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Given that so many travelers are booking their accommodation online, the images you upload showcase your property and are a reflection of the service you offer.

Good quality photos are as equally important as the listing description and are make or break booking opportunities. The photos you upload of your property and its surrounding area are the most basic element that helps persuade guests your home is right for them. That’s why it’s essential you have high-quality and professional vacation rental photos.

We always recommend hiring a vacation rental photographer to take photos of your vacation rental. Whilst the cost of hiring a professional photographer may be high initially, you will easily cover the investment with the increase in bookings.

In the meantime while you’re searching for a photographer, or want to do them yourself, read the following 8 tips on how to take professional photos of your vacation rental:

1. Clean First

First things first, before taking any pictures, you need to do a deep clean in your property. This includes cleaning all the surfaces, floors, kitchen appliances, placing fresh bedsheets, replacing towels, etc. Everything should be straightened and intact, such a framed paintings and curtains.

For the exterior, remove any fallen leaves or branches from outdoor areas, trim bushes and mow the lawn. Don’t forget to clean any exterior furniture too.

airbnb house cleaning guide

For more detailed instructions on how to clean your vacation rental property, download our vacation rental cleaning checklist.

You need to ensure the photos convey exactly what renters will see as soon as they come in: sparkling clean. Remember that you want to make your potential guests imagine living there, in a spotless environment.

For appliances, furniture or amenities that look broken or out-dated, perhaps now is the time to upgrade your property.

2. Use a High-Resolution Digital Camera

It’s best to use a good quality camera with high definition when taking photos of your property or properties. This will prevent the photos from having low pixels when listing on your vacation rental website or other OTAs.

You can use a tripod to avoid blurry photos and test out the different settings on your camera for the ultimate results.

High-resolution cameras have specific settings that enable you to shoot indoors, as with shutter speed and aperture, you can control the lighting straight away. What’s more, these cameras have optical zooms lenses which are super easy to turn with your hands.

3. Try Different Angles

Guests want to envisage and know exactly where they will be staying, so you need to show your visitors that your home is as good as you say it is. By taking multiple photos in the same room at different angles, you can take full advantage of showcasing everything in your rental.

 how to take professional photos

Have a photoshoot, take a lot of photos from all types of different angles. You can then look back at the select the best ones to portray your business. This way, you’ll save time in retaking them.

If your vacation rental includes a swimming pool, you can take photos of the pool underwater with a GoPro. Professional and high-quality photos will further optimize your vacation rental to the full extent.

4. Use Lighting to Your Advantage

Take advantage of lighting to make your photos look not only professional but also bright. To do this, open the curtains and turn on all the lights. Make sure the lighting is even and consistent throughout the rooms. For best results, take photos during the day time so the natural light will flow in.

If you’ve included fairy lights in one of your rooms, wait till it gets darker, turn off all the lights and take the photo with just the fairy lights on. It will make your rental look charming and magical.

Be careful to avoid reflections from windows and mirrors, and make sure you don’t get included in the photo yourself! Avoid using flash in your camera too, as this will interfere with the natural lighting.

5. Wait for the Perfect Weather

As well as using natural light when taking photos, it’s recommended to wait for the perfect weather to get shooting. If it’s grey, rainy and cloudy, that’s not going to appeal to potential guests. Rather, it’s going to give off a negative image of your property. However, when it’s sunny outside, it will immediately make guests feel the warmth and the vacation feeling.

Good weather also impacts the interior of your property as the sun will highlight and make the rooms naturally brighter. Let the sunlight beam into your property and reflect the perfect sunny atmosphere.

 how to take professional photos

If your rental is in a location where it’s snowy, such as a cabin, use this to your advantage! Wait for snow to pile up outside and go go go! It’s a perfect way to sell that cozy and snowy experience visitors are so longing for.

Don’t forget that guests will see the outside weather through the windows in the photos as well.

6. Take Photos According to Holidays

Boast your property all year round according to the most popular and important holidays. For Christmas, take photos of your charming festive décor – preferably showing cozy sofas with heaps of blankets and a small gift such as a cocoa basket. Don’t forget to include the Christmas tree and snow if you have any!

This will bring you more bookings in the long run, as guests searching in spring will see a photo of Christmas in your vacation rental. They will remember it and come back to book it closer to the time. Use the same technique for Valentine’s Day, 4th July and Thanksgiving accordingly.

vacation rental photographer

Also, take photos according to the seasons. For example, during the fall or winter, think of outdoor images that show fall leaves or a light dusting of snow. In the interior highlight a cozy log fire, spice-scented candles and a selection of board games and books.

For summer, highlight the backyard (in the perfect weather of course) and focus on the natural environment such as plants, flowers, trees. Include the barbecue, outdoor table, chairs, sofas, and any other outdoor amenities.

7. Edit the Photos

Once you’ve got your photos, it’s time to get editing. You don’t need to be a pro in Photoshop or tech-savvy, as you can easily edit photos on your computer without having to pay for Photoshop software.

The best way to start is to adjust the brightness according to the lighting, tone down the shadows and increase the highlights slightly. Play around and see what works for you. You can always just go with auto-enhance which does all the work for you.

Remember to stay consistent with the editing throughout, which means don’t edit a photo completely different from another. Same goes for the saturation, don’t go overboard. All of the factors may result in the photos looking unnatural and also fake.

It’s advised to avoid putting on filters too, as you need to portray the property as natural as possible. It may actually backfire and look like you’re trying to hide something.

8. Display and Highlight Your Key Amenities

Scroll through your current photo gallery, are your vacation rental photos still an accurate representation of your property? If you’ve performed any upgrades, added any amenities or even changed the color scheme of one of your key rooms, it’s time to add the photos to match.

If you include additions such as shower gel, soap, coffee capsules, teas, etc, take a photo and include this in your listing. Let guests know what you’re offering them by visualizing it. Unsure what else to include? Check out 45 must-have amenities for every vacation rental home.

vacation rental photographer

Remember to get rid of the less appealing items such as the trash can and cleaning products.

Show the layout of each room, so guests can see what kind of beds are on offer for example, how much space there is if the staircase has a handrail if the property is gated, etc. You can even try a 180 or 360-degree virtual view of the exterior and interior.

What to Take Away

If you only have a few photos, or your photos don’t portray your vacation rental very well, this can lead to not converting guests. Remember that your vacation rental property relies on your photos. What’s the point of having an amazing property if guests don’t know what it looks like exactly?

Have the maximum amount of pictures possible on your vacation rental website and other listing sites, and ensure that the images are professional and display all amenities included. The more, the better! Don’t forget to update your photos and listing descriptions regularly to reflect these benefits to potential renters.

Photos are one of the most powerful factors that will help you increase your bookings. Most guests aren’t going to visit your home before deciding to book, so the images you display on your website must speak volumes – and be accurate for that matter! With these 8 tips, you now have full control of making your photos look professional.

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