Preparing a home for real estate photography takes a little bit of effort. Whether for sale by owner or through an agent, this article will cover the basic steps and considerations involved in prepping a home for real estate photography.

Depending on the size of your home and the options you’ve selected for the photography package, the typical shoot (depending on techniques employed) will likely take between 30 and 60 minutes to complete onsite, and an additional 60+ minutes in post processing to produce the style and quality of images that John Glover Photography consistently delivers. This means that the majority of the time spent to produce stellar imagery for your listing is NOT spent on site at the home. Please keep this in mind when considering real estate photography pricing.

Before we get into other recommendations, remember that pets should not be on property during a photo shoot for a number of safety and practical reasons. If they must be on site during the shoot, make sure that they are safely and securely put away for the duration of the shoot in an area of the home that will not be photographed.


The following items should be carefully considered in prep for the exterior photography for your listing:

  • Remove cars from the driveway and avoid parking on the street directly in front of the property.
  • Lawn should be freshly¬†mowed and trimmed.
  • Neatly trim hedges and shrubs, but careful not to go too far so as to require regrowth for the plants to look natural.
  • Put away all lawn or yard furniture that isn’t in excellent condition; even if it is, only leave a few select pieces that convey a clean look and feel to the yard.
  • Clean remaining outdoor furniture thoroughly including any outdoor chair cushions.
  • Sweep or wash all decks and hardscape.
  • Dust or wash all patio covers.
  • Put away all gardening tools, chemicals, cleaners, and odds and ends.
  • Cover any BBQ’s and grills with a clean high quality cover that is in good condition – OR – leave the BBQ uncovered if it is clean and in excellent condition and you’d like to feature it in the photos.
  • Take down bird feeders and wind chimes.
  • Neatly coil garden hoses or move them to the garage.
  • Place trash cans in side yards or in the garage out of view of any area that should be photographed.
  • Sweep down swimming pools and spas; remove all leaves and debris from view. Turn on fountains and spill ways.


The following items should be carefully considered in prep for the interior photography for your listing:

  • Replace ALL burnt out lightbulbs.
  • Reduce clutter – likely beyond what you think is reasonable. This is a touchy topic for some, but less is almost always more when it comes to¬†miscellaneous and decorative items in real estate photography.
  • Remove personalized items from counters and walls such as family photos and names of family members.
  • Turn off all ceiling fans.
  • Turn on all interior lights including under counter lights, range top lights and hutch / furniture lighting.
  • Close all windows in the home.
  • Partially close blinds, shades and curtains – the photographer should make final adjustments to window coverings as part of the shoot.
  • Completely clear counters in kitchens and bathrooms. This includes toothbrushes, shaving equipment, and any other personal items.
  • Remove shampoo, conditioner, soap and washcloths from showers and bathtubs.
  • Put toilet seats and covers down.
  • Close closet doors and open all other interior doors.
  • Remove floor mats from bathrooms and kitchen.
  • Hide TV and other Appliance remote controls.
  • Clear the fridge of magnets, children’s drawings and other items.

Lastly, it’s important to understand that the overall success of your real estate shoot depends very much on proper preparation prior to arrival of your photographer. Not only is it unreasonable to expect the photographer to handle things like moving furniture around, or cleaning up clutter, it also endangers the quality of your photos. Photographers are paid to take photographs. Even if you find one that is willing to work with you to tidy things up or move things around during the shoot, understand that there is no doubt that you’re cutting into your shoot time by doing so.

In addition, John Glover Photography has a policy of never handling people’s personal items including the following:

  • Bathroom toiletries
  • Shampoo, conditioner, soap, washcloths, bath towels
  • Clothing, bedding

The overall success of your real estate shoot depends just as much on you as it does the photographer. When in doubt about how to properly prepare your home, be sure to discuss the situation with your photographer prior to the shoot for best results.

For more information or to schedule your real estate shoot, please contact John Glover Photography.