Donna Mae Photography | Photo Day Prep Guide

How to Prepare for Photos

  • General Guidelines
    • Turn on all the lights on photo day
    • Clean everything!
    • Remove personal, pet, religious and seasonal/holiday items
    • Remove toys from main living areas and limit excess toys in other areas
    • De-clutter – less is more in photos
    • Limit knick-knacks and other decorative items on display
    • Dust (flat surfaces, light fixtures)
    • Vacuum carpets and rugs
    • Mop and sweep hard floors
    • Remove trash cans, air fresheners, tissue boxes and remotes
    • Wash windows inside and out
    • Close all windows
    • Open blinds and curtains
      • Curtains – open or tie back
      • Venetian blinds – leave down and open (slats parallel to floor or flat)
      • Mini blinds – pull open
      • Vertical blinds – slide open
      • Shades – pull up
      • Remove small rugs (except in entryways)
    • Light Bulbs
      • Check for burnt out light bulbs
      • Ensure you have all one type of bulb in a light fixture
    • “Rule of 3” – a simplified Staging Tip – Only 3 items allowed
      • On kitchen counters –small potted herb/flower, coffee pot, knick-knack
      • On bathroom counter – vase of flowers, small clock, knick-knack
  • Front Entry or Foyer
    • Check bulbs in chandelier
    • Remove excess rugs
    • Provide clean rug
    • Remove excess shoes and coats
  • Living Room
    • Remove kids’ and pets’ toys
    • Fluff throw pillows
    • Hide away visible cords
    • De-clutter coffee and end tables
    • Remove remotes, tissue boxes and excess blankets
  • Kitchen
    • Clear off the counter and leave 2 to 3 small items
      • Keep coffee pot, stand mixer
      • Hide toaster oven, excess appliances
      • Add color with a lively plant or vase of flowers
    • Empty sink of dishes and dish rack
    • Hide soap, dish cloth, sponges and drain stops
    • Remove rugs from the floor
    • Remove pet food dishes
    • Straighten and evenly space bar stools
    • Remove everything from front, top and sides of refrigerator
    • Remove fingerprint from appliances
    • Remove calendar and mail
    • Hide trash can
  • Dining Room
    • Remove items from chairs
    • Add a center piece
    • Straighten and evenly space chairs
    • Remove high chairs and booster seats
  • Office
    • Remove documents from surface of desk
    • Clear desk of everything except computer, phone and desk lamp
    • Add one decorative item (ex. small plant), if desired
    • Hide or organize cords
    • Open your laptop
    • Remove garbage can
    • Make sure computer monitor is blank
  • Bedroom
    • Make bed with coordinating bedding, including decorative pillows/shams, if available
    • Make sure sheets/mattress are covered by the blanket/comforter
    • Stand the pillows upright
    • Remove diaper genie/pail
    • Remove child’s name from wall
    • De-clutter night stands and dressers
    • Remove items from under the bed or use bed skirt
  • Bathrooms
    • Clear off vanity
    • Leave only clean, unused towels and decorative items
    • Remove toilet brush, plunger and trash can
    • Close toilet lid
    • Clean mirrors (streaks will show in photos)
  • Pets
    • Remove food and water bowls
    • Hide pet beds, toys and cat towers
    • Remove pet hair from furniture and floors
    • Let photographer know if there will be a pet in the home during shoot
  • Laundry Room
    • Wipe down washer/dryer
    • Front-Loading Washer & Dryer – Remove & put away laundry
    • Put away iron & ironing board
    • Organize
      • Put laundry into bins/baskets
      • Organize laundry detergent/softeners, etc. (i.e. on shelf, in cupboard, etc.)
  • Mudroom
    • Remove excess coats, shoes and clutter
    • Provide clean rug
  • Exterior
    • Close garage doors
    • Hide trash cans
    • Mow the lawn
    • Remove vehicles and trailers from driveway
    • Remove weeds
    • Remove toys from yard
    • Tidy up patio furniture and add cushions
    • If you have a pool, clean and open on photo day