Shoot Prep Guide


The aim of the shoot is to show the home in its best possible light - not the things in the home. When showcasing it and its features to prospective buyers/renters, the less clutter, the better.

If you’re ever in doubt while preparing your home for a shoot, remember this: “Less is more.”


Home Interior:

Hide the clutter and clean the mess. (Closets, garages, and unfinished parts of the home are great places to hide stuff.)

Replace all burned out light bulbs. (Outside bulbs don’t need to be replaced unless you ordered a Twilight Shoot.) Try to keep all the bulbs within a room the same type. Good lighting is essential to good photography.

Remove extra furnishings, knick-knacks, trinkets, etc. from all rooms. Excess amounts of furniture and decor don’t typically photograph well, and can distract from the home’s features. They also tend to make rooms look much smaller.

Pick up and hide throw rugs and runners in entryways, kitchens, and bathrooms so that the floor can be clearly visible.

Wash the windows (or have them professionally washed) and mirrors.

Vacuum and/or mop the floors.

Home Exterior: 

Remove all vehicles from the driveway. Don’t park them directly in front of the house.

Move garbage and recycling bins out of sight (garage or shed is usually easiest).

Remove all gardening tools, hoses, and clutter.

Pick up after your pets. 

Cut the grass, rake the leaves and/or debris, pull weeds and remove any dead vegetation.

Sweep driveways, sidewalks and patios.

Bonus: plant some fresh flowers in empty planters and pots.

Odds and Ends:

Turn on all the lights, inside and out.

Turn off the ceiling fans. (Moving fans blur in photos.)

Lower the blinds and turn them up at a 45º angle (this helps diffuse the light evenly throughout the room), open shades and curtains.


(We encourage you to do as many of these as possible - especially the kitchen and bathrooms. Taking care of putting these spaces in order goes a long way in the presentation of your home.)

Swimming Pools and Spas:

No one wants to take a dip in a green, algae filled pool or jacuzzi. They should be clean. Vacuum dirt off the bottom and remove debris floating on top.

Remove the cover, pool sweep, floating chlorine dispenser, pool toys, etc..

Straighten lounge chairs, put away cleaning tools, and set up the patio umbrella if you have one.

Turn on the pool light(s), waterfalls and spa bubbles. (This is especially important for evening or Twilight Shoots.) Verify several days prior to your shoot that these are working in case you need to schedule repairs.

Bonus! You can add a magic touch or two. Some examples: Role up some colorful pool towels and place them on pool chairs. You can set up a pitcher of lemonade or iced tea with some glasses on a table, etc..

Living and Family Room:

Remove stacks of newspapers, magazines and put away loose books.

Hide remote controls out of sight.

Conceal or tidy exposed cables and cords the best you can.

Remove clutter, clothing, personal photos, kids toys, and the like from bookshelves, tables and the floor.

Dust and vacuum.  (Dust will show in photos.)

Wash any glass surfaces including table tops, cabinet doors and windows. (Smudges and dirt on glass will be noticeable in the photographs.)

Straighten pillows and throws.


Neatly make the beds. Straighten the bed spread and pillows. (If you hide clutter under the beds, make sure it’s not visible from any corner of the room, otherwise it will show up in the photos.)

Tidy up, hide any of the clutter, dust and vacuum.

Pick up and put away clothes and shoes.

Remove messy looking items from bedside tables: books, magazines, pictures, clock radios, etc..

Kids rooms: Put excess toys out of sight, take posters and drawings off the walls, and straighten up overall.


Put small appliances, knife blocks, paper towels, and kitchen gadgets away and off the counters. (Show as much counter space as possible.)

Remove photos, notes, papers, and magnets from the refrigerator. (Unless it’s a chalkboard, or the like, that says “welcome home.”)

Clean the major appliances: refrigerator, oven, stove top, range hood, and dishwasher. (Especially if they are black or stainless steel.)

Wipe down the counter tops and the sink.

Don't leave any dishes, sponges, dish towels, dish soap or the like in or near the sink.

Move trash cans out of site.

Dining Room:

Dust the furniture and vacuum the floors.

If you have a China cabinet, make sure things are straight and tidy inside. Flip on the light if you applicable.


Clear off the counter tops - toiletries, tissues, hair products, just about everything should be put away.

Remove personal care products and children's bath toys from the shower and tub.

Make sure towels are folded neatly and are straight on the towel racks.

Close toilet lids.

Clean mirrors and glass shower doors.

Hide the toilet brush and plunger.