Prepare your home for photographs and you will reduce the number of days that your home will be on the market. The photos of your home that buyers will see on the internet will constitute the first showing of your home so you want to put your best foot forward with great photos. It is definitely worth it to hire a professional photographer for these pictures. Run from the realtor who takes your pictures on a cell phone! You deserve better. Don’t settle for fine!

How Do You Prepare Your Home for Photographs?

Your agent should walk through your home and give you advice on what to do to prepare your home for photographs.  This should happen at least a week before the photographer is due to arrive.  This will give you and your agent a chance to look critically at your home from the curb to the front door and all the way through the property.  Have a pad and pen to take notes of what you need to do.  Should you polish the front door knocker or buy a new welcome mat?  Do you need extra throw pillows in the living room to provide that pop of color?  Take pictures on your phone as you walk through and look at them critically as a buyer would.  Of course the photos that your professional photographer takes will be much better than the ones you take on your phone. The phone photos still will give you a hint of how your home will look on line.  Can you see the trash cans beside the house?  Is the garden hose laying across the front lawn?  Now is the time to fix those glaring Uh-ohs!

Tips for Interior Photographs

Here are some important things to do to prepare your home for photographs.

  1. Declutter all surfaces.  This means putting away most of the things on your kitchen counters, and clearing off your toilet tops and bathroom sinks, table tops and dressers.
  2. Kitchen Depersonalize your refrigerator!  Take down the magnets and photos!
  3. Take the dish towels off the stove and the refrigerator handles.
  4. Hide the trashcan in the kitchen (and throughout the house!)
  5. Bathrooms Get new fluffy towels for the bathrooms that coordinate with your bath tile.  Consider getting a new shower curtain if you have one now. Take the fluffy cover off the toilet lid and top and hide the toilet brush!  Put away your toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoos in the shower, and soaps.   We all use these things, but you don’t need to see them in the photos.  Definitely put your medicines away.
  6. Put the toilet seats down in every bathroom!
  7. Bedrooms Consider buying extra pillows and a new comforter for your bedrooms.  You want to create the impression that your bedroom is a wonderful retreat.  Please make your bed on the day that the photographer is coming and put away your laundry.
  8. Closet Clean out your closet.  Use this prep time as an opportunity to get rid of some of those clothes that you don’t wear anymore and don’t even like!  Try to group the remaining clothes by color or length so your closet seems spacious and useable.
  9. Living Rooms In your living room, rec room and family room, remove the blankets covering the sofa or the extra afghans from your grandmother.  They are very special, but they won’t photograph well.  Take the time to fluff up the pillows on the sofas and make sure that seams on the seat cushions are not visible.  Straighten all the pictures and add some fresh flowers.
  10. House Plants Look at your house plants with a critical eye.  Are they due for critical care or are they lush and inviting? Are they stringy and trailing across the window? Hide them!
  11. Curtains Open your curtains and raise your blinds unless there is a very unattractive view from a window that we need to minimize.  Make sure that the blinds are all open at the same level and in the case of vertical blinds, that they are going the same way.
  12. Toys Make sure that your children’s toys are picked up and only a few stuffed animals are out on the bed.  Remember, less is more.
  13. Lights Make sure all the lights work and that the bulbs are bright and come on instantly.
  14. Bookcases You are moving so take the time to cull your books – leave some shelves nearly empty so that you add a few treasures like a special piece of art or a pretty vase.

Prepare Your Home for Photographs Outside

The photographer is going to take some pictures of the exterior of your home in addition to the interior.  Here are some tips to prepare your home for photographs outside.

  1. Put away the grill tools and lawn equipment.  Leave the grill but remember to take the cover off the grill just for the photos.
  2. Put the cushions back on the deck or patio furniture so that there is color in the photos, even in December.
  3. If the patio umbrella is in place, open it up!
  4. Get the bushes trimmed and the mulch revitalized.  Add a few colorful plants like pansies in January or geraniums in July.
  5. Be sure to roll up the hoses and put the trash cans and lawn mowers out of sight.
  6. Consider taking down the window screens.  Homes photograph better without them.  Be sure to store them in the garage or attic and expect the buyer to ask you to reinstall them before you leave.  If your windows are different sizes, please mark them with their locations so they easily can go back where they belong.
  7. Pots of colorful flowers at the front door and a fresh coat of paint do wonders to create an inviting and engaging entrance.
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