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How to Get Your Portland Home Ready for Professional Photographers

Listing homes for sale in Portland, Oregon, has changed dramatically over the last few years. Sure, you can still put a “For Sale” sign in your front yard and pass out flyers at an open house, but in the digital age, sellers and their real estate agents need to go above and beyond with a smart marketing plan that includes plenty of high-quality photographs taken by a professional.

A large majority of home shoppers start their search online, which makes total sense. A motivated buyer who wants to find a luxury home in the City of Roses can browse several online listings in one sitting and at any hour of the day or night. Not only are local buyers surfing the web looking for homes, but so are professionals who will be relocating to Portland from other states and even other countries. That means you need to produce an online listing that will stand out among all the other listings out there, and the best way to do that is to have some great photos taken by a professional.

Why use a professional?

Before you get started on the list of tasks to get your home ready, it helps to understand why it makes sense to hire a professional photographer. Under no circumstance can you take photos with your iPhone, download them, and slap them into an online listing. Quality matters when trying to attract buyers, and there’s no way that the photos you take will match the outstanding photos a pro will take.

The main reason for hiring a professional photographer is to make a terrific first impression with buyers, particularly if you are selling a luxury home. No matter how many listings buyers click through, they’ll remember the ones that stand out, particularly if the homes fit the criteria they seek. Attracting more attention to your listing is the goal, which will lead to you making a faster sale for more money.

The price of hiring a professional photographer is well worth it. Experienced agents like Rebecca Donaldson work with some of the finest pros in Portland and will be happy to recommend one. Ask the photographer to take several shots of each room and feature in the house and some drone shots of the exterior that show how your home fits into the neighborhood. That will allow you to sell the Portland lifestyle and your home.

An important tip is to change the cover photo on your online listing every day. That will keep it fresh and intriguing to buyers who visit your listing multiple times. It also allows you to highlight the most important features of your home rather than just sticking with the same photo. You will also have extra photos to use on your social media accounts.

Now, to get the most out of this investment in time and money, here are the steps you need to take to make sure your home is ready for the day your photographer is scheduled to show up.

These steps are always part of the process of selling a home but are even more critical when understanding how to take professional home photos. Having this checklist completed will assure the day of the photoshoot will go as smoothly as possible.

Prepare the interior


Remove as many possessions as possible from every room. Don’t just stash things in closets or under the bed, because buyers will poke and prod everywhere. Pack up what you don’t need before you move, and get rid of the rest.


Remove all family photos, heirlooms, and any other personal items that will be distracting to buyers viewing photos of your home. They want to envision their family living there, not be reminded of yours. Remove any holiday or seasonal decorations as well, which can date your photos.


Nothing makes homes for sale in Portland, Oregon, look fresher, even in a photo, than a fresh coat of paint. A warm neutral color such as off-white, gray, or even an earth tone will be inviting to the eye as potential buyers click through your listing viewing photos. You can go with a brighter color in the kitchen and bathrooms, but nothing garish.

Stage the furniture

Arrange the furniture to show off the floor plan, which a professional photographer will capture with the use of a wide-angle lens. Add some neutral but attractive decor, such as area rugs, throw pillows, and a wall hanging or two.

Clean thoroughly

Have the carpets steam cleaned and the wood floors polished or even refinished. Everything shows up in photos, and you want your home to shine, literally.

Attention to detail

Go through each room and tidy up and arrange items, so everything looks sharp in your photos. Make the beds, clear off your dressers, and pick up any loose clothes and shoes.

Clear the kitchen counters of everything except a few small appliances. Place a vase of flowers on the island and set the dining room table with your fine china. Clear the bathroom counters of all loose items and put out clean towels and a vase of flowers. Put down the toilet seats and lids.

As much as you love your pets, hide their food and water bowls, their toys and beds, and yes, the cat litter box.

Right before the photographer arrives, turn on all the lights and open the curtains. Light some candles and the fireplace.


You’ll definitely want photos of your attractive front and back yards, so freshen up the landscaping by mowing the lawn and trimming all bushes and trees. Wash the front porch, sidewalk, and driveway. Clean the porch light and paint the front door in a warm, welcoming color. On the day of the photo shoot, move the cars out of the driveway. Put away all garden tools, toys, hoses, and garbage cans.

Hire a great agent

This checklist of how to take professional home photos is a great place to start. For help with the entire home-selling process, partner with award-winning agent Rebecca Donaldson to ensure a smooth, profitable transaction.

Work With Rebecca

With a focus on client service, Rebecca has prioritized the expansion of her network and resources throughout her career. You can have absolute confidence that all your real estate solutions are within reach when working with Rebecca Donaldson.

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