Prepping a Home for a Quick, Clean, Photo Shoot



As a results of many requests, I’ve produced this page outlining the most common and helpful ways to prepare a home for a photo shoot. The more prepared your home is to shoot, the faster it will go, the better it will look, and the less it will cost in the end. I understand how much work it is to prepare a home, it is a grueling process, especially when you need to live in that home. Because you live in a home, often times you can’t do many of the things listed below, so start with the idea that the bottom items are the ideal, but if you can’t do them all, it’s absolutely fine. To help prioritize which might be the most important and/or easiest to do, I’ve tried to identify the most common items with an asterisk *. As a rule of thumb, start with the things which stand out the most, and work your way down to the less conspicuous.

Good luck, and again, this list is to help, not to give you a dozen more things to worry about!


In General:

* Turn ceiling fans OFF

* Turn TVs OFF

* Turn computer screens OFF

* Open blinds/window treatments to let in outside light. (Point blinds/shutters 45-degrees toward ceiling.)

* Make all beds

* Place shoes/jackets in closets





Front Exterior

* Remove cars from driveway and front of home

* Close garage doors

Remove visible water hoses

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



* Remove pool vacuum/cleaner hose

* Hide pool cleaning supplies

* Clean pool

* Turn on pool lights

Clean porch, tidy up outdoor tables/chairs/cushions

Clear out kids’ toys, balls, frisbees, etc.

Turn on pool fountains/water features

Remove visible water hoses

Remove trash cans

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

Clear back yard of pet waste




Living Room

Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, etc.

De-clutter fireplace mantel/hearth (aim for less than 5 items, including art)

Fluff and arrange furniture pillows

Remove kids’ toys


* Try to clear countertops completely. Remove all small items, try to remove larger ones.

Try to leave out only one or two small appliance (ex. nice coffee maker, mixer )

Clear refrigerator of magnets, papers, photos, etc.

Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet

Remove dishes from sink, place in dishwasher

Hide soaps and soap pumps.


Dining Room

Clear table, dust and polish the table top

Use decorative place setting if available

Straighten all chairs and space them evenly

Remove child seats/booster chairs



* Make bed, including decorative pillows/shams if available

* Clear nightstands of all personal items

* Put away phone/tablet charging cables

* Hide trash cans

Remove all clutter (or as much as possible) from top of dressers

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



* Clear countertops completely. No soap, toothbrushes, medications, deodorant, perfumes (I know the bottles are pretty, but no).

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

* Remove dirty towels – leave out only new, unused towels

Put toilet seats down

Close closet doors

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




Fine Tuning Beyond the Basics:


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

Look for and replace burned out light bulbs

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

Feature one decorative center piece such as a bouquet of flowers on dining room table

Remove personal photographs (or replace with decorative photographs)

Remove posters / names from bedroom walls

Remove small floor rugs to reveal actual flooring

Remove family photos from walls

Press bed linens and bed skirts

Clean interior of fireplace and re-paint if needed



Pillows/cushions should be fresh, not faded

Use broom to remove cobwebs from eaves and door frames

Remove empty planters



Professional Home Staging


Hiring a professional home stager can truly make a home stand out from its peers. From completely furnishing a home for every walk-through to just adding some accent decor for a photo shoot, there are different degrees of home staging to suit different situations. Contact us about adding home staging to a photo shoot. Staging starts at $500.