If you can, hire a professional. It may cost a couple of hundred dollars, but you’re very likely to be rewarded over time by a higher booking rate. A professional photographer will know exactly how to shoot images of your home, as they’ll be aware what the most flattering angle and lighting are to make your property look like someone’s dream ‘home from home’ vacation rental. Ask the photographer to take several professional photographs of the house and its individual rooms, so you can choose the best pictures yourself. You can also ask the photographer for their professional opinion as to which photos showcase the rental in the best way.
Image quality is everything with vacation rental listings. Make sure the pictures are crystal clear and taken in daylight — avoid night-time shots at all costs. Daylight is the most flattering lighting for photographs, and the best time to take photos is in the early hours of the morning, from 7 am – 9 am, or in the evening, from 5 pm – 6 pm, when the sun is low in the sky and there will be fewer shadows in the pictures. High-quality images make a big difference, try to get photos in JPEG format and at around 640 x 480 pixels, which is a good size to upload to vacation rental platforms. You can also turn on the lights during daylight for an extra bright photo.
The More Photos, The Better
The more photos you have of your vacation rental, the more enticing it looks to a potential guest. Be sure to take photos of the living room, kitchen, hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Clean and tidy bathrooms are especially important. Upload between one and three photos of each room. Don’t upload over five photos of one room, as the potential guest may get bored flicking through similar photos.
Take Your Own Photos
If you don’t have the spare cash to hire a professional photographer, or feel you have a good hand at photography yourself, think carefully about how you take the photos. It’s better to use a proper camera than a phone camera unless you have one of the latest cell phones with excellent camera specifications. If you can’t buy a new camera, renting a good DSLR is relatively cheap.
Take photos from a wide angle and use horizontal photos if you can, which can make a room look spacious. Stand in the doorway or the corner of a room, and try to get as much of the room in the photo as possible. Where possible, add extra details, such as flowers or add some candles to make the property look extra alluring.
Use a tripod to make your photos look more professional. They are inexpensive and can make a big difference to the outcome of your photos as they stop a shaky hand. Also try to take some photos from a lower angle as this can be more flattering.
Use the basic photography rules, known as “The Rule of Thirds”. This is where the focal point of the photo should be in the middle of two equally-spaced vertical and horizontal lines. For example, if you’re trying to show off your sleek sofa, focus the sofa in the middle of the photo, which is equidistant from the end horizontal ends of the photo. Make sure your camera is positioned vertically, so the horizontal and vertical lines look straight.
Focus on the Property’s Unique Selling Points
If your vacation rental has a pool, be sure to focus on images of the pool and the deck chairs, so potential guests can really imagine themselves there relaxing. Swimming pools are one of the most enticing features of home rentals.
Guests love gardens, pools, barbeques, and balconies. Be sure to include photos of outdoor areas and the outside view. If your property is particularly aesthetic from outdoors, take a photo of the whole outside of the house too.
Focus on special details of your property, such as the cozy sofa, the historic fireplace, the breakfast bar, a wide hallway, or a jacuzzi-bath. These are the things potential guests love to see.
Upload the photos to the vacation rental platform and write enticing descriptions about the photos. For example, ‘Photo 12 – The outdoor porch with cozy chairs and a barbeque that you can use. Amazing views at sunset.’
Browse the top vacation rental sites and see how other homeowners or property managers are showcasing their homes. Through research, you might be able to come up with some inspiration for how to show-off your property and make it stand out.
Make sure your property is decluttered. A few stylish trinkets and candles are nice, but anything more and the property looks messy and less appealing.
Make sure the blinds are completely up and the curtains are pulled and straight in the photos. This makes the photos of the listing look more professional.
Add a Splash of Color
A splash of color to a neutral-tone room is a great idea. For example, a bowl of lemons in the kitchen, a bright cushion in the bedroom, some roses in the hall, these all make a big difference to photos of home rentals.
Don’t Be Misleading
While it’s OK and expected to take photos from a doorway, which makes a room look more spacious, don’t mislead potential guests. Don’t use a fisheye lens, which makes rooms look much bigger, filters, or edit the photos in photoshop. If you do, you might end up with bad reviews. If you’re listing your rental on a site such as Craigslist, be aware of fraudulent and misleading listings and make sure you can showcase your property in a way that potential guests know they can trust you.