4 things to do if your AirBnB photos aren’t up to snuff

Aleksandar Ojdrovic
March 3, 2021
Whether you're a beginner preparing your first STR listing (woohoo!) or a seasoned SuperHost managing a number of properties, taking high quality, eye-catching photos can be a challenge that kneecaps an otherwise fantastic place before it’s even off the ground.
You may be tempted to invest in a high-priced DSLR or even hire a professional for the shoot, but we’ve found that most AirBnB hosts can learn to take and edit album-worthy pictures with an up-to-date iPhone or Android device. These 69 points should be the help you need to start taking awesome photos that showcase the very best your rental has to offer, and most importantly, getting more eyes on your listing to convert to bookings.
Finding the Right Time of Day to Snap the Perfect Pic
You may be tempted to go first thing in the morning to get the job over with, but oftentimes, waiting a little while for the “golden hour” can vastly improve your photos without requiring any other modifications. Choose a time when the exterior and most rooms will be bathed in natural sunlight to ensure that the colors are beautifully saturated and showcase the property at its best. Going in the afternoon is usually best when the glare of the midday sun is waning, giving you a softer and more palatable light. Plus, by the time you’re wrapping up the shoot, it may be time for a gorgeous sunset picture to really draw vacationers in!
Make sure you’re not taking pictures on a cloud day either. If the forecast has clouds, no matter how dramatic they might make your property look with the right filter, consider waiting a few days (or hours!) for the sun to come out.
Get a Tripod
Whether you’re using your phone camera or a DSLR for your AirBnB pictures, a tripod can come handy in a snap to help you take clean, crisp photos and avoid fatigue. Especially if you're taking pictures in low light (a basement area perhaps, or a windowless bathroom), the tripod will stabilize the camera and eliminate the blur that may arise from keeping it in your hand. This way, you’re creating a beautiful photo from the get-go and avoiding a drawn out editing process or reshoot.
Stage the Place to Draw People In
Staging your place is one of the most important parts of drawing guests into your AirBnB listing, and can be so difficult to get right. For starters, make sure your place is spotless (which it probably is anyway). This includes touching up any blemishes on the walls, getting the windows washed, or even something as small as sweeping the sidewalk in front of your property. After you’ve done that, decide on a theme. Are you renting out a ski chalet and going for a cozy, warm ambiance? Or do you have beachfront beauty with a sleek, minimalist aesthetic? Whatever your vibe is, make sure it’s consistent, inviting, and perhaps most importantly, depersonalized. You’ll want to get rid of identifying objects such as pictures or memorabilia, so that your guests can imagine themselves right away in their “second home” for the weekend (or month).
This does not mean going full generic, however. Adding a few carefully placed houseplants, pictures, or decorations can give your pictures a sense of personality and pizzaz without being too on the nose.
Edit the Right Way
The right filter can make or break even a professional quality photo. Oftentimes, people can make the mistake of either going too far or too little with the filters, leading to oversaturated or dull photos. Digital filters mimic the expensive glass and metal filters that professionals often use, without the hassle of physically switching them out (and paying an arm and a leg for each one).
Adjusting the exposure of your photo can highlight the best part of the room, and complements the natural light you planned for very well. Playing with highlights and similarly help tweak the photo to draw a viewer’s eyes in. Editing the brightness can help eliminate glare from interior lighting (sometimes the sun just isn’t enough)! Increasing or decreasing the warmth of the photo is another great way to compensate for less than ideal conditions or simply amplify your room’s inviting atmosphere.
Follow these tips and you should be well on the way to giving your AirBnB listing the strongest possible presentation that highlights its best properties (ha-ha) to reel in guests.

You can reach me at petar@yada.ai, on twitter at @petarojdrovic, and on Instagram at @ojpetar.

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