Preparing for a Photo Shoot
Staging your Home, Apartment or Business


Well done professional pictures help you sell your home!

Listings using professional photography sold 50% faster and 39% closer to the original listing price than similar homes without professional
View of a properly staged game room at Apartment complex in Charleston South Carolina

Tips for All Areas

  • Meticulously clean all areas (vacuum rugs & carpets, mop hard surfaces, clean countertops, clean windows)
  • Turn ON all overhead lights and lamps
  • Replace all burned out light bulbs
  • Use bulbs of the same temperature (Daylight, Warm, Cool, 5500K)
  • Straighten all lamp shades
  • Turn OFF all ceiling fans
  • Turn OFF all TVs
  • Turn OFF all computer screens
  • Clean blinds/window treatments | Open let in natural light
  • Remove personal pictures (or replace with general landscape/object photos)
  • Stage all beds | Remove comforters if they appear lumpy
  • Remove all clutter | Less is More
  • Remove all shoes/clothing/jackets and place in closets
Picture of properly setup pool for a photo shoot. The photo is taken from luxury housing with the Charlotte skyline in the backgroundInterior view accurately demonstrating what to do to prepare for a photo shoot

Tips for Exterior

Picture from a very low angle of the pool and exterior of housing units showing how to perfectly prepare the exterior of your home for real estate photography
  • Remove all clutter – pay particular attention to balconies, porches, and common areas
  • Close all garage doors
  • Remove cars from front of home or office
  • Spruce up landscaping (mow, trim shrubs, remove leaves)
  • Have landscaper add Iron to grass if needed to make green
  • Remove dead foliage and empty planters
  • Remove trash cans
  • Remove spider webs from eaves and door frames
  • Remove visible water hoses
  • Remove toys, playground supplies, balls,
  • Remove any sesonal decor

Tips for Pool Area

  • Balance pool water – Water should be blue, not green or milky
  • Clean pool deck and any porches
  • Remove all trash cans and signs
  • Pool furniture should be meticulously organized and in perfect lines – Add towels if appropriate
  • Remove any water hose
  • Put away pool vacuum, net, and cleaner hose
  • Hide all pool supplies
  • Remove any toys and floats
  • Open all umbrellas
  • Make sure all cushions and umbrellas look bright and clean not faded
  • Make sure umbrella functions
  • Turn on any water features.

A meticulously cleaned pool with perfectly staged furniture. This is an excellent example of hot to prepare for a photo shoot properties with a pool or water feature

Tips for Kitchen Area

  • Clear countertops, less is more. No mail, clutter, knife blocks, or cooking supplies
  • Clean countertops, remove any stains
  • Stage Kitchen area with one small appliance, fresh fruit and maybe a cookbook
  • Remove any personal effects from the area including pictures, clothing, shoes, notes, etc
  • Hide all dishes, move dirty dishes to dishwasher
  • Hide all garbage cans
Picture of a stage kitchen. This is how to properly stage a kitchen for a photo shoot for real estate or virtual tour

Tips for Dining Room | Table

Example of a Dining room staged and prepared for real estate photography

  • Clear the table and remove all clutter
  • Dust and polish the table top
  • Stage the area
  • Feature one centerpiece such as a bouquet of flowers
  • Straighten all chairs and space them evenly
  • Remove children’s chairs or high seats

Tips for Living Room

Example of a staged and cleaned living room for photo shoot

  • Remove magazines, papers, mail, etc.
  • Remove clutter from fireplace mantel/hearth (no more than 3-4 items, including art)
  • Fluff and arrange furniture pillows
  • Remove toys, personal effects, and random clutter

Tips for Bedrooms

  • Bedding should be immaculate (matching colors, no wrinkles, no discoloring or faded bedding)
  • Edges of bedding and sheets when visible should either be tucked neatly or hung straight
  • Pillows should be wrinkle free, fluffed, matching and arranged neatly
  • Carpet and Flooring should be freshly cleaned
  • Remove all personal belongings (Pictures, clothing, electronics, clutter)
  • Remove trashcans

Real Estate picture of a staged bedroom

Tips for the Lobby

Example of proper staging for a hotel lobby. This is a Courtyard Marriott
  • Remove all marketing materials (table tents, ads, rack cards, business cards, etc.)
  • Remove all trash cans
  • Remove everything from front desk (1 or 2 small items will be ok)
  • Clean or remove doormats
  • Arrange seating to look inviting
  • Make sure all pillows are fluffed and appear bright and not faded
  • Turn on all visible lighting
  • Straighten all curtains
  • Clear clutter from all tables

Tips for Business Center

Picture showing a properly setup business center - photo shoot ready

  • Chair should be slightly open to look inviting or perfectly square with the desk to look formal
  • Clean computer screens
  • Turn off computer screens
  • Hide all cables
  • Remove mouse pad
  • Remove office supplies (extra paper, marketing material, pens, tape, etc.)

Tips for Fitness Center

  • Turn off all equipment or sync there screens
  • Clean all glass
  • Remove stacked cups from water cooler
  • Organize all free weights
  • Remove waste baskets
  • Fold all towels neatly and organize
  • Clean and Turn off TVs
Fitness equipment neatly lined up over looking a well staged pool at this hotel photo shoot.

Tips for Meeting Rooms | Events Space

  • Stage room as if a function was taking place ( theater, classroom, horseshoe, school, etc.)
  • Make sure all chair backs are perfectly aligned, all glasses, pens, marketing material, should also be precisely aligned
  • Make sure all tables are aligned and staged
  • Hide all cables, trash cans, and stacks of drinking cups
  • Avoid centerpieces or choose a very modern centerpiece (boardrooms can use communications equipment as a center piece
Example of a formally staged meeting room.

Following the above tips will ensure you have a productive, successful, and stress-free photo shoot.

Forge Mountain Photography is available to shoot anywhere in the US, Canada, or Caribbean. We travel often so please reach out to us to discuss your photo shoot.

Picture of Will Thomas the owner and operator of Forge Mountain Photography