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Prepare for great images

Photography Prep Checklist

The quality of photography for listings is one of the most critical aspects of marketing a home. High-quality, perfectly exposed and color correct photos stimulate more traffic in showings, and faster sales.


The following checklist is an important guide to help you be ready the day of your shoot. With the guidance of your agent, cleaning, de-cluttering and staging needs to be done, ideally the day before your session. We may move small items to improve photo composition, but larger items and staging accessories need to be in place before the appointment.

(810) 300-9422

Spaces are shot as-is. We will make minor adjustments, but it is not the responsibility of the photographer to do so.

General Preparation

❑ Plan not to be seen: All occupants should plan on either being off the property or remain in areas where they can't be seen during the photoshoot. Rooms overlap in the photos, people can cause shadows and reflections, and there is risk to equipment that will be setup throughout the property.

❑ Secure or remove pets: We love pets but we can’t have them around for your photoshoot. Dogs must be secured or off the property to ensure the safety of the photographer and equipment. MLS rules also prohibit people and pets from being in pictures. Cats should be secured as well, although they usually pose fewer problems than dogs (cats often just hide). It's also a good idea to hide pet food and water bowls as well.

❑ Use the garage for storage: We normally don’t shoot garages, so this is a great place to store items you’d like to hide.

Inside Preparation

❑ Declutter kitchen: A few items on the counters are usually fine, but dishes, sponges, rags, etc. should be put away. It's best to remove all magnets, pictures, etc. from the refrigerator and remove throw rugs from the floor.

❑ Declutter bathrooms: Toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, and other "personal" items should be hidden. Decorative unused soaps, candles, flowers, etc. are preferred. It’s also good to remove all throw rugs from the floor.

❑ Prep bedrooms: All bedrooms should have their beds made and items put away.

❑ Hide trashcans: Trashcans can distract so it’s best to hide all of them in closets or the garage.

❑ Hide portable fans: Ceiling fans are selling items but it’s best to hide all portable fans in closets or the garage.

❑ Hide cords and remotes: Sometimes electrical cords can’t be hidden, but you will have more appealing pictures if you can hide TV remotes, game consoles, and any noticeable cords.

❑ Clear entryways: Remove all shoes, umbrellas, and similar items from entryways.

❑ Open blinds with views: Your indoor photos will show outdoor views if there is a nice view, or just light if a window looks onto a neighbor or other unappealing view.

❑ Turn on lights & open all interior doors: Before the appointment, please open all interior doors and make sure all interior lights are turned on. If need-be, please replace all burned-out bulbs at least 24 hours before the photoshoot.

❑ Turn off ceiling fans: Before the appointment, please make sure all ceiling fans are turned off.

Outside Preparation

❑ Clear the cars: Make sure no cars are in the driveway. If possible, also move cars from the street in front of the home. We want as clear a view as possible of your property.

❑ Do NOT wet driveways: If a wet look is desired, this can be added in the editing process. Watering driveways can cause patches of dry spots and puddles.

❑ Hide trashcans: Trashcans can be placed on the side of the property or in the garage.

❑ Hide hoses: Do this the day before the shoot since hoses can drip water onto the pavement when being moved, leaving puddles in your pictures.

❑ Mow and trim the yard and Turn off sprinklers: Do at least 24 hours prior to your photoshoot.

❑ Pick up poop: If you have a dog, make sure that all of their droppings are cleared from the yard.

❑ Prep pool and spa: If you have a pool and/or spa, please have them clean with covers removed. For spas, provide instructions to the realtor on how to turn it on.

❑ Prep water features: If you have fountains, waterfalls, etc., please clean them and provide instructions to the realtor on how to turn them on.

❑ Remove for-sale sign: The for-sale sign should be removed from the property or installed after the shoot, since visible signs violate MLS policies and can’t always be edited out.

❑ Clean patio furniture: Dust and remove cobwebs from all outdoor furniture. Do not hose down your furniture the day of your shoot, since this can create puddles.


Twilight Session Preparation

If you’ve scheduled a twilight shoot the following are additional items to prepare before the session. Note that twilight shoots have tight schedules to ensure optimal lighting, so please make sure all of these items are ready.

❑ Turn on all interior and exterior lights: All lights throughout the property need to be turned on. Please replace all burned-out bulbs the day before before the photoshoot.

❑ Turn on spas and remove covers: If you have a spa, remove the cover, and turn it on. Turn on the lights in the spa if available.

❑ Turn on pool lights: If you have a pool, turn on the pool lights.

❑ Turn on water features: If you have fountains, waterfalls, or similar water features, please turn them on.

The overall goal is to present your property with a clean, neutral feel that is warm and inviting. The buyer should be able to picture themselves in the space.

Please note that our media team is not responsible for the following:

  • Making beds, dusting, decluttering or staging.

  • Picking up toys or yard items.

  • Touching personal bathroom supplies.

  • Moving or re-arranging furniture. We will make minor adjustments, but it is not the responsibility of the photographer to do so.

  • Digitally altering or editing images to remove vehicles, power lines, bad flooring or walls, etc. Ethical standards require the property be shot and presented as it will look in person to the buyer.

Thank you for your time and patience to go through this checklist! If you have any questions, please ask your agent or feel free to contact me anytime.

Phil Tuttle, BarnStorm Studio

(810) 300-9422 Call or text

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