Pictures are your prospective guest’s first impression…that means they are pretty important.
It’s a fact that doesn’t need data, listings with better photos get booked more often.
So take time when planning them out. Pictures also help with your Click Thru Rate (CTR) on the search page.
A poor picture means people will just scroll past you.
After you select a photographer, either with Airbnb or privately, here are some tips for getting the most from your pictures.
I am not going to discuss the technical photography side, I’ll let the photographers deal with all that stuff.
Who do you want to rent to?
This is your target audience.
Are you trying to attract couples? Or families with young children? Or business people?
Each will be looking for different things in the picture.
Business people want to SEE desks, printers, comfy beds for relaxing after work.
Families want to SEE lots of space for unpacking, kitchen for meals, etc…
What functional needs do prospective guests have?
- Couples – Comfy bed, couches to lounge on, dining area
- Families – Space for lots of luggage, place to cook or eat meal
- Business People – Wi-Fi, extra computer monitor with cables, quick meal/coffee/tea
- Groups – Luggage space, proximity to mass transit
What emotional benefits do guests desire?
Emotional benefits are feelings that arise within the guest as they are in your rental unit.
You mostly hear it as, “a sense of _____”; Example: a sense of adventure.
Below are examples of emotional benefits that some guest types will look for and how you can inspire these feelings in your Airbnb images.
- Feeling Luxurious: complimentary champagne and flutes on table, big pillows on nice bed
- Sense of Security: gates/locked doors, show neighborhood children playing in front of unit
- Business People
- Feeling Rewarded: premium amenities, premium view
- Sense of Excitement: nightlife shots, highlight large congregation areas
What is your positioning?
You have a TV, what brand is it? Is it flat screen or tube?
Either TV type will promote different ideas about your place, flat-screens will give your place a premium halo effect.
Halo effect is when an initial impression can answer subconscious questions or create assumptions.
Promote things in your place that will create a positive halo effect.
Learn more about positioning your Airbnb unit here →
What are your built-in equities?
These are parts of your property (interior and exterior) you can highlight that NO other place can offer.
Do you have beautiful gardens, a mountainside view or a really interesting outdoor patio setup with a jacuzzi?
Show them off and get credit for it from prospective guests.
What does your rental REALLY look like?
What will your place look like EVERY time a new guest walks in the door? Be truthful!
If you don’t offer certain things or you will be removing certain items from the pictures to ‘keep safe’, then don’t show them!
Most people will visually remember what they see as compared to what was printed in the listing.
Most guests will be optimistic in hopes that you have some integrity to not misrepresent your place.
Remember: You don’t have to be the nicest place on the block…you just need to be truthful about what you can offer.
Keep it simple
Pictures can be worth a thousand or even a million words…ain’t nobody got time for that!
Don’t jam pack your pictures full of amenities.
Instead, take multiple shot angles of a big room or highlight parts of your entertainment area, not every component.
You are allowed to upload many pictures. I would suggest using at least 15.
Do your Airbnb photos suck? Find out how to fix your photos →
Communicate with your photographer
The photographer has probably never been to your house, so give them all the information they need so that they can bring the right equipment.
If you cannot do a pre-shoot meeting, I recommend taking maybe 20-30 images on your smartphone and sending them over to the photographer.
Some photographers travel light and may not bring all of their equipment. The pictures you send will help them decide which lights, lenses and other equipment to bring.
Leave nothing to chance, make sure they understand what they are coming to make look beautiful!
Also, be sure to agree on the number of final shots you want and whether or not they will be touched up and edited for you.
Again…try to get at least 15 final shots, but more is better. You can always rotate them and test which images are more enticing.
Also, if you are looking to shoot the photos yourself, I suggest checking out a camera like the Canon EOS-6D. Buying your own professional DLSR camera is a smart idea because as your Airbnb changes and you make updates to things like furniture and fixtures, you can quickly snap a few new pictures and get them up fast. Lastly, buying your own camera is a smart idea if you plan to grow to multiple units because you can take pictures as you need them during your growth cycle.
Airbnb offers free professional photography, you just need to check if your location is covered. You need to prove to Airbnb that you are serious about hosting. This service is usually only offered to hosts who have a few confirmed bookings, and need a listing upgrade.
Getting these Airbnb verified photos will help improve your listing strength and likely bump you up the search algorithm since Airbnb can confirm your space looks exactly like the photos that are presented.
Got more tips on how to take great photos? Share them in the comments below!
As an Airbnb Plus photographer for a year now, I’d like to add some things.
Airbnb looks for a clean, consistent, white/light look, which doesn’t simply means tidy and clean.
Although I’ve seen the requirements change slightly over the year, consistency is the driving force when taking pictures. That means, shots taken perpendicular to walls (where diagonal shots are mostly secondary) as to not make a room look bigger (and cheat, it’s all about truthfulness), minimal artificial light (and color casts, they tend to bleach shots a lot), shots taken from the same height throughout, open blinds/windows. This makes the Airbnb website look consistent and professional, both on desktop and on mobile. Also add details (in portrait/vertical) that set your listing apart. That could be design furniture, local art, fancy kitchen appliances (like espresso machine), a vinyl record player (and records), …