Real Estate Photography FAQ

What should I do to prepare for the shoot? 


  • Declutter EVERYTHING. 
  • Remove everything from countertops, floors, corners, etc. Completely clear bathroom counters, including soap dispensers. 
  • Remove all soaps, shampoos, razors, sponges, etc. from showers.
  • Completely clear kitchen counters, with the possible exception of one to two typical kitchen items like a knife block or stand mixer.
  • Remove magnets, pictures, etc. from refrigerator and clear all dishes and dishwashing materials from the sink. 
  • Clear dresser tops, desk tops night stands, furniture, and any other surfaces in bedrooms. 
  • Remove dog toys, food bowls, crates, and any other sign of pets.
  • If floors are a selling point, remove rugs from bathrooms and kitchens.
  • If you are concerned about privacy, remove any personal items such as family photos, trophies, monograms, etc. 


  • Remove cars from driveway. 
  • Hide trash cans in garage or place them at the street. 
  • Remove any trash, debris, dog or children’s toys from yard. 
  • Ideally mow and take care of any landscaping (tree/bush trimming, mulching, etc.) a few days before the shoot. 

*Disclaimer: If the agent or homeowner cannot be present at the shoot, I can’t declutter the house for two reasons. First, from a liability standpoint, I can’t afford to be responsible for a homeowner being unable to find something important because I moved it. Second, I have to schedule shoots back to back in order to have a full schedule. It’s not fair to be late to my next shoot because the first shoot wasn’t properly prepared. If for some reason the house is completely unshootable when I arrive, then I can reschedule the shoot with a rescheduling fee of at least half of the full shoot price. 

How do you take payment? 

Most people pay in one of three ways: Via credit card (Click here),  check, or Venmo. Credit car and Venmo are slightly easier for me to keep up with, but I'm not picky.

What is the ideal time for a shoot? 

This is a question I wish more agents asked. If every shoot was a multi-day luxury shoot, we could choose the angle of the sun for every individual shot. But since that’s just not the case, the best procedure is to figure out which direction the house faces and determine when there will be light on the front of the house. The middle of the day is always a safe bet. Or on a cloudy day any time will work. I try to shoot between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the summer and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the winter to avoid ever shooting with the sun behind the house. 

If you’re scheduling a twilight shoot, I will always arrive about 30 minutes before sunset. 

What is your turnaround time? 

I promise next-day turnaround on every photo shoot barring extenuating circumstances (I’m going out of town, I get sick, my computer crashes, etc.). For videos, the editing/processing load is such that sometimes it’s impossible for me to turnaround next day. But even with video I typically return them next day. 

How long does a shoot take?

Pictures and video take anywhere from half an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes each depending on the size of the house. A safe bet is to set aside an hour for each. 

How far out should I schedule?

That depends on how time sensitive the listing is. If you have to have the house on the market by a certain day, then ideally try to schedule at least a week out to make sure I’m available when you need me. If the difference of a day or two isn’t make-or-break, I can typically find a slot for you a few days out. A problem my agents often run into is scheduling on the same day they want the pictures back. I can sometimes accommodate same-day turnaround requests for an additional fee, depending on how busy I am. But if you always schedule at least a day before you need the pictures, we'll never run into that problem.


What if I’m not happy with the pictures? 

If I’ve made a mistake, such as forgotten a room, then I’ll return to the house to reshoot for free or discount the shoot. But if the pictures are reflective of my usual work and the agent/owner simply wants more or different pictures, then I’ll charge a reshooting fee based on the number of additional pictures. 

Do I need to be at the shoot?

No! I have eKey access, so if you have a  Supra lockbox on the house all I need is the CBS code to get in. I’m happy to throw on my headphones and shoot the house alone. Just keep in mind that if no one is there, I’ll shoot the property as is with the exception of blinds. 

Do I own the photos from the shoot? 

The short answer is no. You have the right to use the photos in any way necessary to market the listing. You don’t have the right to sell, give away, or edit the pictures. 

The long answer is at the bottom of this list in its own section titled “Terms and Conditions of Licensing.” 

What If I need to reschedule/cancel?

If you can let me know 24 hours before the shoot or more, no big deal. We’ll find another time to shoot. If you need to cancel less than 24 hours before the shoot for any reason, I reserve the right to charge a rescheduling fee (typically half of the total shoot cost). If I travel to the shoot and then find out we need to cancel or reschedule, the rescheduling fee will include my time and travel for that day. 

If you’re concerned with the weather, I’m able to replace dreary skies with bright blue ones for considerably less than the cost to reschedule the shoot.

Terms and Conditions of Licensing

Photographs are legally considered “Intellectual Property.” This means that, unless stated otherwise in writing, a photographer maintains ownership of his/her photographs at all times, even if they are commissioned. 

By choosing to work with Matt Peel Photography, you are purchasing a license to use the photos in certain ways, not ownership of the photos to do whatever you want with them. The following list describes how you can and cannot use the photographs provided to you based on the license you are purchasing from me. Legally these are called non-exclusive rights, but here’s what it means practically:


What You Can Do 

  • Post photos on the MLS
  • Post photos on social media to market the listing
  • Print photos in brochures, flyers, etc. to market the listing
  • Print photos in newspaper, magazine or other print advertising to market the listing

What You Can’t Do

  • Post photos on your own website as stock photography
  • Sell or give the photos to anyone else (e.g. another agent listing the same property, the builder, interior designer, roofer, cleaner, stager, contractor, etc.)
  • Edit the photos in any way (e.g. Instagram filters, iPhone filters, photoshop, etc.)

Now don’t get me wrong. I would LOVE for you or anyone else to use my photos for advertising purposes beyond just marketing your listing. Just let me know and I can license the pictures to you for personal advertising use for an additional fee. This fee will depend on where the photo will be used (e.g. using an image on your website might only cost $25 while putting it on billboards all over town might cost $500 and an international ad campaign might cost $5,000). 

If you have any questions about these terms and conditions, feel free to give a call or send me an email any time.