Pre-Shoot Preparation Guide

This comprehensive list will assist with identifying steps that might need to be taken prior to the photo shoot, as well as helpful information that will help everything run smoothly at the shoot. While intended only as a guide, the degree to which these items are addressed will contribute to the efficiency of the photo shoot and the quality of the final images produced.


Planning & LOGISTICS

  1. Schedule housekeeping, landscaping/gardening, and pool cleaning prior to the photo shoot—not during. If you are unsure how to manually override landscape lighting pool equipment, this is a great time to ask the professionals.
  2. Replace all burned-out light bulbs, and preferably have spares of each type on hand. All bulbs in each room should be the same color temperature (yellow/blue color balance) to avoid color casts.
  3. Confirm proper operation of and how to manually control water features (fountains, waterfalls, spa jets) and all lighting, including landscape lighting, pool/spa lights, exterior overheads, and anything else on a timer. If there are any bright security/motion sensing lights, can those be disabled?
  4. Confirm how to activate electric gates and maintain open or closed position.
  5. Confirm whether or not fireplaces are operational, how to operate them, and whether or not it is acceptable to light newspaper in them.
  6. Floral arrangements and other small props add warmth and visual interest, and two or three small/medium bouquets can be moved from room to room as each image is taken. Be careful with very tall or large items as their size can be exaggerated when placed close to the camera.
  7. If the property is staged, please confirm with the stager that all lamps are operational, have working bulbs, and are placed within range of power outlets.

The Day of the Photo Shoot

  1. Please park your own vehicle(s) in front of the property to ensure no one else parks there.
  2. Fifteen minutes prior to the photo shoot, please turn all ceiling fans and televisions OFF and all interior lights ON. This will allow us to work most efficiently. Generally, lights should be left on for the duration of the shoot. This is not meant to be wasteful—most images will show adjacent rooms and necessitate the lights remaining on.
  3. Prepare a space in one of the bedrooms for pets to be entertained and comfortable during the shoot. Pets are wonderful, but they are masters at photo-bombing! One jump on the sofa can undo fifteen minutes of careful styling and lighting work.
  4. While the shoot is in progress, please use caution to avoid moving or adjusting any items in view of the camera once shooting has begun. The process to create each image requires that nothing in the composition be moved, and we may have to start over if something is moved even a small amount.

Cleaning & Preparation

Even the most pristine homes can benefit from reviewing this list to ensure the property will photograph at its best. The photos reveal a lot about the home, and small details like removing an empty planter can make a significant difference in the impact the photos will have.


General Preparation

Vacuum, mop, clean countertops and windows
Open blinds and window treatments to let in outside light
Remove small floor rugs to reveal actual flooring
Place all shoes and jackets in closets
Remove personal photographs and replace with landscape or other non-specific photographs
Remove all evidence of pets (food and water bowls, toys, pet beds)


Close garage doors
General landscaping (mow, trim, 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.
Arrange outdoor furniture, clean cushions and pillows
Remove pool vacuum/hose
Hide pool cleaning supplies
Remove trash cans




Clear countertops completely (knife blocks, baking supplies, mail, etc.)
Leave out one or two small appliances/items for styling
Clear refrigerator magnets, papers, photos, etc.
Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet
Remove dishes from sink and place in dishwasher
Remove sponge, sponge caddie, soap dish, etc. or place in sink
Remove dish drainer


Dining Room

Clear table, dust and polish table top
Use decorative place settings if available
Feature one centerpiece such as a bouquet of flowers
Straighten all chairs and space them evenly
Remove child seats/booster chairs

Living Room

Living/Family Room

Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, etc.
De-clutter fireplace mantle/hearth (no more than 5 items including art)
Clean interior of fireplace and re-paint if needed
Fluff and arrange furniture pillows
Remove toys

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Make bed, including decorative pillows/shams if available
Press bed linens and bed skirts
Clear nightstand surfaces of all personal items
Store away phone/tablet charging cables
Remove all clutter from top of dressers
Remove family photos from walls
Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos


Kids' and Guest Bedrooms

Remove personalized names from walls
Remove wall stickers/posters
Remove sanitary items (diaper bins, etc.)
Clean under bed, removing items that may show in the photos