We need to talk about home preparation.

A Facebook post from a fellow photographer sparked today’s blog. It involves a ruptured bicep muscle, 6-8 weeks in a sling, and shoulder surgery. Ouch!

The cause of the injury? He was moving blinds in a home he was photographing.

Ruptured bicep? Ouch! Home preparation tips
Ruptured bicep due to adjusting faulty blinds during a real estate photography photo shoot.

This is, of course, a near worst-case scenario, but it made me think… 

First — how the heck does that happen? How big were those blinds?!

And more importantly, do we real estate photographers need clauses in our contracts that say we will no longer move people’s stuff and will only shoot the property as is? 

Maybe, but that seems a bit extreme to me, although there is definitely some liability involved. I do believe that agents could help us real estate photographers with home preparation.

My solution? This blog! Here’s why a home should be photo ready before your photographer arrives. 

1. Home Preparation Saves You Time & Money

This is often all the incentive anyone needs.

Simply put, if a home is not photo ready, it takes us a lot of time to move things around and get a property fit for photography. There should be no clutter, no personal items lying around, no dirty dishes, and goodness, no bulky bicep-busting blinds!

In an ideal scenario, we get in, shoot, and leave. Done deal! Quick and easy and a better use of our time (and your dollar). But if we have to take time to prep the home as well — including moving things around and even cleaning — then that’s more time we need to charge for and less time to deliver the goods. 

Having the home photo ready is more economical and considerate of our precious time.

picture kc home preparation

2. Photographers Are NOT Home Stagers

This might be a common misconception that needs to be addressed — when it comes to home preparation, it is not the responsibility of the real estate photographer to stage a home. Our job is to show up at a camera-ready home and take pictures that will help sell the listing. 

As I mentioned above, it’s a waste of our time to show up to a home that isn’t ready for us to do our work. And more than that — we actually don’t even know how the agent and homeowner want the rooms to look!

A listing agent has the responsibility of marketing a property for sale. That’s why we real estate photographers are brought in for photos. But being in charge of marketing also means that the agent is responsible for having the property ready for when the photographer arrives. 

Can we make small changes to a room that we think will help make it look a little better on camera? Of course we can! We’re happy to.

But we should not be expected to come in and make wholesale changes to a room to get it ready for photos. Home staging is simply not what we do. 

(That being said, we do offer virtual staging to help showcase a space, just not physical staging.)

kansas city home staging
A virtually staged vacant property in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

3. We Want To Respect The Homeowner’s Privacy

As parents of a toddler, we certainly know life can be messy. But this is your one chance to showcase your home online via our professional real estate photography. That means you’ve got to clean up your crap and get things looking good!

Not only does it help us do our job, but it also helps us respect the homeowner’s privacy. Trust us, we don’t want to be moving a homeowner’s personal items like towels, toothbrushes, and clothing any more than they want us to be handling them.

Help us not get into a homeowner’s belongings by making sure they are put away. No, this does not mean putting all of the clutter into another room — we need to photograph that room too! Everything should be put away properly and allow for as much open space as possible. 

home prep kansas city

If You Need Some Home Preparation Help…

Then boy do we have a great resource for you! We’ve provided a free Home Preparation Checklist on our website for you to use to help get your home ready. This will ensure you get the very best results from your professional real estate photography session with Picture KC!

Home preparation and staging is a necessary part of any photography session for a listing. Can we do home prep for you? Sort of, but it’s really not our responsibility. Help us do our best work by having the property camera-ready before we arrive. We’d like to keep our biceps attached!