The Ultimate Guide For Preparing A Property For Real Estate Photography

August 10th, 2014

StagedNoThe photo to the right is from an actual listing my wife and I had in 2005. Helping home sellers get their property ready for market is one of the most challenging parts of being a listing agent. Listing agents need to do more than talk about how to get a home ready. In many cases the listing agent needs to take the sellers hand walk them through the process and help them get their property market ready.

As a real estate photographer you need to make sure this process of getting the property ready has been done. Not all listing agents are good at it. One thing that really helps everyone involved is to have a checklist of what to do. That is, something written down the agent and home seller can focus on.

Hugh Saffar, in Toronto just sent me a link to a guide that he has written that addresses the problem of getting property ready for market. Hugh says:

It was about 2 years ago that I decided to become a real estate photographer and your website and eBooks were huge influence and resource for me. At the beginning it was like a long shot for me, but today my company is one of the leading Real Estate Marketing companies in Greater Toronto Area. After two years and shooting over 300 listings I found out most of home sellers and real estate agents suffer from one thing! They simply do not know how to prepare the house for the photo shoot and they mostly can not afford to hire a stager. That said, I decided to put my observation and experience into a blog post as Ultimate Guide to How to Prepare Your House for a Photo Shoot.

Hugh’s guide is one of the most complete checklists I’ve seen. Great job Hugh!

Oh, and the rest of the story on the listing the photo above is from: This was a rental property East of Seattle on I-90, with two wild bachelors living in it. It had several burned out pick-up trucks in the front yard that wouldn’t run. Our biggest concern, besides the massive clutter was that there were several large caliber loaded rifles laying on the kitchen counters. They have trouble with Bears in this neighborhood. We made the renters promise to lock up the weapons while the property was on the market. It turned out to be a hot property! After just a week on the market we had 7 offers! Soon after, the property was off the market one of the renters was arrested by the local police for shooting a bear on the shoulder of I-90. We earned our commission on this listing!! The only reason we even took this listing is the property owner was a good friend.

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9 Responses to “The Ultimate Guide For Preparing A Property For Real Estate Photography”

  • Fabulous website and the Guide is thorough but not overwhelming to the seller. I’m always puzzled when someone is able to offer a home photoshoot for $99. I must be REALLY slow because there’s no way I can be in and out in under an hour. Hugh also states that the economy package only uses one flash. I couldn’t get near the quality of photos as Hugh did, with one flash. Clearly, Hugh is a true professional.

  • says that $100 Canadian dollars is $91 US dollars. This exchange rate changes from time to time.

  • @Wanda The $99 (economy package) is only for the condos valued less than $200k. It will be done by my associated photographers and it only helps me to be around the market. The photos you see in my websites are mostly done by multiple flash + exposure fusion + extensive retouch in Adobe Photoshop which will not cost $99 at all 😀

  • Hugh,

    Excellent work! Very impressed with your HDR images, very crisp and clear. Would love to hear what software you process with Photomatix??
    Great website also!


  • @Gene Thanks for the compliment 🙂 Matter of fact I stopped using Photomatix long time ago (At least for Real Estate Photos). I blend the exposures in Adobe Lightroom using a plugin called LR/Enfuse. Then I bring the photos into the Adobe Photoshop and mask out unwanted things happened by that plugin.

  • Great list of to do’s for the sellers prior to the photo shoot! I don’t know how many hours I’ve wasted helping sellers clean clutter, even though we’ve already had the talk. Since I’m only taking photos for my listings now, I’ve made it a point to do a walkthrough with the sellers and point out all that needs to be moved, removed, and cleaned when I first meet them. Most sellers will listen to the experts, but there are still some that won’t.

  • Good post and very timely, just contemplating putting something similar together myself. Gonna steal chunks of it and adapt to the UK market.
    Biggest time stealer on a job is “staging” . Realtors are poor at preparing sellers and anything that helps, helps me, and, makes the realtor look Pro.

  • Important post and great website. This is so crucial for good photography.

    About one year ago I have compiled a checklist for preparing a property for photography for my home market in Germany and published it over on I have got feedback from RE agents that they use the printable version (page 3 of the document) not only for photography reasons but also for preparing viewing sessions with potential buyers. Little later I also wrote a summary of this in English at And even here I got positive feedback.

  • I put together a website just like Hugh for clients to give sellers:

    My job isn’t to be a maid, to make beds, clean up a home, etc. In fact, I tell my clients I won’t touch anything. I think it’s important that sellers get full service from their agents and not only have professional photography, but also a professional home stager. I give them this list as a reference, but a lot of my clients thankfully use a stager. And I’ve found out that most sellers don’t even look at this list anyway, but it’s good to have and provide!

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