Preparation Guide
Overview for Homeowners & Realtors
Unless otherwise requested, these areas are NOT photographed.
Use these areas for storage.

Areas Not Photographed
  • Garage

  • Toilet Rooms (In Master Bathrooms)

  • Closets

  • Kitchen Pantry

  • Storage Sheds

  • Laundry Room


General Prep - applies to all rooms.
Applies to all areas in the house
  • All items that do not belong to the decor class
    should be taken away.

  • Hide clothes and shoes.

  • Remove boxes, storage containers/bins, suitcases,
    cleaning supplies, brooms, vacuum cleaners
    from all spaces that will be photographed.

  • Remove personal photographs or replace with
    general landscape/object photographs if desired,
    but it is not my requirement.

  • Remove sports' memorabilia, collectibles
    or anything else that express strong
    personal opinion or views.

  • Remove small floor rugs to reveal actual flooring

  • Remove all floor fans, space heaters, air cleaners,
    humidifiers, sound speakers (that can be moved
    without disconnecting).

  • Unplug and remove all phone/ipad chargers
    in the entire house, tuck in all visible cords,
    but do not unplug any lamps

  • Hide all trash cans and close all toilet lids

  • Each room is photographed from 3 corners,
    do not hide anything behind or under the furniture,
    do not hide anything behind doors, it will be visible
    in photos. Hide everything into closets,
    laundry room or garage.
Front Exterior
The front of the home is usually the first picture buyers will see,
and this picture will determine if they will look
at additional property details.

  • Close garage doors

  • Remove cars from driveway and front of home

  • Remove trash cans from front of house

  • 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.

  • Do put American flag out if you wish.
Back Yard / Decks / Docks
  • Clean porch, tidy up outdoor tables/chairs/cushions

  • Pillows/cushions should be fresh, not faded

  • Clear out toys, balls, frisbees, etc.

  • Clean pool

  • Remove pool vacuum/cleaner hose if possible

  • Hide pool cleaning supplies

  • Turn on pool fountains/water features

  • Remove visible water hoses

  • Remove trash cans

  • Fishing gear should be neatly organized

  • Fire pits should be lit if evening photography
    is being provided
    Property for Sale:

  • Clear countertops completely. No food, no knife blocks, baking supplies, no oils, no salt/pepper shakers, no mail, nothing

  • Leave only a couple of small appliances and decorative pieces (ex. coffee maker, small toaster)

  • Clear outside of refrigerator of magnets, papers, photos, etc. Clear off the top of the refrigerator. No food or cereal boxes on top. Use green artificial plant on top of the fridge if space allows

  • Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet

  • Clear in and around the kitchen sink. Remove paper towels, sponges, soaps, dish drainer

  • Clean stainless steel appliances with "Weiman stainless steel wipes" and polish with dry microfiber rag to ensure there are no fingerprints or smudges

    Property for Rent:

  • Please do all of the above but keep items provided for renters visible on the countertops if you wish (such as coffee maker, toaster, blender, utensils, etc.
Living Room & Family Room
Living Room & Family Room
  • Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, hide remote controls, hide drink coasters etc.

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

  • Do not block fireplace with furniture

  • Fluff and arrange furniture pillows. Make sure that all furniture pillows/cushions are in the correct position and one cushion is not longer or taller than another

  • Remove kids and pet toys. Check underneath the furniture to make sure nothing is underneath that can be visible
Master Bedroom
  • Make all beds with no wrinkles, do not cover pillows with the bedspread, bring pillows on top of the bedspread, sit them against the headboard, add decorative pillows and pillows with decorative shams to cover your sleeping pillows. Make sure the bedspread is large enough to hide mattress. Buy new bedding if yours is outdated, stained, has holes in it or mismatched, ask your realtor for advice on color and style.

  • Clear nightstands of all personal items especially phone chargers

  • Remove all clutter from tops of dressers including bottles of perfume or toiletries, leave only decorative pieces

  • Clear under the beds, removing items that may show in the photos
Kid Rooms & Guest Rooms
  • Remove personalized names from walls if you wish

  • Remove wall stickers/posters

  • Make beds. Pay attention to bunk beds to make sure blankets or bedspreads to not overhang

  • Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos
    Property for Sale:

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

  • Put toilet seats down

  • Close closet doors

  • Remove shampoo, soaps, loofahs, razors etc. from showers and tubs

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

  • Remove floor mats, wipe mirror of water drops. Wipe shower doors and sinks of water drops

    Property for Rent:

  • Please do all of the above but keep supplies provided for renters visible if you wish
  • 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
Holiday Decorations
Holiday decorations can quickly date your real estate photos. We strongly discourage our clients from displaying holiday decorations.

  • Remove yard decorations and visible lighting

  • Remove interior decorations including Christmas trees

  • Any decorations that are up should be kept to a minimum

  • Remove window decorations
Twilight Photography
Twilight Prep
Twilight photography is impressive and creates a dramatic presentation. Here are some tips to help achieve the best results. These tips are in addition to the Front Exterior tips previously covered.

  • Turn on all exterior AND interior lights that are exposed to the shoot area

  • Open blinds and/or window treatments that are exposed to shoot area

  • Keep windows clean

  • Visible outdoor fire pits or fireplaces should be lit

  • Turn on landscape lights

  • Make sure pool lighting is operational

  • Ensure timers are working and operation prior to the shoot

  • Replace burned out bulbs or broken fixtures

  • Turn on pool lights and patio lights for pool/patio shoots

  • Test lights prior to arrival and reschedule if needed

30 minutes prior to photographer's arrival please do the following:

  • If you are present for the photo session, please move all vehicles out of the driveway, hide trashcan in the garage, do not leave it out.

  • Please turn on all lights and lamps in the entire house. Please ensure all lamps are plugged in and have working lightbulbs. No need for lightbulbs of the same color temperature, any lightbulbs will work. If you are not present, photographer will turn the lights on.

  • Open all light blocking curtains, turn blinds to open. Keep the windows open, photographer will close if the view outside is not pleasing.

  • Turn off TVs and all ceiling fans. Turn off the music.

  • Unplug all wall air fresheners, BLOW OUT ALL CANDLES (SAFETY)

  • Remove or hide pets. While having animals can truly bring life to any real estate photographic session, they can also distract the viewers from focusing on the real star of the shoot- your property. Hide all pets related items, bowls, toys, beds, leashes.

  • Put toilets lids down in each bathroom, hide all toiletries (especially toothbrushes), hide plungers and toilet bowl brushes, please check that you have fresh towels on towel racks, no any personal items hanging on doors, remove scales, sponges etc. Clear everything around kitchen sink that does not relate to decor, leave decorative items only.

  • If there is a special circumstance, let's discuss ahead of time so we can plan accordingly.

  • Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!

    • It is important that the house is ready prior to my arrival. This preparation ensures that I can focus on creating top-notch images without worrying about rearranging furniture or other tasks. As much as I would love to help with such tasks, due to the commitments of photographing multiple properties I cannot stay in your home for an extended period of time. If you think that your home will not be ready before our appointment, please contact me so that we can reschedule. This will ensure that the shoot is successful and you have the best possible real estate images! I can be reached at 443-614-5957 - call or text

    Svetlana Leahy Photography