Syracuse Commercial Photography

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Real Estate Prep Guide

Preparing the home in advance for the photography session will yield the best photos possible.

Here's some tips for agents or homeowners:


  • All interior lights turned on, unless bulbs are blown or missing from a multi-bulb fixture.
  • Do not forget to turn on any accent lighting or under-cabinet lighting.
  • Exterior lights should be on if the photo session is scheduled within 2 hours of Sunset time.


  • All first-floor blinds and curtains completely opened and raised if there is a nice view.
  • All second-floor blinds and curtains completely opened and raised.
  • First-floor blinds open, angled upwards, but not raised if there is not a nice view (i.e. neighbor’s house, cars in street, etc).
  • If there is time, we recommend having the windows cleaned on the inside and outside a few days before the photography session. This will yield the best window views with the least amount of reflections. If an exterior cleaning is not possible, an interior cleaning with Windex is fine.


  • Air-conditioning turned on during summer to reduce fogging on windows and our lenses.
  • Heat turned down or off (temporarily) during the photography session in winter to also reduce fogging.
  • All ceiling fans must be turned off and motionless.
  • Keep fireplaces turned off, but obtain any remote control and keep it easily accessible if needed.


  • De-clutter or organize shelves, mantles, etc. Remove newspapers, mail, and magazines.
  • Minimize or remove personal photos, memorabilia, etc.
  • Clear off counter-tops in kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Remove photos, notes, and papers from the refrigerator.
  • Turn off all televisions or computer screens.
  • Make or tidy all beds.
  • Remove trash cans from rooms.
  • Remove remote controls, personal medical equipment, floor fans, window fans, etc.
  • Closets are a great place to temporarily store all of these items.


  • All items removed from shower.
  • All toilet seats down.
  • Remove toothbrushes and other dental tools.
  • Leaving soap, towels, bath robes, etc are fine.
  • If the shower has a curtain, and it is a clean shower, please leave the shower curtain open. If the shower cannot be cleaned or has mineral stains/rust, please leave shower curtains closed.

Interior Cleaning

  • Vacuum all carpets.
  • Clean & shine hardwood floors, or at a minimum sweep the floors.
  • Clean white baseboards, window trim, and door trim.
  • Clean baseboard heaters.
  • Dust and clean ceiling fans.
  • Clean stainless steel appliances (refrigerator, stove, etc).
  • Remove pet hair from furniture if present.
  • Wipe down tables, especially if they are a dark wood.
  • Clean anything else that looks dirty! We will do some editing on the photos to remove some dirt and debris if possible, but having it clean in real-life will yield better results, and you’ll get the photos back quicker.
  • It may be worth it to hire a professional cleaner to clean the home a few days prior to the photo session. For a few hundred dollars in cleaning fees, you may be able to sell the home much quicker or at a higher price – not just for better looking photos, but also to re-assure buyers touring the home that the home has been taken care of over the years.
  • If the home is empty of furniture and not staged, it is even more crucial that the interior is cleaned, as the buyers will only be looking at the windows, walls, floors, and ceilings in the photos, and dirt or debris will be more noticeable.


  • Park all vehicles in the garage if possible, or down the road and not directly in front of the home. At a minimum, no vehicles should be in the driveway.
  • If you are ordering aerial photos, it is even more important that vehicles are not parked in front of the home.
  • Remove/store all gardening tools and supplies, including hoses.
  • Hide trash cans in the garage or shed.
  • Mow and/or rake the lawn a few days prior to the photo session, if needed.
  • Turn off pool pumps; turn on spas/hot tubs and open them.
  • Sweep the driveway and any decks or patios.
  • Shovel driveway and walkways in the winter.

Homeowner & Pet Presence

  • We absolutely love cats and dogs, but please be sure to either take them for a walk during the photo session or let them hang out in the garage for a bit.
  • Having pets roaming around during the photo session will potentially make the photo session take longer, especially if a Matterport 3D tour is being completed.
  • Having humans roaming around during the photo session will also delay things! We use very wide-angle lenses and cameras with a 360 degree view, and you may not think you are in the photo when you really are.
  • We suggest the agent and homeowners vacate the premises during the photo session if possible – this is a great time to take your dog for a walk at the park or listen to some music in the car!
  • If the homeowner must be home during the photo session, we ask that they move to a floor that we are not working on, and move back when we switch floors.
  • The real estate agent may be present, but we ask that for the interior photos, you stay behind the photographer at all times or hang out in another room. If you ordered a Matterport 3D tour, please stay on a floor we are not working on.
  • Please do not schedule repairs, maintenance, painting, landscaping, movers, etc on the day of the photo session. The photographer will have to work around them and vice-versa, and the photo session may take much longer. If we have to be on-site for much longer than anticipated, we may charge an extra fee or may not be able to complete the photo session due to other scheduled appointments after.

Must-haves & Don't-needs

  • If there are any unique features of the home that could be easily missed, please let the photographer know before the photo session.
  • If there are any “must have” photos outside the norm, please also let us know. For example if you want a close-up shot of the fireplace, a wet-bar, a chandelier, etc. We typically take “room shots” showing the entire room and only focus on smaller details if they catch our eye – but we’ve seen a lot of cool decors over the years and not everything may stand out to us!
  • If there are rooms you absolutely do not want photographs of, or anything you don’t want visible in the pictures, let us know of any concerns.
  • We typically do not photograph garages unless you specifically request photos of it. Garages are typically used as storage space or will have vehicles in them, but if your garage is unique, or very large, it may benefit from photos, so let us know.
  • We also do not typically take photos in unfinished basements unless you request it.
  • We only take photographs of closets if they are walk-in closets and free of clutter.
  • We do not recommend having photos of very small bathrooms or water closets unless they have a unique finish and decor.
  • Open all doors to all rooms you want photos of. We are not going to open all of the closet doors in your home, and if we see a closed door, we may assume that it is a closet and not a bathroom.

While the photographer may adjust lights, blinds, etc during the session, having as much done as possible before the photographer arrives will save valuable time and let the sellers get back to peace and quiet sooner.

While we have the ability to take amazing photos, the photos will only be as good as the subject that is being photographed.

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