Lived-in Homes - Amy Harley Photography

Home Preparation for Lived-in Homes

Getting your home ready for photos can be a challenge if you’re still living there. To make it a bit easier, the checklist below is organized into two parts: tasks that can be completed prior to the day of photographs and things that might not be practical to do until that day.

Please have your home ready before I arrive. I typically spend 45 minutes to one hour at the property, so there will not be time for last-minute tidying or staging during the photography session. I’ll start by doing a quick walk-through with you and/or your realtor so I know which rooms to include, what to highlight, and any areas to avoid in the photos. Closets and garages are not usually photographed. You do not need to be home if your realtor is meeting me.

Your listing photos will look even better if the home is staged. If you’re unsure how to best showcase your home for your target buyer, professional home stagers offer a range of services, from staging the entire home using their own inventory to a short consultation with specific recommendations for you to complete. I am happy to personally recommend:

Harmony in Your Home (Bonnie Garceau)

Pineapple Home Staging (Janie Quiles)

Even if you don’t make it through the whole checklist, doing just these four things before I arrive will really help the photos look great:

• Open the blinds (natural light looks beautiful)

• Turn off the lights (except for the basement if there are no windows)

• Turn off ceiling fans

• Hide cars and trash cans

Thank you! I’m looking forward to photographing your home!

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Prior to Photography Day

Whole House

• Vacuum carpets

• Sweep and mop floors

• Wash windows

Living Room

• Remove everything from tables and floor (family photos, magazines, tissues, toys, etc.)

• Items under sofas and chairs are often visible in photographs

• Remove majority of items on shelving

• Stage with pillows on sofas and chairs


• Declutter bed-side tables (photos, books, etc.)

• Remove everything on dressers

• Remove everything on the floor

• Items under the bed are often visible in photographs

• Remove children’s names from their rooms


• Remove everything on top of fridge and cabinets

• Start decluttering counter tops

• Remove fridge magnets

Dining Room

• Remove everything on the table and floor

• Wipe down table

• Stage with a low centerpiece

• Place settings optional


• Start decluttering vanity

• Clean mirror, vanity, and floor


• Mow

• Trim hedges

• Rake leaves

• Hide garden hoses

• Put away toys

On Photography Day

Whole House

• Lights off

• Ceiling fans off

• Open curtains and blinds, making sure they are even within each room

• Contain pets

Living Room

• Hide remotes, phones, tissues, toys, etc.


• Remove everything on bed-side tables (alarm clocks, tissues etc.) except lamp

• Make the bed and stage with pillows


• Remove everything on counter tops – coffee pot, hand soap, sponges, food, paper towels, dishes in sink, etc.

• A nice cutlery block or a fancy stand mixer can be used to hide outlets

• Wipe down counter tops

• Hide trash cans from view

• Remove dish towels, kitchen rug, pet bowls

• Stage with a bowl of fruit or similar


• Put toilet lid down

• Remove everything on the vanity (toothbrushes, hand soap, etc.)

• Remove bath rug, trash can, and toilet brush (these can go in the shower if it’s not being photographed. Usually, only tiled showers are photographed.)

• Close shower curtain

• Remove nightlights

• Stage racks with clean folded towels


• Hide trash cans

• Move cars out of view

Examples of Well-staged Rooms

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