How to Prepare your Home for Real Estate Photography

Living room real estate photography

Written by Trine B.

Are you selling a home and need to sort out your real estate photography? You don’t need to hire a stylist to make your house look attractive to potential buyers. Just read our tips and invest a little bit of time!

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Heard it before? This old saying certainly applies when selling your home. Potential buyers see numerous ads filled with tempting real estate for sale. So invest some time to bring your home to its full potential before you release it on the market.

Buyers often look at pictures and floor plans as the first step in their search. That’s why many sellers hire a professional real estate photographer to shoot beautiful pictures inside and outside their home.

Before the photographer arrives, you have an important role. It’s generally your responsibility to prepare and style the home for the photographs. A few hours of cleaning, arranging and decluttering can help you receive beautiful, appealing photographs, for an attractive real estate listing and a faster sale!

Prepare for real estate photography

Where to start?

While you do not have to show every part of the house in a real estate listing, most agents and photographers will prioritize these standard images:

  • Wide-angle shots of bedrooms, kitchen and living room
  • One photo of the main bathroom
  • 1-3 shots of the backyard and a couple of shots of the front yard and entry
  • Shots of features such as the laundry room, garage, and pantry

It’s a good idea to speak with your real estate agent or photographer to determine which areas of your home will be showcased, then start preparing.

General tips when preparing your home for real estate photography:

  • Clean the whole house (vacuum carpet, mop hard floors, clean countertops,
    clean windows)
  • Replace all burned-out light bulbs
  • Remove personal photographs (or replace with general landscape/object
  • Make all beds
  • Remove small floor rugs to reveal actual flooring and get a cleaner look
  • Put all clothes in closets
  • Consider removing some furniture to make the house appear more spacious

Checklist: Top tips on how to prepare for real estate photography – area by area

Exterior, front yard and backyard

  • Close all garage doors
  • Remove cars, so they are not visible in the pictures
  • Attend to landscaping (mow the lawn, trim bushes and remove leaves)
  • Remove dead foliage and empty planters
  • Remove trash cans
  • Remove visible water hoses, ladders, and other tools
  • Remove toys and playground supplies
  • Remove any seasonal decor (for example, Christmas lights)
  • Tidy up outdoor tables, chairs etc. and fluff cushions
  • Clean the pool
  • Consider adding a few details like candle holders etc to create a cozy atmosphere

front door real estate photography

Hallway and wardrobe

  • Put clothes in the closet. Leave only an item or two on a hanger or a hook
  • Remove shoes. If you decide to leave a pair, make sure they are clean and nice
  • Remove clutter (keys, wallets, papers, etc.)


  • Clear countertops – less is more
  • Leave a couple of stylish items on the counter (a coffee maker or a bowl of fruit)
  • Hide all dishes; place dirty dishes in the dishwasher
  • Hide garbage cans and recycling bins
  • Clear the front of the refrigerator of magnets, postcards, photos, etc.
  • Clean and/or polish countertops and cabinets to make sure there are no fingermarks
  • Clear dining table. Consider having a vase of fresh flowers on the table
  • Straighten all chairs and space them evenly
  • Remove children’s chairs or high seats

kitchen real estate photography

Living room

  • Remove magazines, papers, mail, and random clutter
  • Arrange books and art in bookshelves, so it looks tidy
  • Remove toys
  • Remove clutter and clean interior of the fireplace
  • If the fireplace has a glass front – clean it
  • Fluff and arrange furniture pillows
  • Hide and/or arrange cables from TV, stereo and other electrical devices

living room real estate photography


  • Bedding should be in matching colors, have no wrinkles and no discoloring or fading
  • Press bed linens and bed skirts
  • Make the beds, including decorative pillows/shams if available
  • Edges of bedding and sheets when visible should either be tucked neatly or hung straight
  • Pillows should be wrinkle-free, fluffed, matching and arranged neatly
  • Remove personal belongings like pictures, clothing, electronics, and clutter
  • Remove trash cans
  • Clean under the bed, remove items that may show in the photos

bedroom real estate photography

Kids & guest bedrooms

  • Remove personalized items like names and pictures from walls
  • Tidy the room: put books in bookshelves, toys in boxes, and put some key toys on shelves for display
  • Clean under the bed, removing items that may show in the photos

Home office

  • Clear desk
  • Hide and/or arrange all the cables
  • Hide papers
  • Arrange items neatly in a bookshelf
  • Remove personalized items


  • Clear countertops. Consider leaving a decorative soap dispenser, etc.
  • Put toilet seats down
  • Remove shampoo, soap, etc. from showers and tubs
  • Remove dirty towels. Hang up clean towels in matching colors
  • Remove floor mats

bathroom real estate photography

When you have prepared your house, it’s a good idea to ask your real estate agent to come over and take a final look. Most real estate agents have vast experience in this area, are as eager to sell as you are, plus have a different perspective on the home than you have. If the real estate agent says the house is ready – it’s ready – and the photographer can start shooting.

Good luck with your sale!

Need floor plans for your real estate listing?

With RoomSketcher Floor Plan Services you can order high-quality 2D and 3D Floor Plans and get them delivered the next business day.

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