • In the kid’s rooms put excess toys out of sight, remove wall posters and drawings.


    • Put small appliances, knife blocks paper towels, and kitchen gadgets away and off the counters
    • Remove photos, notes, papers, and magnets from the refrigerator.
    • Clean the major appliances; refrigerator, oven, stove-top, range hood, and dishwasher.
    • Wipe down the counter-tops.
    • Don’t leave any dirty dishes in the sink or sponges, dish towels, dish soap, or the like near the sink.
    • Move trash cans out of sight.

Dining Room:

    • Dust the furniture and vacuum the floors.
    • Setting the table with nice dinnerware, napkins and a centerpiece can give a homey feel.
    • If you have a China cabinet make sure things are straight and tidy inside.


    • Clear counter-tops of toiletries, tissues, hair products, etc.
    • Remove personal care products and children’s bath toys from the shower and tub.
    • Make sure towels are folded neatly and are straight on the towel bars.
    • Close toilet lids.
    • Clean mirrors and shower doors.
    • Hide toilet brushes and plungers.

Odds and Ends:

    • Turn on all the lights, inside and out (if shooting twilight session).
    • Turn off the ceiling fans.
    • Open the blinds, shades, and curtains.