Great vacation rental photography can make all the difference when it comes to attracting guests and receiving bookings.
Your vacation rental photos are one of the first things a potential guest sees and, therefore, the first point of choice between discovering more about your property or discarding it.
Airbnb statistics on photographs
According to Airbnb:
- 60% of listing views start with a guest clicking on a photo.
- 40% of the time when a guest chooses not to book a listing, the last thing they clicked on was a photo.
- Hosts with professional photos have a higher chance of earning up to 20% more than competitors in their vicinity.
- Good photos can drive up to 20% more bookings, as photos are among the top 3 factors affecting bookings.
- Payment is generated from future bookings, and most hosts pay it off in only one night with 75% efficiency.
Simultaneously, good pictures allow viewers to build their own opinion of your property and help build trust about you as a property owner and your vacation home.
If you want to get the most out of your property, using a professional photographer is probably the best choice. However, if you just getting started with your short-term rental business and hesitate to invest yet – you can easily take good photos by yourself by following these guidelines and tips. Here you can find some great examples of vacation rental photography.
Anatomy of the successful Airbnb listing photo assets
Airbnb’s recommendation is to have at least 20 photographs for each listing (don’t worry, with Your.Rentals you can start on Airbnb with just 10 images). As we attempt to classify these pictures by their purpose, here are several objectives in focus:
- thumbnail or main photo
- amenity image
- variations of the first two
Thumbnail images are what users see during their search on Airbnb without opening your listing page. Therefore provide the property’s ‘benefits’ upfront. Amenity image may not be as vibrant and colourful, but it is supposed to advertise one or more of your experiences, like bikes or a sun-facing balcony. The rest of the images serve to provide a better understanding of the different rooms, as they showcase them from multiple perspectives.
Have several main photographs
Note that the Airbnb search page listing includes a gallery of 4-5 images versus the Booking.com search page where only one photo is shown at a time. This means that for Airbnb you can have a more flexible image strategy, and spread your selling points across multiple images.
Nowadays, the major OTAs are encouraging hosts to optimize their conversion rates by auto-replacement of thumbnail images – with permission of course. To ensure you’re making the most out of this opportunity include a variety of suitable thumbnail-type photos.
Be in the niche
Airbnb, VRBO and Booking.com provide travellers with a myriad of filters to streamline their experience. For a host, this means niching down with a particular type of property: cabins, mansions, ski resorts, etc.
Not only should the title of your listing be tailored to each niche, but thumbnail images must feature unique characteristics or amenities that will captivate viewers who are seeking a particular kind of holiday.
For example, when a guest is searching for a cabin in Denmark, the best thumbnail image to display would be an exterior photo of the cabin surrounded by lush greenery or a lake – something that could add more value to their stay. And, of course, the clear blue sky to ensure ideal weather conditions.
Be in the context
If you try to browse Airbnb as a guest you might notice many perfectly shot but very similar listings. To address this problem, stand out even more. Experiment.
If you are an agricultural tourism property in Italy make a photo with animals as one of your thumb images. Humans are naturally drawn to anything that is alive.
1. Be mindful of the lighting
One of the most common vacation rental photography mistakes is inadequate lighting. Having the right lighting is one of the most important aspects of a good picture. Good lighting will make your photos appear more professional, so make sure to:
- Be careful with the white balance
- Take the photos during the day, open all blinds and curtains so that you’re able to take advantage of natural light
- Avoid (if possible) using the flash so you may get more of a natural effect
- Be careful not to let direct sunlight affect your photos
- Get creative with fairy lights and different light sources
- Use a tripod, especially if taking pictures at sunrise/sunset or in poorer light conditions.
2. Use high resolution cameras and a wide angle lens
A wide-angle lens is the best option to guarantee a good end result of your vacation rental photography. Wide-angle photographs show more detail and can make rooms appear larger and more appealing to guests.
iPhone tip. On the iPhone you can set the wide lens by clicking on the 0.5x button in the Photo mode.
Wide lens setting on the iPhone (photo by 9to5mac.com)
This type of lens can be purchased either on the internet or in specialised shops. Nowadays, even smartphones have very high-quality cameras allowing you to take great pictures.
A lot of smartphones now have a wide-angle camera integrated – just make sure that your smartphone has a high resolution and quality! High resolution pictures will go a long way towards showing your professionality, as Your.Rentals knows very well.
3. Try different angles
The whole point of vacation rental photography is that potential guests can picture themselves in your property (and enjoying their vacation!). Therefore, you should get some pictures from the point of view of someone entering the room so that your potential guests may get a feel of the place. At the same time, you should try to take some photos of the same interior from different angles, giving them a complete overview of the room.
There’s no need to go overboard – no one wants to see a close up of every kitchen cupboard! What you do want to do is help your guests imagine themselves in each room of your property – and the best way to do that is to give them an accurate impression of what it looks like all around.
4. Be mindful of what emerges in the camera’s frame
The photos of your vacation home are your guests’ first clue as to what you’ll be like as a host, so you want to make sure they give a good impression of your property and of you as a property manager. Regardless of whether you’re a property manager or an owner renting a spare room, you want to make sure you look as professional as possible.
- Open all curtains and let the daylight in, turn off lamps.
- Avoid reflections caused by the flash (windows, TVs and mirrors).
- Clean all the surfaces and windows so that it looks spotless and in order.
- Remove family portraits and personal belongings.
- Add lifestyle details, for example try to set the dinner table to look inviting.
- Make sure that the bed covers are straightened and clean.
- Avoid things that are unappealing or distracting to the eyes, such as cleaning products, rubbish bins, keys or papers.
- In the bathroom make sure the toilet seat is down!
5. Take photos of the exterior of the property
Having a photo of the front of your holiday home will help your guests locate it when they’re checking in. If the property has a garden, terrace or a balcony make sure to include the entire space to which your guests will have access.
- Remove cars, hoses, toys, dead flowers, etc. from the entrance (do not remove intentionally placed bright objects).
- Trim the bushes and clear fallen branches.
- Open umbrellas, set up backyard tables, chairs.
- Open window shutters, windows and the front door.
- Remove the pool covers and electrify the pool.
6. Keep your vacation rental photos updated
Your photos should always show the property as guests would expect to find it. This is why the photos of your holiday home should be updated every two years to make sure they are still current.
If your vacation home photographs are of high quality, you might not need to update them that often, but you still need to think about the seasonal changes to the images.
Your.Rentals knows how important photos are – that’s why with us you can easily upload high quality photos and publish them on multiple vacation rentals websites. With Your.Rentals you can easily import or create a listing, publish it on the sales channels and manage your business all in one place. You just need one Your.Rentals account.
Now that you know the basics of vacation rental photography, it’s time to focus a little on the details of your great photos. It’s the small details that make the difference, and this is no less true in photography. Therefore, let’s look at some tips and tricks that will make your photos stand out!
18 inspirational tips and tricks to make your photography stand out!
Remember the tree pillars of the great vacation rentals photography:
- Bright and colorful spots
- Rental-specific photography (vs home for sale)
- Holiday associations
Do your photos transmit the idea of “vacation rental” and “holiday home” when you look at them? Do they make your potential guests dream about booking a stay with you?
The whole idea of great vacation rental photography is that your potential guests will be able to imagine themselves staying at your property thanks to the mood and feelings evoked by your photos.
Study your target guests and find out what those who are looking for properties like yours look for or dream about?
It could be a particular product, a mood or feeling, a scene that makes viewers jump into the picture or decide that your vacation home is the right one for them. You can find out more about the different types of guests in this article.
Here are some tips and tricks to catch your potential guests’ attention and get more clicks thanks to your vacation rental photography:
1. Bright and clear colors
Photos with bright and clear colours stand out over photos with opaque and dark colours. This is related to how the brain processes visual information and subliminally highlights those elements that are brighter.
Therefore, you should make sure to have some vivid elements in your photos, but also to have a well-lit scene and to balance correctly the exposure of your pictures.
2. Blue skies in your photos
A nice and sunny day will inspire people to travel and will make it easier for them to imagine themselves enjoying the holiday home. This relates to how the brain processes and prefers bright and cheerful colors. So, choose the best weather and time of day and you’ll get stunning photos with less effort.
3. Create water motion in the pool
This little trick will make the image look more alive and the pool more tempting. After all, who doesn’t think of summer and fun when seeing the shimmering water in a pool? A bit of motion in the water will allow the viewer to imagine themselves in the scene, enjoying the water. Therefore, before taking the picture, shake your hand in the water and create that wavy and shimmering effect.
4. Open doors and windows
Open doors and windows will transmit a welcome message and will bring a sense of invitation and life to the house. It is easier to imagine stepping inside the vacation rental if the doors and windows are open.
5. Flowers in your outdoor images
Framing your images with flowers in the foreground will guide the viewer’s eyes towards the main image. At the same time, flowers easily add color and brightness to the pictures.
6. Cut flowers to decorate vases, beds or pillows
Flowers easily add a pop of colour to your scene. They also give an idea of freshness and beauty as our mind associates flowers with these feelings. Using flowers to decorate the scene will help the viewer concentrate on this symbol that communicates “happiness”.
7. Bottles of suntan lotion in your photos
Tanning lotions shout out feelings of “holidays” and “sun”, therefore you should think about adding them to your scene. And as a plus, if the bottles are orange in color, the effect on the minds of viewers will be even better!
8. Beverages on the tables
Bottles of sodas, wine, gin, half full glasses of fancy beverages invite the potential guest to relax and enjoy the holiday. You do not need to use real alcohol in the glasses; you can always fill the glasses with water (as gin) or with more economical wine, while just placing the more expensive bottle of wine on the table.
9. Orange juice glasses or pitchers
Orange juice, thanks to its tone and its symbolic representation of freshness, catches the eye and gives life to your vacation rental photography. Orange juice pitchers, bottles or glasses can be used in various settings (ie. in the dining room, in the living room, on the breakfast table, next to the swimming pool, etc).
10. Colorful fruits
Just like orange juice, fruit yields a lot of colour to the scene and subliminally attracts the eye to the image. You can use apples, grapes, oranges, pineapples, or watermelon, although any fruit will help you achieve that idea of freshness.
11. Toiletries and accessories vibrant in colour
For example, a couple brightly coloured pillows on the couch or one or two colorful towels in the bathroom can help you attract the potential guest’s sight and generate interest and clicks.
12. Paint a wall in your holiday home
Painting a coloured wall in a room is inexpensive and has a high impact towards getting more clicks. It gives warmth and creates an atmosphere in the scene. Wondering which color would fit well? Find out more about an app that lets you virtually test a color in your home here.
13. Add hammocks to your scene
Hammocks are an element that reflects happiness and longing for relaxation. Your potential guests will imagine themselves lounging on one of those during their holiday stay in your vacation rental.
14. Portray meals on your terrace/balcony/outdoors
People will relate to and want to experience a breakfast in the sun or a barbeque dinner at sunset during their holiday. Having pictures of these beautiful, relaxing and amusing moments will allow your potential guest to place themselves in your pictures.
15. Take pictures of your cabin in the snow
If your property is, for example, a cottage in the mountains or an apartment with access to a ski resort, you should use the snow for your pictures! The fluffy, white snow will help you sell that cozy experience that your potential guests are looking for. You can take pictures of the exterior of the vacation home surrounded by the untouched snow as well as the snowy view from the windows!
As an example, you can request a designer to add some festive sparkle in the corner of your image (a good way to draw attention to your seasonal campaign) or alter the exterior photo of your property to give it a winter aesthetic.
17. Aerial view of your property
Show your picturesque surroundings together with your house. Maybe you have a sea or a garden, or a river that is close to your place? Make it a selling feature by featuring it on your main image.
To do that, you can either make use of any available altitude or employ a drone.
18. Elements and accessories that your target guests would be interested in
Your photos should appeal to the guests that you’re targeting. For example, if your target guests are couples, you should craft photographs with a romantic mood as well as include details like fine soaps and scented candles.
Lifestyle examples of the vacation rental photography
Finally, we want to give you some vibes for the best STR photos listed by some of Your.Rentals property managers. Consider becoming our user and get the free support with managing your listings on OTAs. It’s free, you pay only per booking.
Exotic luxury villas
Vacation rental business FEEL LUXURY HOLIDAYS has a sense for creating the right feeling in these beautiful images by combining the warm colours, the palm trees, the beach hat and the towels.
It seems like you could jump in the pool anytime on a hot summer day in sunny Morocco, which is exactly what you want to do in your summer holiday house! View the details of Villa Aïa here.
Here is another example of a perfect photograph to attract guests in Villa Yen: showing the living room real space and maintaining good lighting both in the windows and inside the house.
Pro tip! For professional property photography having appropriate lighting while you take the picture is a must.
Properties for couples
Moving to a completely different style and feel of the images with the property Reve D’Evan. The property’s name means “Evan’s Dream” in French, what a perfect name!
The rental business Domaine de Montails have managed to convey the feeling of staying in a peaceful fantasy world.
Through the use of small details such as flowers or a round big bed, they target couples.
The elements that are the most important for these Vacation Rental Photographs to be a success are the depth of the images, the bright colours and the simplicity in the decoration. Besides, the shapes in the walls are very original and special.
Bathroom vacation rental photos
Another challenging element in vacation rental photography is to take bathroom images. Many times the bathrooms are small and don’t have the best lighting. But that’s when the creativity of the owner or professional photographer comes into play.
Think about the little details that will add value and make the bathroom unique! Domaine de Montails has a picture with all the small details that make the bathroom stand out: lights on, hanging robes, towels carefully folded and decoration elements that create contrast. All these details show exactly the value of the space: Pavillon Mathéo.
Photos of the beds and bedrooms
Of course, we cannot forget the most important element of a vacation rental house: the beds. Property managers or owners like ClickSardegna need to prove to their guests that their sleep will be deep, comfortable and pleasant using only pictures and descriptions. A bit of a challenge right?
You can achieve it with a proper image of the bedroom with the bed dressed with nice quilts or covers and comfortable pillows that match the ambience of the room. Villa Carrabufas images are just the best example of how a bedroom should be shown.
All these tips and tricks will help you set your vacation rental photography apart by catching your viewers’ attention and inspiring them to visualize themselves enjoying all the fun and relaxing features of your vacation home. Setting a holiday mood, adding a pop of color or a symbolic detail will give meaning to your pictures and will consequently generate more interest, clicks and bookings!
Your.Rentals knows how important photos are – that’s why with us you can easily upload high quality photos and publish them on multiple vacation rentals websites. By following our vacation rental photography tips, you’ll be able to make your listing look great – and an eye-catching listing is the first step towards attracting guests!