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How To Take Amazing Airbnb Photos To Get More Bookings

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned as the owner of two vacation rental properties, it’s that the quality of your listing pictures really matter! The photos on your Airbnb listing are the first impression to anyone searching for a place to stay. That’s why each photo needs to stand out. In this post, we are sharing how to take the best Airbnb photos and get potential guests to book your place quicker.

By following our personal tips in this post and advice from professional photographers, you will be sure to boost your occupancy rate by getting more bookings. Beautiful photos and a pretty space = more $$$.


What Are Airbnb Listing Photos?

Airbnb listing photos are a way to showcase your property to potential guests. The goal is to get as many people as possible to click on your listing. That’s why the photos are crucial.

High-quality photos with good lighting vs dark and blurry photos will make the difference between getting a booking or not!

If you have ever booked a place on Airbnb for yourself (I know I have!), you are really not inclined to click on a property that looks BLAH in the cover photo.


How To Take Amazing Airbnb Photos And Get More Bookings Instantly

Now, let’s dive in to everything to keep in mind when taking your Airbnb photos…

How To Make Your Airbnb Photos Stand Out

1: Stage and prepare your space

The first thing you should do before even taking any photos is to make sure your property is ready. This means that the furnishing and staging phase is done, everything has been deep cleaned, the beds are all made as if real life guests were coming tomorrow, the towels and other supplies are all in place, and anything else you would normally do when guests are coming.

One additional thing you can add to get the perfect photos is to set the table or kitchen island with dishes and glasses. It lets guests know that you’ve got them covered with the essentials to cook a meal!

Here is a great example photo from this Airbnb listing in Folley Beach, South Carolina. Their kitchen island has place mats, dinner wear, and wine glasses all set up for guests!

Airbnb kitchen staged for photos

2: Choose the time of day with the best lighting

The best time of day is when the light is coming through the windows so your photos are not dull and dark. Depending on which way your property faces, this could be at golden hour or early in the morning.

You can and should add in some artificial light to brighten the photos up even more.

3: Get photos of each unique amenity and every space your property offers

This sounds like a no brainer but some people can forget to show everything, including a close up of the little details or a focal point of the living room.

If your listing description says something like ‘game room’, make sure to highlight the game room in one of your first photos.

4: Edit and crop each photo you’ll use on your Airbnb listing

Use a free tool like Canva to edit your photos. Canva can also help you make sure the aspect ratio of every picture is the same. You can also change things like brightness and contrast. Sometimes even a bright space will come out dark in photos and needs to be edited a little bit.

If you’re not familiar with Canva, it is one of the best Airbnb host tools that I recommend using for things like listing photos and social media.

5: Add the photos to your listing in the correct order

Airbnb listing photos should be in a logical order. Think about the spaces that guests will use the most and make sure those are first. More often than not, if someone is searching for a vacation rental to book and they don’t immediately see something that catches their eye, they will move onto the next listing.

6: Set a cover image that will make people click on your listing to see more

The cover photo is the first thing guests will see in their search. If they don’t like what they see right off the bat, they will scroll onto the next listings.

Set your cover image to be the best space or amenity you are offering!

airbnb design category search results

What Spaces Should You Photograph

It’s important that you get great photos of every usable room (inside and outside) of your property. If there is a room or space that guests won’t have access to, there’s no need to include photos of that.

As a baseline, here is a starting list of areas you should include in your photo shoot:

  • Living room
  • Master bedroom
  • Master bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Dining room
  • Coffee station
    • If you provide things like sugar, tea, creamers, make sure to show these practical coffee bar items so guests know they will be there
  • Office space
  • Additional bedrooms
  • All other bathrooms
  • Outdoor area
  • Pool
  • Front porch
  • Exterior of the house
  • Closet space in each room that has one
  • Close ups of things supplies like towels, bedding, dressers, etc.

Professional Airbnb Photography Tips: Dos & Don’ts

We’ve gathered some input from professional photographers on how they personally shoot an Airbnb listing. I love hearing all of the different opinions and advice from people who do this for a living! It really helps, especially if you’re thinking about taking your own photos.

How To Take Amazing Airbnb Photos And Get More Bookings

The best way to approach professionally photographing an Airbnb is to focus more on the feeling and details of the space rather than simply what the property looks like. While it’s definitely important to accurately show off the space (photos of the living areas, kitchen, bedrooms, etc.) it’s equally as important to show what sets this Airbnb apart from the others.

In my experience, I like to capture small detailed photos that I normally wouldn’t if I was photographing a house for sale. This can be things like a coffee maker, beautiful lighting fixtures, an especially comfy looking chair, or anything that can be considered instagramable for lack of a better word.

The more high quality photos of the Airbnb, the more views it will get. It’s also very important to have one jaw-dropping main image. This is the most important image since it will be used as the cover for your Airbnb and is the one that every viewer will see first. This is the image that will draw people’s attention. The following high quality images will be the ones that convince them to book a stay.

When it comes to taking professional photos of an Airbnb vacation rental, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it is important to choose a time of day when the light is good. This will ensure that the photos are well-lit and show off the rental property in its best light.

Second, it is important to take a variety of pictures, including close-ups and wide shots. This will give potential guests a good sense of the property and what it has to offer.

Finally, it is important to edit the photos before posting them online. This will ensure that they are looking their best and will attract attention from potential guests.

Light and bright small kitchen with wood bar stools

This might seem obvious, but many places tend to forget this simple step.

It is very important to show clean, uncluttered spaces from what we see on well-performing listings.

People don’t want to feel like they are living in someone else’s space – If you have your personal belongings everywhere it, makes it feel more intrusive for their holiday rather than relaxing.

My best advice for people who are wanting their Airbnb listings to get noticed more is to take pictures that shoot a corner of the room. This angle and technique always makes a room look bigger and more inviting. It accentuates the space available to potential guests and often corner’s of room’s will be where key features come together, such as sofas and other furniture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the cover photo on your Airbnb listing really the most important?

Yes! This is the first impression of your space. The Airbnb cover photo that you choose should show the best space or feature of your property.

You can select any of your listing photos to be the cover, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the first photo. Each subsequent image after the cover photo should highlight every space.


Do you need to take drone photos of the property?

It’s not necessary for an Airbnb listing. This is common for real estate photos when a property is for sale. For a vacation rental property, the guest does not necessarily need to have an aerial concept of the property lines.


Is it required to hire a professional photographer for Airbnb listing photos?

It is not required but is encouraged by Airbnb. Professional listing photos will really help your property stand out to potential guests and they will be more likely to click on your listing. Airbnb suggests top notch photo for this very reason.

Airbnb even offers a local professional photography service in most major areas. Check out their article here on how to set this up.

If you can’t find someone through the Airbnb service, you can definitely Google ‘Airbnb photographer near me’ and look through the search results. You want to make sure they have experience with real estate and short term rentals.


Can I use my iPhone for my listing photos?

You can definitely use your iPhone to capture your listing photos. I’m sure many Airbnb hosts do!

Keep in mind that the quality may not be as good as a professional that specializes in real estate photography. That being said, iPhone photos are a great option to supplement or use at least to get started.


What is the best size for Airbnb photos?

According to this Airbnb help center article, the recommended photo size is a minimum of 1024px x 683px. For a higher quality photo, use a higher pixel count of 2000px by 1330px.

It’s best to keep your photos in landscape format and have them all be the same size for consistency. Vertical photos can be used but they don’t show up as good in the Airbnb platform search engine.

If you have photos that are all different sizes, you can use a free tool like Canva to format, resize, and edit your Airbnb photos.


What is the magic number of photos to include?

There is no set answer for this one. It is dependent on your specific property, how many bedrooms there are, if there’s a backyard or not, if you offer special amenities, etc.

I would include at least 2 photos of each space in your rental property. One to highlight the entire space and one or more to highlight the little details like makeup towels in a bathroom or high end coffee maker and the coffee bar.


Recap

At the end of the day, you want your Airbnb pictures to really stand out. Make sure to take high quality photos from different angles in every space of your property. The best photos should be at the beginning of your listing to draw the attention of prospective guests!

Have fun with it, update your listing photos often, and highlight unique features.

Melissa Signature Your Airbnb Superhost