• How to Stage A Listing for Real Estate Photography by Emanuel Mozes Photography

How to Stage A Listing Before Real Estate Photography

How to Stage A Listing Before Real Estate Photography is a collection of tips and ideas picked up over the years.  A home that has been staged, particularly by a professional,  helps to create a distraction free setting, ensuring images with maximum impact.  As a photographer, my goal is to focus the attention of potential buyers and help them connect at an emotional level, allowing them to envision their home.

If your real estate agent directed you here, you are fortunate to be working with a professional that understands this and what it takes to successfully market a property. This article provides ideas and guidelines on how to stage a listing before photo shoot to maximize its marketability.


  • Thoroughly clean the entire house; vacuum  the carpets, mop the floors, clean counter tops and clean windows and mirrors.
  • Turn all overhead lights and lamps on.
  • Turn all ceiling fans off.
  • Replace all burned out light bulbs.
  • Turn all TVs and computer screens off.
  • Open blinds and arrange window treatments to let in outside light. Please make sure all blinds and window treatments line up and are pulled just enough to cover the top rail of the bottom window pane.
  • Remove personal photographs, or replace with general landscape or object photography.
  • Remove small floor rugs to reveal actual flooring.
  • Place all shoes and jackets in closets.
  • Make all beds.
  • Empty all trash cans.
  • Paint any rooms that need to be refreshed.


Replace light bulbs with the same color temperature. A light bulb temperature represents the color of the light it produces. Light bulbs rated “Daylight” produce a color similar to the sunlight in a room, thus complementing the interiors while minimizing color casts. For more information on light bulbs please visit the CNET Light bulb buying guide.



  • Clean up landscaping, mow the lawn, trim shrubs and clear leaves.
  • Remove empty planters.
  • Remove visible water hoses.
  • Remove cars from driveway and front of home.
  • Use broom to remove cobwebs from eaves and door frames.
  • Remove toys, sports balls, basketball goals, soccer goals, etc.
  • Remove swimming pool vacuum hoses.
  • Clean and clear the gutters.
  • Make sure the roof has no moss or dry rot.
  • Check your house trim and correct and paint as needed.
  • Ensure your front door, and storm dorm, are thoroughly cleaned and repaint or replace the front door as needed.



For the real estate agent (and the photographer) please don’t park your in front of the house. It’s usually best to park the cars one or two houses away.

How to stage your listings for real estate photography


  • Clear counter tops completely.
  • Remove any pots and pans from the stove top.
  • Remove any items stored in microwave or ovens.
  • Remove any kitchen towels hanging from oven door handles.
  • Remove knife blocks, baking supplies, paper towels, mail, etc.
  • Leave out just one small appliance like your coffee maker.
  • Remove all magnets, pictures and artwork from the front and sides of the refrigerator and other appliances.
  • Remove all items stored on top of the fridge.
  • Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet.
  • Remove dishes from sink, place in dishwasher.


Add a bowl of fresh fruit or a vase of fresh flowers and place it either on the counter top or on the kitchen table.  Please refer to this article for tips on cleaning granite counter tops.  For tips on cleaning stainless steel appliances please refer to this article.

How to stage your listings for real estate photography


  • Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, etc.
  • De-clutter fireplace mantel or hearth and no more than 5 items, including artwork.
  • Clean interior of fireplace and re-paint if needed.
  • Fluff and arrange furniture pillows.
  • Remove kids toys.
How to stage your listings for real estate photography


Your bedrooms should be thoroughly cleaned, carpets steamed and painted in soft neutral colors to instill the feeling of tranquility.

  • Make the beds.
  • Use fresh linens and bedspreads.
  • Remove personal items from night stands and dressers.
  • De-clutter the room.
  • De-clutter the closets.

How to stage your listings for real estate photography


Your bathrooms should be thoroughly cleaned and mopped, counter tops, windows and mirrors should be clean and free of streaks and marks:

  • De-clutter the counter tops and remove tooth brushes, cups and soaps.
  • Remove all toiletries from showers and tubs, including shampoo bottles, loafas and soaps.
  • Replace the toilet paper with a full new roll.  [Read more: Learn how to fold toilet paper.]
  • Remove any magazine and book racks.
  • Remove towels and robes hanging behind the door or on the walls.
  • Replace towels with fresh towels with colors that compliment the bathroom. [Read more: Great ideas on how to display towels.]
  • Replace any burnt light bulbs and please make sure all bulbs have the same the same color temperature.


How to stage your listings for real estate photography

How to Stage A Listing Before Real Estate Photography

I hope you have found this check list useful and I am looking forward to photographing your listing.  If you have any staging tips of your own you would like to share, I’d love to know them and incorporate them here.


EXTERIORS 2017-03-28T16:33:31+00:00
KITCHENS 2017-08-06T03:28:28+00:00
INTERIORS 2017-03-28T16:33:17+00:00
BATHROOMS 2017-08-03T18:02:02+00:00


Emanuel has taken several of my listings photos. 2 of the recent homes have gone under contract in the first 2 weeks due to high attention on line as a result of his photos.
Carol Minghenelli, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach

Thank you Emanuel for taking these wonderful pictures. Great team work!! You are the best!!!

Dawn Minghetti, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach

Had a recent opportunity to work with Emanuel on a new listing I have. He was professional, took beautiful photos- in fact so many great photos that it was difficult to choose which ones to include in my listing. Many thanks!

Bonnie Mushnick, Keller Williams

He is very detailed and has a great eye for real estate photos. He is a must have for this business.!

Holly Lockwood, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach

Emanuel has photographed a few of my properties and I have been delighted for his attention to details. Especially helping to stage the property in the best light. Emanuel is a perfectionist and I highly recommend his photographing services to my peers!

Barbara Fink, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach

Wow! Thank you. Such amazing photographs you took!! Excited to share them all ASAP and get this listing posted.

Julianne Lozowski, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach

Emanuel was great to work with. His photos were amazing. He is very professional and courteous. The program he sets up makes uploading the photos to Trend a breeze. I would highly recommend him to any realtor. I intend to use him again for future listings.

Kristin Abele, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach

Excellent!! This is the only way to sell your home – superb photos makes buyers walk through the front door…

Dan Sukhia, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach

Emanuel just photographed pictures of two of my listings did a fabulous job on both. My sellers were elated w/ the pictures, He also put them on my Facebook page–both receiving rave reviews. thanks so much Emanuel!

Jo Robinson, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach

How often does this happen: you hire a professional and you get more than you expected? Not often, but that happened when I worked with Emmanuel to photograph my home! Working with him is an absolute pleasure. He was quick, efficient and detail oriented which I loved! The result was a stunning array of photos that are sure to get the house noticed. There is an art and science to real estate photography and Emmanuel has that eye. Do not hesitate. He is the ultimate professional.

Donna Balara, For Sale by Owner

Super professional, punctual, and talented. Loved the photos!

Haley Schmidt, For Sale by Owner

Emanuel is the best. Very professional and courteous and VERY good with that camera. Thanks for the great pics!

Erik Schmidt, For Sale by Owner

I worked with Emanuel on two listings in the past week. Pictures look great and he was a pleasure to work with. He returns calls and emails, almost immediately, arrived timely for our appointment and had photos to us in no time at all. I look forward to working together in the future!

Nicole Martorano, SJI Jackson Real Estate

My seller and I were very happy with the photos Emanuel provided for marketing a 3 story townhouse. He is a true professional and with his background in real estate he knows exactly where to focus the camera to highlight the best features of the rooms and the house in general. It’s not easy!

Marie Di Stefano, RE/Max Home Experts II

This was the first time I used Emanuel to photograph one of my listings and he was professional and very easy to work with. The pictures look great and my sellers couldn’t believe it was the same home they grew up in! Thank you!

Nancy Pearl, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach

If your in the market to sell your house, do your self a favor and hire Emanuel to photograph your house. You won’t be disappointed. I was blown away by the beauty and stunning colors that appeared in all the photographs. My house looked like a showcase home and I know this will absolutely help to sell my house. Emanuel is a true professional and perfectionist and will help you stage your house perfectly.

Lisa Ribando, For Sale by Owner

Emanuel photographed 22 Fox Hollow in Sturbridge Lakes within a few days there were 3 offers! 5 Boise Ct in Marlton after 3 days on line there were 2 offers! Happy Sellers Happy Agent! Thanks Emanuel!

Carol Minghenelli, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach

About the Author:

I provide real estate photography for realtors and home owners in southern New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area. My goal is to focus the attention of potential buyers so they can envision their home. Each image is carefully planned and meticulously processed to create an array of inviting images that showcase each property and pique the interest of potential buyers. I leverage my experience as a former real estate agent to provide you a powerful and cost effective marketing tool for your listings. Photography is more than a professional venture, it’s a passion. When I am not shooting on assignments, I combine my passion for photography and personal interests, like sunsets and rally racing. My non-real estate work, including my hobby as a rally photographer, can be seen here. I was born on Terceira, Azores Islands, Portugal and lived in Portugal mainland and Venezuela. I relocated to the US as a teen.