Getting Ready for Professional Real Estate Photos

Good job! You've decided to list your home for sale and you've chosen a top-notch REALTOR® who will hire and pay for a professional photographer to take photos of your home!

Photograph by  Dawn Conners Photography

Professional photographs of your home are the foundation of any online marketing campaign which will advertise your home to the widest possible pool of potential buyers. Because the goal is to sell your home for the highest price in the shortest amount of time, it’s important for your home to look its absolute best for the photographs! 

Here is a handy checklist of items to consider when getting ready for the photographer:

Inside (General)

  • Replace any burned out light bulbs
  • Turn on every light fixture and lamp
  • Open all window coverings to let in as much light as possible (Make sure windows are clean first!)
  • Turn off ceiling fans, computer screens and televisions
  • Hide trash cans
  • Hide Kleenex boxes
  • Hide lamp cords, extension cords, computer cords, etc.
  • Remove family photos and replace with neutral artwork
  • Remove any indication that you have pets, such as food and water bowls, litter boxes and crates

Outside (General)

  • Hide all trash cans, garden tools, hoses, lawn equipment and barbecue grills
  • Make sure there are no vehicles in the driveway or parked in front of the house


  • Remove everything from the counters, including small appliances, such as coffee makers & toasters
  • Remove all refrigerator magnets and kids' art
  • Remove tea towels, paper towels, soap dispensers, etc.

Living Areas

  • Hide remote controls and any video gaming systems
  • Remove any magazines or other non-decorative items from coffee table, night stands, etc.
  • For bookshelves, remove half the books and leave only colorful books and accessories arranged in an artful pattern


  • Hide all personal products, such as shampoo, soap, makeup, etc.
  • Close all toilet lids
  • Open all shower curtains

For Safety and Security Purposes

  • Remove anything that might have your children’s names
  • Remove calendars that might indicate when you’ll be away from home
  • Lock up or remove any valuable items, such as jewelry and keepsake items
  • Lock up or remove any weapons
  • Lock up or remove any prescription medications

As an overall goal, think of making your home look like an elegantly furnished hotel room. And as Dawn Conners, a popular Kansas City photographer, likes to say, "If you don't want it in the pictures, put it away!"