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real estate preparation

To efficiently maintain and deliver the level of service my clients expect, I ask that all staging and cleaning be done prior to my arrival. 

Please review the tips on preparing your home.



Prior to the shoot,  all contracts between you and I must be signed and all details worked out such as rates, licensing, third party agreements, delivery of product and payment methods. 

Make sure the homeowner (property owner/operator) is aware of the shoot and what is expected.  Let them know exactly what rooms and areas will be photographed and  what they can do to prepare.

If the property is not vacant, the property owner or realtor must attend the session. An employee, family or friend of the owner will not suffice. This is to protect me from any liability if possessions go missing or end up broken for example.  Also if a location release is required the homeowner will need to sign the paperwork.


Make sure that everyone is on the same page as far as scheduling. Sometimes things happen and shoots need to be rescheduled (whether for weather conditions or unforeseeable circumstances). Remember to contact everyone involved if the shoot date or time changes.


The cleaner and more photo-ready the home the more efficiently I will be able to work and the photos will end up far more pleasing.

For homes that are occupied, staging couldn’t be more important. Potential homeowners want to see homes that they can relate to. They want to envision the home as they would live in it, not necessarily how the current occupant does.

Please note, for the sake of efficiency, I am not responsible and will not partake in any of the following duties while photographing the property:

I Do Not:

  • Move or re-arrange furniture

  • Make beds, clean, dust or de-clutter

  • Pick up toys or yard items

  • "Photoshop" vehicles, walls, damaged walls, power lines, wall pictures, cords, etc.

  • Touch personal bathroom supplies (shampoo, toothbrushes, deodorant, towels)

On the day of:

  1. Turn on ALL interior lights – even lights in furniture cabinets.

  2. Turn OFF all ceiling fans.

  3. Light fireplaces and candles.

  4. Open all blinds, shades, and curtains.

  5. Clear all cars and vehicles from the driveway and the street in front of the home.

  6. Please secure all animals in a safe location, away from all rooms being photographed.


There is one more thing I want to bring to your attention.  Please have your homeowners place all valuables in a secure location.  There will potentially be many people walking through their home, and valuables should be out of site and secure. Safe deposit boxes and wall safes are great for this.


Whether the home/location is occupied or not it still needs a good cleaning before the photographer walks in with their equipment.  Here’s a few things to look for as far as the cleanliness of the home.

  • If you can hire a cleaning service, have them come the day before (or a few days before) the shoot. This was save you from having to clean the home at the last minute before the photographer arrives.

  • Sweep, mop and vacuum all the floors in all of the rooms that the photographer will be shooting. This is especially important if the house is unoccupied, since the photos will show the entire floor area of the room(s).

  • Clean all of the windows (inside and out), mirrors and glass doors.

  • Dust and clean all the furniture, decorations and screens in the home.  Remember not all TVs and computer monitors can have Windex on them, you can buy screen spray at your local electronics store.

  • All ceiling fans are dusted and turned off.

  • All dishes and kitchenware are washed and put away in their proper place. All of the countertops and cupboards are cleaned and cleared.

  • In the bathroom make sure the bath tub, toilet, shower curtain and sinks are cleaned. Again, clean any mirrors..

  • Clean away any cobwebs that may be hiding in the corners of the home.

  • For exterior shoots the lawn should be maintained. Grass should be freshly cut, raked and any weeds pulled.

  • Clean and sweep and driveways, patios decks and pool areas. Make sure the pools is clear of any debris.

staging the location

Staging the location prior to being shot is just as important as cleaning it. A professional stager can really make a huge difference  in the outcome of the photographs. Stagers are typically highly-trained interior designers who can transform a home by looking at a space and decorating it to match the style of the home and its architecture.


For those homes that may not need staging, I recommend at least trying to clear clutter from all the rooms. Here are a few ways to minimize the distractions in the home.


  • Thoroughly clean whole house (vacuum carpet, mop hard floors, clean countertops, clean windows)

  • Turn all overhead lights and lamps ON

  • Replace all burned out light bulbs

  • Use bulbs of the same temperature (ALL incandescent or ALL compact fluorescent)

  • Turn all ceiling fans OFF

  • Turn all TVs OFF

  • Turn all computer screens OFF

  • Open blinds/window treatments to let in outside light

  • Remove personal photographs (or replace with general landscape/object photographs)

  • Make all beds

  • Remove small floor rugs to reveal actual flooring

  • Place all shoes/jackets in closets


  • Close garage doors

  • Remove cars from driveway and front of home

  • Clean up landscaping (mow, trim shrubs, clear leaves)

  • Remove empty planters

  • Use broom to remove cobwebs from eaves and door frames

  • Remove visible water hoses

  • Remove toys, sports balls, basketball goals, soccer goals, etc.


Clean porch, tidy up outdoor tables/chairs/cushions

  • Pillows/cushions should be fresh, not faded

  • Clear out kid's toys, balls, frisbees, etc.

  • Clean pool

  • Remove pool vacuum/cleaner hose

  • Hide pool cleaning supplies

  • Turn on pool fountains/water features

  • Remove visible water hoses

  • Remove trash cans


  • Clear countertops completely. No knife blocks, baking supplies, mail, etc.

  • Leave out max of one small appliance (ex. coffee maker)

  • Clear outside of refrigerator of magnets, papers, photos, etc.

  • Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet

  • Remove dishes from sink, place in dishwasher


  • Clear table, dust and polish the table top

  • Use decorative place setting if available

  • Feature one center piece such as a bouquet of flowers

  • Straighten all chairs and space them evenly

  • Remove child seats/booster chairs


  • Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, etc.

  • De-clutter fireplace mantel/hearth (no more than 5 items, including art)

  • Clean interior of fireplace and re-paint if needed

  • Fluff and arrange furniture pillows

  • Remove kid's toys


  • Make bed, including decorative pillows/shams if available

  • Press bed linens and bed skirts

  • Clear nightstands of all personal items

  • Store away phone/tablet charging cables

  • Remove all clutter from top of dressers

  • Remove family photos from walls

  • Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos


  • Remove personalized names from walls

  • Remove wall stickers/posters

  • Remove diaper genies

  • Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos


  • Clear countertops completely. No soap, toothbrushes, medications, deodorant, etc.

  • Put toilet seats down

  • Close closet doors

  • Remove shampoo, soap, loofahs, etc. from showers and tubs

  • Remove dirty towels - leave out only new, unused towels

  • Remove floor mats


  • Place food and water bowls in pantry or closet

  • Place pet beds/toys in pantry or closet

  • Use lint roller on furniture to remove pet hair

  • Contain pets in hidden crate or outside

  • Clear back yard of pet waste/toys

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