10 things homeowners can do to get better real estate photos

Is your home ready for the photographer

Your real estate agent just called to say a photographer will be coming to photograph your home. For your agent, this is standard marketing procedure. But what does it mean for you?

Here are 10 things homeowners can do to get better real estate photos:

1. Think of the photos as a “job interview” for your home, says Mediamax Senior Photographer Jon Eady. You wouldn’t go for an interview in a ragged T-shirt and flip-flops. Don’t let prospective buyers see your home online looking any less than interview-perfect. The photos are critical, Eady says. “Don’t give any potential buyer any reason not to make an offer on your home.”

2. Another way to think about it is to treat the photo shoot just like a showing and the photographer like a prospective buyer. Take an objective look at your home inside and out. If there’s anything you wouldn’t want buyers to see, make sure the photographer and his/her camera won’t see it either.

3. “Less is more,” says Mediamax Senior Photographer John Koliopoulos. When in doubt, put it away. Your agent may already have suggested “decluttering” and photographers agree. Clutter doesn’t play well in photographs. If you want photos that say “buy me,” make sure your home is neat, clean and orderly.

4. Excellent photography is all about lighting. Before the photo shoot, make sure every light fixture works and has a working light bulb in it, including lamps. Here’s an insider tip: the color of the light produced by different bulbs can vary. Help the photographer get better results, says Koliopoulos, by making sure all the bulbs in a room are the same type.

5. Natural light is also important, so open blinds, curtains, shades, etc. The photographer can make adjustments (like closing blinds if windows are too bright) as needed.

6. For bathrooms: anything that touches the body should be removed, says Eady, along with all personal care products. See items 1 and 2 – you want to make the best impression on buyers you possibly can in photos. Neat, clean and orderly can’t be overemphasized here. Don’t let buyers walk away thinking, “Yuck.”

7. If you have pets: Put away pet toys, dishes, kitty castles, etc., inside and out. And clean up any, uh, “surprises” in the yard. It’s also best to put your beasties in the kennel or take them for a walk during the shoot to lessen distractions.

8. Discuss what features of the house you want highlighted in photographs with your agent before the shoot. Let your agent communicate with the photographer. If you do plan to be on hand on shoot day, you can help everything go well by minimizing distractions and smoothing the photographer’s way through the house.

9. Photographers make better creative choices when they’re allowed to get “into the moment” as they photograph. Professional photographers have shot thousands of homes and you can trust them to know what works and what doesn’t. To ensure you get the best photographs, make it possible for them to do their very best work without interruption.

10. Little things count. Avoid white bedspreads in bedrooms. Remove milk boxes and other clutter from the front porch. Make sure your yard and back porch are clean and neat. Stow trash cans. More preparation and staging tips here.

Bonus tip – if the thought of preparing your home for photography throws you into a panic, hire a professional stager. Staging services are more affordable than you think and provide valuable perspective, design advice and expert help ensuring your home photographs (and shows) at its absolute best. Learn more about White Orchid Interiors, our partner for staging, here.

Click here for a downloadable copy of this blog post that you can share with your clients.

2 Responses to “10 things homeowners can do to get better real estate photos”

  1. Doug says:


    Can we get this article in a printable format to give our clients?