Photography Prep Checklist

Preparing a Home for a Professional Photo Shoot

It’s important for buyers looking at your home to make an emotional connection by being able to “see” themselves living there. Here is a shortlist of easily accomplished tasks to know the home is presented in its best light and to improve the quality of the photography.

This checklist should be completed prior to the photography appointment which will ensure the photographer can focus on creating great images within their time at the shoot. 

Interior (All Rooms)

Clean the entire house – vacuum and mop the floors, dust, etc.

Repair dripping faucets, cracked tiles, broken shutters or blinds, and any other items

Replace any burned-out light bulbs in fixtures and lamps

Remove clutter and excessive decorative items from bookshelves, tables, and cabinets

Remove piles of newspapers, magazines, books, mail, and other paper

Hide remote controls, mobile docking stations, and charging cables

Conceal all exposed cables and power cords as best as possible

Remove throw rugs and runners in entryways, kitchens, and bathrooms

Tuck trashcans out of view in a closet or cupboard

Turn OFF all ceiling fans

Turn OFF all TVs, computers, monitors, gaming consoles, and other electronics

Turn ON all overhead lights and lamps

Draperies and blinds should be open and uniform for all windows in each room


Remove all vehicles from driveways and do not park directly in front of the house

Close the garage doors

Move all garbage cans and recycling bins out of sight

Put away all garden tools, including water hoses and sprinklers

Remove all children’s toys, goals, nets, balls, and bikes from the yard

Trim the grass and bushes, rake the yard, and put out fresh pine straw and/or mulch

Sweep driveways, sidewalks, walkways, patios, decks, stairs, and any hard surfaces

Remove covers from well-maintained grills and smokers; cover neglected ones

Arrange outdoor furniture and cushions; be sure pillows and cushions are fresh, not faded

Open any outdoor umbrellas

For pools, remove any debris, the pool sweep, pool cleaning equipment, and any pool toys

Turn on any water features, such as waterfalls and bubblers

Visible areas under decks should be free of unsightly items and clutter

Remove cobwebs from door frames and eaves

Be sure roof and gutters are free of leaves and other debris

Remove empty planters

A planter of flowers at or near the front entrance is a nice touch

Living and Family Room

Clean the interior of the fireplace and light it

De-clutter the fireplace mantel and hearth

Fluff and arrange furniture cushions and pillows on all seating areas

Remove children’s and pets toys


Be sure the beds are neatly made, and pillows are fluffed and neatly arranged

Bed linens, bed skirts, and throws should be smooth

Items stored under beds should be out of sight

Remove any wall posters, window stickers, etc.

Remove all personal items from nightstands

Remove clutter from dressers and bookshelves

If there is a fireplace, clean the interior and light it

Clothes should be neatly hung or folded and put away

If the closet is to be photographed, be sure it’s neatly organized and cleaned

For kid’s rooms, organize small toys into baskets or wicker bins; put away larger toys

For nurseries, remove or hide items such as diaper pails, changing table pads, etc.


Clean all major appliances – refrigerator, oven, range hood, etc.

Clear off countertops and remove small appliances – toaster, coffee pot, knife block, can opener, etc.

Thoroughly clean and wipe down all countertops

Remove all items from refrigerator doors, including photos, notes, magnets, and paper

Remove all floor mats

Put away all dishes and dish towels

Be sure the sink is clean and free of dishes, dish racks, scrub brushes, sponges, sponge holders, and soap dispensers

Turn on any under-counter lighting and the stove light

Decorating with a bowl of fresh fruit or a small bouquet of flowers is a nice touch

Dining Room

Remove clutter from china cabinet and buffet

If the china cabinet has a light, turn it on

Clean and polish the dining room table

Straighten all chairs and ensure they are spaced evenly around the table

Be sure the table is centered under the chandelier if possible

Add a colorful centerpiece to the table, such as candles or flowers

Optional: Set the table with nice dinnerware using decorative place settings


Remove all personal-care items, such as soaps, toothbrushes, brushes and combs, medications, etc. from countertops

Remove shampoo, soap, loofas, razors, etc. from showers and bathtubs

Remove all floor mats and throw rugs

Thoroughly clean mirrors, bath tubs, showers, toilets, and countertops

If you have a glass shower door, clean and squeegee to remove haze, mold, or mildew

Toilet seats should be down and lids closed

Hide toilet brushes and laundry baskets

Remove kids’ stools and bath toys

Replace used towels and washcloths with clean, fluffy towels (white if possible)

Laundry Room

Be sure all dirty laundry and laundry baskets are out of sight

Close all cabinets

Remove all items from counters if possible

Clean the appliances and wipe down all countertops to ensure they’re free of fingerprints, soap scum, etc.


Pets should be contained in a hidden crate, garage, or outside

Put away pet beds, toys, food dishes, and scratching posts

Ensure floors, furniture, and beds are free of pet hair

Ensure yard is free of pet waste