How to Prepare a Home for Photography

Photography Prep Checklist

Establishing a home’s appeal begins with high-quality professional photographs. A clean, well-staged home is as important as the technical quality of the photos. All cleaning and staging must be done prior to the photographer’s arrival. Here are some effective guidelines in learning how to prepare a home for photography.

Home Exterior Photography

• Remove for sale sign, if present.
• Driveways, sidewalks, porches, and patios should be swept and dry.
• Lawn and yard maintenance should be done within three days of the photoshoot.
• Do not water the lawn on the day of the photoshoot.
• Close garage door.
• No cars in the driveway or on the street directly in front of the home.
• Remove flags and home security signs.
• Put water hoses, trash cans, empty planters, planters with dead plants, toys, yard tools, pool cleaning supplies, bikes, etc. in the garage or other area where they cannot be seen from anywhere around the home.
• Pools and spas should look inviting and be free of covers, cleaning devices, toys, floats, and leaves.
• Turn on water features.
• Pick up dog poop the day of the photoshoot, or it may be tracked in the home.
• Clean and stage outdoor furniture. If a hose is used to clean furniture, do so at least a day before the photoshoot to allow everything to dry.
• Outdoor umbrellas should be closed (a crooked umbrella looks more crooked if open).

Home Interior Photography

• Vacuum and sweep floors.
• Dust the day before the photo shoot.
• Hide all trashcans.
• Turn on all lights.
• Replace burned-out lightbulbs.
• Turn off ceiling fans.
• Turn off TVs and other screens.
• Remove photos of people to depersonalize the home.
• All surfaces, including shelves, should be neat and tidy. Declutter as much as possible.
• Hide portable fans and heaters.
• Hide all remotes.
• Hide power chords as much as possible.
• The photographer will determine the degree to which blinds/curtains should be open.

What to do With Pets

• All pets should be secured and out of sight for the duration of the photoshoot for both interior and exterior photos. Ideally, pets will be offsite to ensure a quick photoshoot and for the safety of the photographer and photo equipment.
• Hide all signs of pets including dishes, beds, crates, carriers, scratching posts, litter boxes, food, and toys.
• Pick up dog poop the day of the photoshoot, or it may be tracked in the home.


• All beds should be made.
• Dressers, nightstands, and other bedroom furniture should be cleared of personal items, photographs of people, and clutter. The fewer items showing, the better.
• Turn off ceiling fans.


• Bathroom cleanliness is extremely important. All bathroom surfaces and grout should be as clean as possible. Faucets and related fixtures should be spot-free.
• Mirrors and other glass should be free of spots and streaks.
• Remove everything from bathroom counters, tubs, and showers except for decorative dispensers.
• Put toilet seats down.
• Towels should be neatly folded on towel holders or put away. Visible towels should match.


• Kitchen cleanliness is an extremely important part of how to prepare a home for photography. All kitchen surfaces including countertops, cabinets, vent hoods, faucets, and appliances should be clean and free of spots and streaks.
• Countertops should be decluttered. Some appliances and décor are ok on counters
• No dirty dishes, dirty cookware, sponges, cleaning brushes, cleaning supplies, dish soap, or hand soap should be visible.
• Remove everything from the outside and top of the refrigerator.


• Offices should be decluttered. All paperwork and mail should be hidden.
• Turn off computers and hide wires to the extent possible.

Twilight Photo Shoots

• In addition to the above, turn on all interior and exterior lights, including pool lights.

How to Prepare a Home for Photography by Composite Photo and Video
Composite Photo and Video -Austin Residential / Commercial Photography - logo


Composite Photo & Video provides residential and commercial photography services including, interior and exterior photography, and Drone Photography and Videography. I cover the Greater Central Texas area, including Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, Lakeway, Bee Cave, Lake Travis, Dripping Springs, Kyle, Buda, San Marcos, Hutto, and Manor.