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ImageTips from Southern Ontario's Award-winning
Commercial & Real Estate Photography Team!


Your property must look perfect before you consider taking any photos or videos. Start by mowing your lawn, pruning trees, trimming shrubs, revamping your garden, fixing your fence and getting rid of fallen leaves. You can plant flowers and paint garden poles as well. In the winter, make sure your driveway is clear of snow and ice before the shoot.

Your front yard should also be free of clutter. Remove empty planters, water hoses, toys, balls among other items that may be distractive when taking photos i.e. garbage cans and sprinklers. You should also remove your car/s from your driveway and close garage doors. Front door frames and eaves should also be free of cobwebs. Paint your exterior if you have too. You should also consider cleaning your windows before the shoot. In a nutshell, your front yard should look perfect. You can go as far as adding some garden lights for perfect nighttime photos.

Your backyard also needs to look perfect. Before you stage your backyard, arrange any furniture that is present. You can consider changing the furniture pillows or cushions if they are faded. You should also clean and cover backyard stoves and sweep debris from the deck. Also, don’t forget to get rid of any personal belongings like toys, balls, etc. Home buyers want to envision your property as their own so, make sure the exterior space is spotless and free of personal belongings.

Your pool should also be clean. Remember to remove your pool cleaning supplies, trash cans, and water hoses. Lastly, turn on any water features you may have such as fountains.

Finally, avoid putting up real estate signs until AFTER the photoshoot as most boards don't allow any signs in photos.


The kitchen is arguably the most challenging interior space to stage, so it’s advisable to get started there. The idea here is to get a perfect-looking kitchen that is free of clutter and personal effects/belongings. To achieve this, you must clean your kitchen thoroughly. Clean all dishes/utensils in the sink and store them out of sight. Ideally, all dishes/utensils should be out of sight. However, you can leave a fancy knife rack on display. Focus on storing everything in the right place. Food supplies like cereals and baking supplies should be out of sight.

The floor and counter tops must also be spotless. Remove dish cleaning supplies from the sink as well as all photos, notes, calendars, and cards from your refrigerator doors. You can leave basic appliances on your countertop i.e. your coffee maker. Small appliances such as cake mixers, rice cookers, and toasters should be out of sight. You should also remove your garbage can.

Living Room

This step applies to your living room among other common rooms/areas such as entertainment rooms. Common rooms like the living room should be clean, inviting and clutter-free before you photograph them. They should also be free of personal items because of reasons mentioned above.

Get rid of magazines, books, remote controls, photo frames, toys and blankets among other personal items that can distract potential home buyers from imagining themselves in your home. Don’t forget to dust your furniture, electronics, wipe and straighten blinds, clean curtains as well as roll up long cabling and cords.

Leave a few minimal pieces of artwork and clean fireplaces if you have any. You should also consider painting your living room walls and ceiling if needed.

Dining Area

The dining table needs to be clean and clear. You can feature a bouquet of flowers and set the table before taking pictures. All chairs must be straightened and in place. Also, don’t forget to remove child seats or booster chairs. Use this rooms strengths to your home's advantage. If you have multiple dining areas than see if you can turn one into an office or a 'play-space' depending on your target audience. Work with what you have and play to your strengths! This room will look great in photos if put together correctly.


Start with your master bedroom since potential home buyers tend to focus most there. Master bedrooms also require more work. Start by removing all personal items as well as clutter from the nightstands and dressers. Trash cans, laundry and any other distractive items like wall photos and phone/computer chargers should also be out of sight. The bed must also be made perfectly using your best pair of beddings. Don’t forget to clean floors, tables, furniture, blinds, ceiling fans, etc.

You should remove personal items from other bedrooms as well. When staging your baby’s bedroom, for instance, keep the baby cot but get rid of diaper genies, baby photos on the walls, toys, etc. Bedrooms should be clean, neat and free of personal effects.


When staging your bathrooms, your focus should be on creating spa-like bathrooms. To do this, you must clear bathroom counters of all personal toiletries, hygiene items like toothbrush holders and hair styling tools. Showers, sinks, bathtubs, and mirrors must be spotlessly clean and free of personal products like shampoos. Bathroom towels and shower curtains should also be clean and straight. Use white towels and rugs to bring out a spotless effect. Don’t forget to straighten rugs, remove garbage cans and bathroom cleaning supplies from sight. Lastly, replace toilet paper rolls and put your toilet seats down. Your bathroom closet doors should also be closed.


Once all your rooms are perfect, focus on your lights. Change any damaged lights. When taking photos/videos, make sure you turn on the lights. Lighting is crucial when taking great photos so, make sure all dark areas are well-lit.

Final Tips

The above real estate photography steps should help you get your home 100% ready for shoot day. In most cases, storage spaces and closets aren’t photographed or filmed unless specifically requested. If you need to photograph or film storage spaces and closets, remove all or most clothes and shoes.

You can also move furniture around to create more room. You can make some additions if necessary i.e. buy new furniture if your current furniture is too old. Again, these are personal preferences. If you want the best home photos, don’t be afraid to spend some money on a stager (we have a few we can refer). It takes special skills, expertise, and experience to take great photos. It also matters when you take the photos. This is where expert real estate photographers come in handy. Please note that the photographer has multiple bookings/day and time is limited, remember he is not going to touch your furniture, furnishings or personal belongings and most importantly, he is not a cleaner 😊. The photographer does have the right to refuse shooting a property if it isn’t prepared.

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