Airbnb Photography Best Practices

By January 5, 2021February 7th, 2021Hosting

The industry would call this Real Estate Photography, but there is quite a difference between taking photos for an Airbnb and selling a home. There are so many nuances in photography and just as many when it comes to staging a space to be photographed. As I always say, barriers are meant to be broken! 

Each new airbnb I Host or Co-host is an opportunity for me to set our listing apart from the rest. I’ll do my best to go over some of the best practices I used as I prep and tour the space with the photographer. 

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? 

Super cliche, but it still stands the test of time. When a guest starts searching for a space to stay, they have millions of questions. It is our job to answer as many of the questions through photos as possible. The more questions you can answer the better chance you have at landing a booking. 

The mindset you need to be in while you’re taking photos of the space is just as important as the technical skills used to take the photos. We want to deliver a unique experience for our guests, well that means we need to show them what a unique experience could look like. This will vary from space to space, but I’ll be sure to highlight some examples down below.

Brighten Up the Inside

Bright is best, except for when it’s not. 

You know those nuances I mentioned before, well here they come. You need to photograph the space in the mood in which you picture your guests using the space! Each space has its best time of day and you need to find it. Finding the right light is key. Now, 11am-1pm is the typical best time to shoot a typical Real Estate type shoot, it’s also the easiest time. There is less harsh light coming through the windows and this allows you to open up any blinds or curtains to help brighten up the space. 

You may need to shoot your space at different times to capture all your space has to offer.

Shoot Into a Corner

Shooting into a corner or also known as shooting from a corner. You may be blessed with Hosting a large spacious Airbnb where depth and dynamic angles are everywhere, but here is the best way to ‘create’ depth and contrast within a space. 

Corners are great, because the architecture of the room is already leading your eye into the room. Shooting straight on a flat wall can be amazing when the A-Symetry is spot on, but these are rare. 

Positioning yourself in a corner also gives you the best range of view. With a wide angle lens, preferably ~16mm, you are able to capture so much more of the space.

Clean the Space Beforehand

This is an absolute must! 

You want this space looking exactly how your Guest is going to see it each and every time. While you or the photographer are in the space make sure you utilize this time to get everything you need. You can use these pictures as a frame of reference for when you or your turnover team reset a space after a guest leaves. This is the standard you want to hold for every guest so make sure you set it high to begin with. 

I’m constantly running around to each room ahead of the photographer to prep the bedding, style the curtains, etc.

Highlight Any Unique Amenities 

I think this goes without saying, but hopefully here I can add a little extra value. 

Unique amenities of the space are very different for each prospective Guest so you definitely need to hit them all. This is where you should show them how your space can be unique. 

You may think that having a deck and firepit is nothing special, but if your photo captures a nice fire in the evening with adirondack chairs facing the horizon and a glass of wine setting on the arm of the chair, it becomes much more enticing. A bay window is just a bay window until you capture someone in their pj’s curled up sipping a steaming cup of coffee. 

Guests don’t just need to know what the space can offer, they need to be able to picture themselves in the space.

Take Photos of the Outside, Too

Having photos of the exterior of your listing is great for several reasons. When creating  welcome instructions for your Guests there may be things that are easier shown than described, even if the image isn’t picturesque. For example: What do the parking spaces look like? Do Guests have to go through multiple doors before they reach ‘their’ front door? 

Outdoor photos can do more than just feature your property. These images can showcase the neighborhood or town that your listing resides in. Remember you need to paint the picture of what it’s like to stay at your property. 

Take a Lot of Photos

The more photos the better. Now I would highly recommend taking all horizontal photos for your listing, but that doesn’t mean vertical photos are never needed. Your Airbnb may have its own Instagram account where vertical photos work wonders. Also, you may end up swapping out some of your photos. From time to time I will change my featured image on my listings and it’s great to have an archive I can choose from. 

Things to Avoid

Bad quality photographs 

This kind of goes without saying, but poor quality photos don’t do anyone any good. These photos may be your only form of advertising and I don’t care what you’ve heard, but ‘any’ advertising is not good advertising. Quality is obviously subjective, but most people can spot poor quality photos fairly easily. If you’re reading reviews such as, “This space is much nicer than the photos make it look….” There is no refuting such black and white feedback. 

Too much clutter and personal items

Clutter will kill a space. It is our job as Hosts to choose the furnishings that will fit and accent the room. I realize that some Airbnbs function as someone’s home in certain cases, but if you want to successfully book your Airbnb then you may need to reevaluate what is left out during the times your listing is available.

Close up photos 

Close up photos can be good in accenting unique amenities or simply capturing ‘things’ that help shape the feel of the space. Consider your photos a mood board of sorts. 

Again, these photos can be used for Instagram, Facebook, your direct booking website, etc. 

Now, close up photos can definitely help convey unique characteristics of the space. However, there should definitely be more images that encompass the entire room. If you are not able to capture the majority of the room, this could be due to the limitation of your camera equipment. I’ve had photographers use a 24mm lens and a 16mm lens before in a space. The difference is everything when it comes to small spaces. I don’t want to make the room seem bigger than it is, but I need to be able to show them that there are other pieces of furniture besides a bed.


My hope was not to overwhelm you with too much, but give you key points that can make such a difference. 

Remember, mindset is everything while prepping a space and photographing it. Tour the space with your photographer and make sure you get the pictures you need and not just the ones they think you need. Each space has its unique qualities, but it is your job to show perspective Guests how a unique experience might look in your space. If you need some better examples or more information be sure to check us out over at @thanksforvisting_ for all things Airbnb related! Otherwise, reach out to us if you have any questions!