You only have one chance to make a good impression before someone will move on to the next listing. The photos of your space make up a huge part of it. Listings with great photos have significantly higher traffic, which leads to higher bookings.
Capture Your Space Honestly
If your photos do not reflect what the space will be like when guests arrive, you will get negative marks for accuracy in your listing. Don’t set false expectations, which lead to disappointment and bad reviews. This includes taking photos of items or areas guests are not allowed to use or enjoy. A bad review affects your listing’s score for an entire year, and the words of the review stay on your profile permanently. They will eventually be buried under new reviews, but in the beginning, a negative review makes getting more bookings difficult.
Capture everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Don’t try to hide the flaws.
Capture Your Space at its Best
Straighten everything up and get a start on minimalism in your home. You’ll want to clean everything well, so that your space looks welcoming and comfortable. Dust, wipe down the tables, vacuum, wash the floors, make the beds, fluff the pillows, and really spiff things up. Clean the kitchen counters and puteverything away. You might want to put fresh flowers on the table, a fresh bowl of fruit on the counter, or a colorful throw pillow on the couch or bed. Scrub the bathroom, hang clean towels, fill up the toilet paper roll, and put the toilet seat down. Really focus on the small details, since this is your chance to make a good first impression.
Since the focus on the listing is the guest experience, consider putting some noticeable details into your photos. Little details can help make your space look more comfortable and inviting. Set the table to show off your well-stocked kitchen. A travel book and a mug on the end table with a throw blanket on the chair can help a guest picture themselves reading comfortably in the evening. However, be strategic to ensure it doesn’t look like clutter, and don’t include extra items for the sake of adding extra items. Less is more.
If you have a good camera, now is the time to bring it out. However, if you don’t, then a good cell phone camera will suffice. Remember that many will view your listing through the Airbnb app on a phone. Make sure you have the camera focused on the subject when you take the photos. You can actually upload photos directly from your phone to the site through the app.
Another option is using Airbnb’s professional photography if it’s available in your area. You still have to upload your own photos to your listing first, as Airbnb requires you have a few bookings lined up before they will send someone out. Then the photographer will come to your home and take new photos for you.
Amp Up the Lighting
Good light will give you the best pictures, regardless of the camera you use. Shoot during the day so you can take advantage of the natural daylight. Open up the blinds to let in as much light as possible. Turn on overhead lights to help brighten the space. More light means the colors will look more natural, and your pictures will look more professional because there will be more contrast. Photos look more natural when you don’t use flash.
Focus on Selling Points
Generally, there are two groups of people use Airbnb. Cater to both through your photos.
The first group wants the best space possible for the cheapest price possible. For people who want the best value, they want to see lots of space and amenities. A killer entertainment system? On-site laundry machine? A pool, deck, or large yard? Photograph all of it.
The second group wants a space that’s unique. Focus on photos of what makes your space special. Does it have an amazing view? A vegetable garden? A hammock next to the pool? Details like art or a fish tank will also speak to this group.
Additionally, people love being within walking distance of restaurants, stores, beaches, parks, and local attractions. Feel free to include some photos at the end.
You want the space to look as large and dynamic as possible. Stand in the corner against the wall and take a photo looking out, which will make the space look bigger and give it more depth. You could take the photo from the doorway as well. Look at all the edges of your photos as you are taking the picture, to make sure there isn’t anything that shouldn’t be in the photo. This helps maximize your negative space, the empty area to help balance out the photo.
Walk forward with the camera instead of zooming when you are focused on the details. The rule of threes (odd numbers are more visually pleasing) and the rule of thirds (putting the focus a third from the left/right or a third from the top/bottom) will also help with your compositions.
Finally, Carefully Arrange
The featured photo in your listing should be the biggest seller. If you have any other major selling features, include those photos next. (Max of 4 to begin with.) Then aim for one to two good photos of each room. Don’t overwhelm customers with 5 photos of the same couch. Include at least one photo of every sleeping space and every bathroom. If there’s a futon or pull-out sofa, show a photo with it set up. Then include some outdoor or neighborhood photos.
Some other creative photos to include are floorplans, a wifi speed test, or a local map. Just don’t mark your own home!