Preparing for an Interior/Exterior Photo Shoot

In preparation for our up-coming photo-shoot there are a few items that may need some attention.

Not everything mentioned below will apply, but you’ll recognize the ones that do. Taking care of this ‘housekeeping’ before the photo-shoot ensures that the photography will go smoothly, quickly and with minimal interruption. 

Remember, it’s cheaper to clean it up beforehand than pay for retouching to remove it afterwards.

Residential Locations

(see below for commercial locations)


  • In summer, ensure the lawn is freshly cut and raked. Discard any debris such as dead leaves or branches. Use lawn patch products to fill in bare spots.
  • Make sure gardens are weeded and any debris cleared away.
  • Remove tools, toys, dog droppings and any clutter in corners.
  • Check light bulbs in exterior fixtures. We sometimes turn lights on even during the day.
  • Sweep the driveway of dirt, sand or salt left over from the winter.  In winter, ensure the driveway is cleared as well as clearing all sidewalks.
  • In the winter it's also a good idea to clear snow off the window sills, decks, railings, etc. The more of the home showing, the better.
  • Also in winter, the less the snow is disturbed on the lawn the better. Try to keep kids and pets from playing in the yard as much as possible before the photo shoot, and hope for a light snowfall. 
  • If a garage or outdoor shed is to be photographed, follow the same general suggestions as for interiors.


  • Clear shoes, coats, umbrellas, hockey sticks, gloves, etc., from the entrance.  If there's a wet shoe mat, ensure that it's clean or put away.
  • Clear clutter. Put extra stuff in a spare room that we won't photograph. Piles of books, magazines, tools, hobbies, etc., should be kept to a minimum. 
  • Check light fixtures - ceiling lights as well as lamps. Ensure all bulbs are functional. Light bulbs of the same type (ie. incandescent, LED, etc.) and colour temperature in the same room looks much better than a mixture of colours.
  • Areas of high 'finger traffic' such as light switches should be cleaned. The discolouration will show.
  • Kitchen Specifics
    • Clear the counter of things like soap dishes, dish racks, paper towel holders, soap bottles and cleaning supplies. 
    • Only place bowls of fruit or vases of flowers if they are fresh.
    • Take dish towels and rags off the stove or handles of cupboards. It's often better to remove floor mats as well, especially if you have a nice floor.
    • Ensure the counters and surfaces are wiped down and clean. 
    • Ensure cupboards with glass fronts and exposed shelves are clear of clutter and neatly displayed.
    • Ensure the light fixture over the stove is operational, as well as other accent lights.
    • Small electric appliances such as toasters, coffee-makers, etc., may be removed as well. This give the counters a cleaner look and shows more available 'counter space' than when it's full of appliances.
    • Setting a table for a nice dinner is a nice touch, especially in a formal dining room. Cloth napkins and wine glasses are great too. 
  • Cords & Cables from electronic appliances, lamps, entertainment systems, etc., should be hidden from view as much as possible. Game controllers and remote controls should be hidden.
  • We normally don't photograph closets unless they are ensuite/walk-ins. If you wish it photographed, hide personal items and declutter. You want them to look like they have lots of room.
  • Toys, dog & cat beds, clothes, etc., should be cleared from all floors. Rec rooms should be picked up and de-cluttered. 
  • Bedrooms should have freshly made beds with sheets neatly tucked and tags hidden. Check light fixtures for burned out bulbs. Ensure that stuff hidden under the bed is completely out of sight. Clear stacks of clothing, books, magazines, and corners. 
  • Bathrooms should be freshly cleaned. Ensure that mirrors and glass surfaces such as shower doors are clean and free of dried water marks. Hide waste buckets, toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet bowl brushes and cleaners, shaving gear, etc. A crisply folded towel on the counter beside the sink is a nice touch along with a small vase of flowers.

Commercial Locations

Many of the same suggestions for residential interiors (above) can be applied to commercial locations. Remember, it’s always cheaper to clean it up beforehand than pay for retouching to remove it afterwards.

Here are some specifics: 


  • Exterior Signage: as with interior signage, out-dated, discoloured or damaged signs should be cleaned, replaced or removed. Check for out-dated  or worn decals on windows and doors. If the sign is illuminated, check bulbs and fixtures to ensure they work. 
  • Entrance:  Garbage cans and cigarette disposals should be hidden or moved for the duration of the photo-shoot.
  • Exterior Windows will show dirt in the photographs. If at all possible, windows should be cleaned prior to the photo-shoot.
  • Grounds: Check for blown in garbage, dead leaves, cigarette butts, etc.
  • Parking Curbs, if movable, should be lined up and straightened. If parking spots are marked by paint, check to see if they need to be repainted.
  • Sweep entrance ways and even road-side curbs free of dirt, leaves, salt left over from the winter, etc.


  • Check light bulbs in all fixtures. This is the #1 hold-up during a photo-shoot… burned out lightbulbs! Check overhead lights as well as table and floor lamps. It will also photograph better if they are all the same colour temperature. Fluorescent lights are available in many different colour temperatures. Those that mimic daylight provide the best colour rendition.
  • Check signage: invalid sales signs, discontinued or out-dated signage, discoloured or damaged signs should be replaced or removed. Check for missing signs too.
  • Shelves & Displays: check stock to fill empty spaces; position labels facing front; literature and brochure racks filled and straightened. Dust off product and shelving.
  • Desks & Counters: straighten and de-clutter. Cords, extensions, wires, personal items (that you don’t want to appear in photos) should be hidden as much as possible.
  • Garbage: If you don’t want it to appear in a photograph, hide it! It’s usually best if garbage cans are hidden for the duration of the photo-shoot. This goes for cigarette disposal units too.
  • Windows: In most cases, the window panes won’t show for interior photography, but dead-flies, unhooked or tattered curtains, old decals, and cob-webs might.