Gordy Marks

Preparing Your Home For Photography

Preparing your home for photography, showings, and open houses is a lot like preparing your home for the red carpet. Your home needs to look it’s best in order to get the most attention and hopefully the best price. There is a long list of things to do, and many of them are tasks that might not occur to you.

Lighting: Arguably the most important element of a quality photo.

  • Turn on all lamps and overhead lights, and replace any missing or burnt out bulbs
  • All bulbs in lamps must be the same type (either incandescent or fluorescent)!
  • Open all blinds and curtains to let in outside light. Natural light is much better for photography.
house preparation

Tidying: Clean like your in-laws are coming over

  • Put away all clutter out of sight
  • Clear off tables, countertops, nightstands, and mantel
    • (aside from 1-2 tasteful accents, 1 small appliance on kitchen counter)
  • Tidy shelves and cabinets – pack away excess in boxes in the garage
  • Nothing should be on the floor – that means kids toys, dog toys, etc should be put in their place
  • Take soaps/shampoo/loofahs/sponges etc out of all sinks and showers
  • Clean and organize under the bed
  • Place all jackets and shoes in closets
  • Remove visible water hoses
  • Remove cars from driveway and in front of home (that’s right, cars are clutter)
  • Hide wires

Spick and Span

  • Vacuum, sweep, and mop all rooms
  • Dust and wipe down all surfaces
  • Clean all windows, mirrors, and reflective surfaces
  • Clean the inside of fireplaces, microwaves, fridges, and pantry
  • Remove cobwebs from eaves, door frames, and ceilings (even outside)

Depersonalization: Potential buyers should be able to picture their own personal touches in the space

  • Pack away all family photos, kids drawings, etc
  • Remove magnets, calendars, papers, and photos from fridge
  • Place all papers, calendars and magazines in drawers
  • Put away child seats, booster chairs, and playpens
  • Take down personalized name decorations
  • Remove stickers, decals, and posters
  • Take down flags and flagpoles (from outside as well)

Pets: We know you love them, but your buyers might not

  • Pack away pet beds and toys in the garage
  • Remove pet hair from furniture
  • Place food and water bowls in the pantry or garage
  • Clear the backyard of toys and pet waste
  • Place any litter boxes in garage
  • Crate your pet in the garage, put them outside, or take them out for the day while showings and photography are taking place

Trash cans: We can’t let people know we create waste!

Comfy Items: They key to making your home look live a five-star hotel

  • Make all beds
  • Make sure sheets are pulled tight
  • Press linens and bed skirts
  • Fluff and place pillows on beds and couches
  • Put excess blankets in closets
  • No dirty towels – only leave out a couple clean ones as accents


  • Pack excess clothes in garage so closets look spacious
  • Fold and hang everything neatly
  • Organize clothes purposefully (by color, type, etc)

Making your home look like the cover of Country Living is a lot of work, but cleaning and organizing is worth it if it attracts the right buyers. At the end of the day you’ll have some beautiful pictures and hopefully a buyer under contract to show for it. Check out our recently sold listing to see a great example of proper cleaning and staging!

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