Hide the Clutter
Staging your home for both buyers and a real estate photographer can be similar. In both situations, you should eliminate clutter from your home, including the beauty products in the bathroom and appliances on the kitchen counter.
Get a head start on packing by removing nick-knacks, family photographs, books, and any other clutter that has gathered on counters or shelves over the years. This task is especially important for getting the clean, pristine real estate photographs you want.
Summary: no visual clutter. Removing clutter helps to make the house appear more spacious and enables a potential buyer to picture a room filled with their own belongings.
Cleanliness Is Important
The camera won’t lie. Cleanliness and attention to detail are important because the camera can pick up any dirt and debris. Give the house a thorough cleaning or invest in professional cleaning to make it shine.
Make Everything Look Straight
Straighten chairs in the dining room. Even out any lines on beds and straighten pillows – no wrinkles! For the few items you do leave on a shelf or counter, make sure they’re aligned straight and serve a purpose for staging.
Room by Room
- Kitchen – Remove all photos and magnets from the refrigerator. Make sure there aren’t dirty dishes or food visible. A bowl of fruit or simple arrangement to add a little color is always nice. Remove old counter top appliances.
- Dining Room – A simple centerpiece for the table is great. If you want, set the table as if you were going to have a dinner party. Remove children’s high chairs and booster seats.
- Main Living Areas – Hide all of your newspapers and magazines. Conceal as many electrical cords as possible. Put the toys in the closet. Open all curtains and blinds. Take down any large family photos so they aren’t noticeably visible in the photos. Hide remotes and any other items that are cluttering the space.
- Bedrooms – Make the bed, pick up the clothes and close dresser drawers. Avoid piles of games, books and toys on the floor.
- Bathrooms – Clean mirrors and counter tops. Remove wet towels, toothbrushes, bathrobes, tissue boxes, wastebaskets and toilet brushes. Double check the light bulbs above the mirrors to make sure that they are all working. Put the toilet seat down.
- Laundry Room – I only photograph laundry rooms if they are a little better than what a buyer might expect for a home in your price range. Stash your laundry inside the machines and organize any shelves.
- Pool Tables – Take the cover off and rack the billiard balls as if you’re ready to play.
- Decks and Patios – If your barbecue is presentable, remove it’s cover. If you have an umbrella, open it. Hide any clutter.
- Garages, Storage Rooms, Utility Rooms and Closets – I don’t usually photograph these so feel free to use them for all those extra items in the house. If you would like them photographed, please let me know.
Hide All Trash Cans
Remove visible trash cans from the bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen. Hide any outdoor trash cans from view too.
Replace Light Bulbs
Great lighting is so important for high-quality real estate photos. Fix your light fixtures and replace any burnt out bulbs.
Remove Pet Food or Scratching Posts
Anything related to your pet needs to go. These pieces can appear as clutter or detract from the intent of the photographs.
Mow Your Lawn in Advance
Mowing your lawn the day of a shoot can leave ruts or lines in your grass, so give it a good mow a couple days in advance. Make sure the bushes are trimmed, the mulch is fresh, and pathways are clean and clear of debris.
Remove Unsightly Trash from the Property
If there’s any debris surrounding the property, now is a great time to get rid of it. Before the photographer comes, go through your sheds and yard to remove any unsightly trash or empty planters to keep your outdoor photos looking fresh and inviting.
Just Before the Shoot
- open window blinds and curtains to let light in
- turn off the TV
- hide remotes turn all lights on
- light candles (if applicable)
- place all toilet lids/seats down
- hide electrical cables from view
- close garage doors
- put pets outside if safe to do so
- clear vehicles from curbside and driveways
- If possible, grab some fresh flowers for picture day. The presence of flowers gives the impression of a well-kept home.