Becoming an Airbnb Host

The Importance of Professional Airbnb Photography

First impressions matter most. When someone is looking for a place to stay on any rental site, you only have a split second to catch their attention. And what’s going to grab it? A great photo and property title. Choose the wrong photo and that coveted guest will be scrolling on to the next listing. Here are a few tips to make sure you grab their attention — and keep it.

by Angel Host

Do You Need Professional Photos for Your Airbnb Listing?

If you’re starting in the vacation rental business it’s very tempting to take out your phone and channel your inner photographer. After all, this latest phone does have a higher quality camera and who has that extra cash to splurge on Airbnb photographers?

Well, that “splurge” is a non-negotiable investment that can completely propel your property’s performance. According to Airbnb, hosts who use professional photos tend to increase their earnings by 40% compared to other listings in the neighborhood. Locations with professional photos are also booked 24% more often.

Images speak louder than words. Low-quality imagery implies low effort, and this indirectly suggests to guests that their stay will too be of lower quality. Your smartphone might take great family photos, but there’s nothing that grabs the eye like a sharp, high-resolution shot with a professional camera.

Whether you decide to take photography into your own hands or hire a professional photography service, we have some guidelines to make the job easier.

airbnb photography

7 Tips to Master Airbnb Photography

Remember, if you do the preparation, a professional photographer can spend more time capturing images. Here is a handy guide to make sure you’re ready for your photo shoot.

1. Declutter and Clean

Put away any unnecessary items scattered around the rental, such as dishes or knick-knacks. The less clutter, the larger your space will appear. Unless you believe that an item is relevant to fully capture your space, put it away.

In addition to decluttering, clean up by vacuuming the floor and washing your sheets. It is important to declutter and clean to capture your Airbnb in its best form.

2. Stage Your Home

Think about the theme that you wish to portray in your home. For example, is it tropical, outdoorsy, or family-friendly? Keep in mind what guests will typically look for in your home based on its location and size.

Once you’ve established a theme, base your decorations and amenities around it. For example, if you choose a tropical theme, use bright colored sheets and décor.

In addition to selecting and implementing a theme, make your home look as professional as possible. Make the bed, fluff your pillows, and ensure couch cushions have been placed neatly. These small details can significantly elevate the pictures of your home.

living room with homey decor

3. But Don’t Overstage

Avoid creating an unrealistic portrayal of your home. It’s important to meet a guest’s standards when they arrive at your Airbnb. Therefore, don’t declutter too many things from your home to add them back later.

Additionally, don’t take images of amenities such as an espresso machine if you won’t offer one to guests. Although it is important to take photos that will attract guests to your home, don’t make it unrealistic.

4. Highlight Unique Features

Do you have a pool or loft? Be sure to capture the unique features of your home through Airbnb photography. It’s important to use this opportunity to show potential guests what your home has to offer.

5. Edit the Lighting

If you cannot get the perfect picture through natural lighting, free apps such as Snapseed and Lightroom can do the trick. Adjust the exposure and contrast or add a filter to your images to make them stand out. Once again, remember not to edit the photos too much or create an inaccurate portrayal of your home.

6. Add Captions To Each Photo

Under each photo, include a caption that describes what the photo is about. First, include what room is portrayed in the image, such as the master or guest bedroom. Next, highlight the unique features that the photo is capturing. Many hosts also quote their best reviews and include them in the captions of their photos.

Additionally, you can include your average star rating and top ratings written by guests in your gallery. Do this by taking a screenshot of the ratings and uploading it along with your other images.

7. Include a Floor Plan

If you have the ability, include a floor plan in your Airbnb listing photo gallery. This can be a highly beneficial tool for guests to have a better understanding of your home. Sites like Floorplanner and Roomsketcher include many user-friendly options to draft a simple floor plan for your Airbnb.

Selecting a Good Cover Photo

Now that you have a full catalog, it’s time to choose the most important picture: the hero image. This term is taken from general marketing and refers to the image that sits at the top of a website — in this case, your listing on a booking platform.

As we said, images are the first glimpse of your property. This “glimpse” is extremely important, as studies have shown that we have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression. Basically, 50 milliseconds is how long it takes to form an opinion, and just to put that in perspective, it takes on average 100-400 milliseconds for a human to blink.

With this information, it’s only fair to take the time to evaluate your new photographs to truly choose the best one for your listing. When you have such a small window of opportunity to make an impression, it better be the best one. So, what does this “best” photograph entail?

Firstly, this image should accurately represent where the guest will be staying. Overselling can also backfire when a guest’s stay doesn’t meet their expectations, which will be set by this initial snapshot. The image must be visually appealing, but most importantly, this image should be one that engages, persuades, and moves guests to book with you.

The importance of this one image may seem overwhelming, but the good thing is that you can change it as you please over time. We actually encourage this as your home may have different selling points throughout the year. This means that the garden may be a focal point for summer but a cozy living room may seal the deal during winter.

Frequently Asked Questions About Airbnb Photography

How many pictures should you take?

Airbnb allows up to 100 pictures to be published to your listing. However, it is unlikely that guests will need this many images. Instead, aim to include 20-30 photos of your listing, focusing on quality versus quantity.

Make sure to have a few pictures of each room, capturing different angles and views. Do not repeat images as they will be repetitive and invaluable. Airbnb recommends that you not only take pictures of the inside of your home but of your backyard and neighborhood as well.

If there are any popular destinations around, feel free to include images of them. It is important for potential guests to know what the area has to offer.

Do you need an expensive camera?

Short answer: no. However, Airbnb recommends that photos uploaded onto their site should have a minimum resolution of 1024 by 638 pixels. Taking images with a higher resolution may not be easy to do on your smartphone’s camera.

Additionally, it is best to stick to a 3:2 width to length aspect ratio for Airbnb photography.

airbnb photography

When is the best time to take your photos?

It is ideal to take your images in the daytime while it’s sunny outside. Avoid taking images at night as it can create a dark and less lively atmosphere. Additionally, turn on all lights in your home to brighten the space.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

The travel experience begins when searching for a place to stay. The reason why images are so important is that they are a visual representation of what the guest can expect.

When sitting at home browsing for their next stay, photos allow guests to envision themselves already there cooking in the kitchen, lounging on the sofa, or maybe playing by the pool.

Overall, attention and detail should be put into taking and selecting photos for your Airbnb. However, it doesn’t have to be complicated. By following these simple yet helpful tips, you can create beautiful Airbnb listing photos.