Tips for preparing a home for a photo shoot and/or virtual tour

Real Estate Agent with Jane Haas Photography

I have photographed over 1500 homes and created hundreds of virtual tours.  This is a basic list of what home owners REALLY need to know BEFORE a home is photographed!  Preparation is key to great photos!  These same times can be used for Open Houses as well!



Tips for preparing your home for a photo shoot and/or virtual tour

Preparing your home for a photo shoot is very similar to preparing your home for an open house, but

you only have to do it once. The photo shoot is an opportunity to show your house at its best, so put

on your sales and marketing hat. Remember, you could have thousands of people viewing your


Take some time to consider the following tips when preparing your home:

· Think like a buyer! Flip through magazines and imagine how your home would look in them.

· Clean well and clear up clutter! If you wouldn't see it in a model home, hide it! Put personal

belongings out of sight-- in closets, under the bed, in drawers, in boxes in the garage or attic, etc.

· Lighten up dark spaces! If you have dark furniture, you can brighten it up with light colored throw

blankets and pillows. If you have a dark rug, a light and neutral area rug can do wonders to

brighten up a room!

· Bright idea! Use daylight bulbs in 65 watts - these are recommended to show your rooms in the

best type of light. If you don't have enough lamps in a room, consider buying a floor lamp or two.

· View askew?! Need to hide an unflattering view? Semi-sheer curtains are perfect for letting light

in and hiding any unflattering views.

· Remember CURB APPEAL! Be sure that garbage cans are out of site and basic yard maintenance

has been done. Pay close attention to the front of the house. Trim any dead branches hanging in

front of your house. Liven up the front entrance with some flowering plants. Open blinds, drapes,

and shades. Be sure that blinds are the same length so that you don't see one up, one down,

one crooked.

· Lights, Camera, Action! Think about your home as if you were a producer. What are the

highlights? What made you buy the home originally? Which are the best rooms to show off? While

Fabled Photography's photographers use our exclusive method for photographing homes, no one

knows your home and its highlights better than you!

Time For The Photo Shoot?

· Inform. When the photographer calls to make the appointment, let them know if any of the rooms

may be a little dark so they can bring extra lighting. The photographer will usually take exterior

photos during the day and interior photos at dusk or at night.

· Be Prepared. Make a list of the rooms they will be photographing. The most commonly

photographed rooms are the kitchen, dining room, living room, and family room. Bedrooms and

bathrooms are generally photographed only if they are large or unique.

· Simplify the process. When the photographer arrives, clear out as many people as possible and

keep pets in a separate room. The process will go smoothly and quickly if the photographer

doesn't have to work around people and pets.


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Provadus Home Loans
Provadus Home Loans - Marietta, GA
Technology bringing you home.

You have great information here!!  I am willing to bet your pics & ads are eye catching with a clean and simple look that sells.  I am forwarding your post to a few agents here in Atlanta that need to take notes. 


Apr 16, 2007 07:51 AM #1
Jane E. Haas
Jane Haas Photography - Davenport, FL
Thanks - Aside from being a realtor, i'm also a professional photographer and do virtual tours as well, so this whole list comes from experience to make my life easier when shooting.  Your photographers will be quite happy if everyone follows these instructions!  ;)
Apr 16, 2007 08:12 AM #2
Cheryl Reynen
Set The Stage - Comox Valley, BC
Set The Stage - Comox Valley, BC
really great article! All realtors should use this with thier clients, maybe the MLS photos would actually get better!
Apr 16, 2007 06:36 PM #3
Jane E. Haas
Jane Haas Photography - Davenport, FL
I'm curious, do stagers leave behind a suggestion sheet for their clients of things to do to keep up the staged appearance at open houses or showings?
Apr 16, 2007 06:45 PM #4
Theresa Cavanaugh
Global Realty Marketing - Appleton, WI
Jane, this is great!  May I use this?  I would like to include it in my listing packet.
Apr 17, 2007 04:10 AM #5
Joyce Heffner-Williams
Keller Williams Clients' Choice Realty - Monument, CO
Owner/Broker/EcoBroker - Monument Real Estate

I shoot some virtuals. 

Some things people forget are: Turn on all light -- including lamps and oven light, etc.,

Also keep cars from parking in front of home (park your car there and move to save spot if necessary).

Put all clutter in one room that won't be shot (laundry, small bedroom, cluttered office, etc.),

Remember it is easier to add light with a flash than to adjust for bright sunlight streaming in a room. 

If shooting a complex with pool or gym, remember that people may not want there picture shot and time of day may be important. 

Oh yeah, just be prepared.

If I think of more I will let you know.

Apr 17, 2007 06:24 AM #6
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
As a stager I do leave them with ideas for showings - where to hide valuables, putting away prescription drugs maintaining the home , organizing tips, tuning on lights. Only after I stage -they do need to keep it that way - no hiding stuff in one room or filling a closet I help them pre- pack & prepare to move -they are selling so it is time to tackle it all. I also shoot the photos for the Realtors so they are taken at the optimal point. Once we are done it is so much easier for them to maintain & to see those $$$, always good motivation.
Apr 17, 2007 07:03 AM #7
Dawn Shaffer Life is good!
Battle Ground, WA

We're in our third year now doing virtual tours and real estate photography, and our virtual tour preparation tips, which first appeared in August 2006 on ActiveRain, have grown considerably.

Should you like to scan it for items which you can use in your personal list, please click here.

We encourage all of "our" realtors to adopt our list as their own .. allow their personality to come through. We're "all about" quality virtual tours and photography, whether we do it for you, or you choose to do it yourself.

Dawn Shaffer,, Vancouver/Portland's finest


Jun 07, 2007 08:01 AM #8
Karen Kenefick

Jane, these are great suggestions!  I am a realtor as well as a real estate photographer and I agree with all of your points, except for maybe shooting interiors at night.  The optimal time is high noon, and preferably an overcast day.  That is the perfect setting so that one isn't dealing with dark rooms and lots of sunlight.  Another poster suggested putting on ALL lights - this is the best thing to do if the photographer is using available light.  Best of luck!

Karen Kenefick


Jul 22, 2009 05:16 AM #9
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