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How to take killer photos to increase bookings for your rental property

You’ve heard a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well, in the Airbnb and short-term rental business, a picture can be worth a thousand bookings.

For guests scrolling through hundreds of listings, the quality of your photographs can mean the difference between clicking to learn more, or moving right along to the next property. Your photos will shape people’s first impressions of your rental so if you want more bookings – and we’re pretty sure you do – then you’ve got to make them as eye-catching as possible.

Since not all property managers own fancy cameras or want to splurge on a professional real estate photographer, there are some simple steps you can take to bring out your inner shutterbug. We sat down with professional photographer Sharoni Galeano to get some tips on capturing the very best of your property.

6 Practical Tips From a Professional Product Photographer

Let the Sun Shine

Natural light is your friend. The most important thing you can do to get stellar photos is to schedule the shoot for daylight hours. Open the shutters and the doors so that the room gets as much sunlight as possible.

As Galeano explains, when you take photos at night or in the dark, the camera tries to compensate for the lack of light by adjusting its settings, which will ultimately land you with a highly pixelated image. So carve out time during the day and capture your rentals when the sun is high in the sky.

For maximum effect, apartment pictures should always be taken during the day

For maximum effect, apartment pictures should always be taken during the day

Give Yourself Options

Everyone’s got a “good side,” right? Well, properties do too! To increase your chances of getting a shot that’ll stop potential guests in their tracks, take lots of photos from lots of angles.

“Any subject I photograph, whether it’s a watch or a sleeping baby, gets hundreds of camera clicks. Even if it feels like I’m taking the same photo 30 times, I know that I’m just giving myself more to choose from at the end of the day and every slight angle change makes a difference. You never know when an unexpected cloud or shadow will interfere with your shot.”

Hug Your Corners

It’s hard to take a great picture of an object, it’s even harder to get a great picture of a space, especially when you’re standing inside of it. To capture a room as accurately as possible, avoid standing flat against the wall, which can often make it appear distorted and smaller than it actually is. Instead, take the shot from a corner, where you can get the best perspective.

Professional Real Estate Photography

Put Away Your Phone

Phone cameras are great for selfies and Instagram stories, but if you want to get professional looking property photographs, better to stick with an actual camera, even if it isn’t the greatest model. Airbnb’s help center recommends using landscape photos that are a minimum of 1024 x 683 pixels.

Dress It Up

Regardless of how sharp your images are, no one is going to be impressed with them if they depict cluttered, untidy rooms. Before you start shooting, do a thorough sweep of the place. Even the tiniest detail of a photograph can draw someone’s attention and poke a hole in their impression, so be sure to center your vases, straighten your rugs, and fluff your pillows. Beyond that, you’re going to want to set up the space the same way you would were you actually expecting guests.

When I’m taking product photos, I don’t simply photograph the item. I stage a scene that gives it context and captures it in use.

So instead of snapping shots of an empty patio, set the table for four and pop open the grill. Got a fireplace in the living room? Light it up. Tell your guests, without a single word, that this is a place they can relax and feel comfortable.

Professional Real Estate Photography Tips

When it comes to professional real estate photography, a little tidying up can make a world of difference

Be Honest

If you’re lucky, these aren’t photos of something people will never see. Your goal is to use these pictures to encourage travelers to book your listings, so manipulation of any kind is going to backfire.

Make the property look as inviting as it possibly can, but don’t go out of your way to exaggerate its assets or hide away its flaws. Your audience isn’t looking to buy real estate, they’re just searching for a nice place to spend a couple of nights. And if they see something in your rental that is inconsistent with what they saw in your Airbnb photos, you may end up reading about it in a less-than-flattering review.

Get Creative

Sure, you want to take photos that will give potential guests an idea of how your place looks, but your listing’s photos are more than just a helpful preview of your property. You should look at them as little advertisements, which means some flair is encouraged.

Aside from posting pics of the actual accommodation, add a few of the art on your walls or some unique statement pieces. Also valuable are photos of neighborhood attractions, from inviting nature scenes to popular bars and pubs. Your guests are seeking more than a roof over their heads; they’re looking for an experience, so take photos that reflect that that’s exactly what you’re offering.

Professional Real Estate Photography

It doesn’t matter if your listing is a 64th-story New York City penthouse or a modest countryside cottage in the south of France. Your short term rental property can appeal to just about anyone if you show it off through the right lens.

About the Photographer

Sharoni Galeano

After attending culinary school, Sharoni Galeano started sharing photos and blogs featuring her edible creations. It wasn’t long before she realized she found even more joy behind a camera than she did over a stove top. Since then, Sharoni has been taking photos of anything and everything. Though staging scenes is part of the job, her specialty (and passion) is capturing the natural and authentic moments that happen between poses.

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