Top 5 Ways to Prep a Property for a Video or Photo Shoot

When I show up for a video or photo shoot at a property I hope it’s already staged and ready to shoot. That’s not always the case. No matter what, your job is the to get the best shot possible with the property in front of you. Here are my top 5 tips for getting a property ready to shoot:


Replace Dead Light Bulbs

Most likely you will come across burnt out bulbs at some point while shooting a property. If the owner is home, ask if they have any replacement bulbs to switch out the dead one. If not, I suggest taking a bulb from another room and replacing the dead bulb in the shot, whether it is a lamp or ceiling fan light. Get the shots you need in any of the spaces close by that might show the lights in the background. Return the working bulb or bulbs back where you got them. Remember to do your best to leave the property how you found it.

When it comes to a pair of lamps in a bedroom and one is out, if you can’t replace the bulb or get the lamp to work, just leave both lamps off for the shots. It will look better for both to be off instead of one one and one off.

Clear Counters

Especially when shooting kitchen, bathroom and laundry room counters, you want to have as little as possible on the counters. A cluttered counter can make the counter look smaller than it really is. Big counters are a huge selling point so do your best to remove appliances, soap dispensers, sponges, towels, paper towels, anything else that distracts from the space. Once items are removed the counters and you finish shooting not only in the immediate area but also in the areas close by that might have that counter in the background. Make sure to return the items to the counter the way you found them before leaving the property.

Remove Clutter

A few papers or clothes here and there may shot seem like a big deal to have in the background. As a videographer or photographer, it’s your job to present the space as best you can. Having clutter, especially of personal items, can make it more difficult for the viewer to imagine themselves there. Look out for stacks of papers or magazines, remotes, clothes, books on nightstands, cables for electronics and shoes. 


Flags, Signs, Leaves…

The front exterior of a property is usually the first impression of a real estate listing. A clean, distraction-free image is what we want. When I arrive at a property, the first things I usually look for are any landscaping flags or security signs that stick out from the green grass or landscaping. You can pick these signs up or pull them out of the ground and lay them down out of sight.

Even leaves on the walkway, driveway or porch can be distracting. You can brush these leaves out of sight with your foot instead of having to get a broom out.

Back Yard

On the backside of the property, first pay attention to the patio or deck leading to the house. You may not be able to totally clear the area but do your best to make it look organized and clean. Take any strewn items and move them out of sight as best you can. Check the yard for any dog toys, child toys or distracting items that can be easily moved.

As will all these tips, use your best judgement for what will allow you to take the best image possible of the space. Going through the property and following these tips may add anywhere from 10-30 minutes to your shoot time. By preparing the property in this way you can save yourself time in post trying to edit out any items in the image.

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