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How to Take Perfect Airbnb Photos: An Essential Guide

Making your Airbnb stand out among the crowd is the most important part of advertising your property. When a potential customer sees your property, you want them to think, 'Wow!' and forget about looking elsewhere. But how can you ensure this happens? The answer lies in your Airbnb listing photos. 

With professional Airbnb photos, you can secure more bookings and take your short-term rental business to the next level.


Why are Airbnb photos crucial?


An Airbnb host might think that if they have a well-maintained property and good communication skills, they don't need anything else when entering the short-term rental game. However, this doesn't always guarantee bookings. Guests are very visual people who want to see what they get before booking their stay. 

That's why uploading quality photos is so important. You can easily display the exterior and interior design in the best lighting, show off all the amenities, and excite guests to stay with you. This results in higher booking rates, puts you ahead of the competition, and helps you grow your Airbnb business in the future.


Essential elements of great Airbnb photos


You must meet various Airbnb photo requirements to ensure you gain the attention of prospective guests. Below are some of the elements you need to consider when taking great photos:

  • Clarity: Potential guests need to see what they'll get when they stay with you, so all images must be clear and not blurry.
  • Good lighting: Great lighting increases the quality of the image, as you can see everything more clearly. It's best to take photos of your interior with the lights on and the exterior on a sunny day.
  • Landscape photos: You're not entering a photography competition, so don't try and zoom in on small and meaningless amenities. Instead, take photos with a wide length aspect ratio so they can see everything your property offers
  • Cleanliness: Avoid any mess or clutter and ensure all the rooms and outside are kept neat and clean for the photos.
  • Capture all offerings: Guests like to be prepared, so ensure you have an image of every room and amenity. This includes the outside of your property and garden if it has one.
  • Composition: How you angle your professional photos is essential, so make sure it is done in a way that the composition looks aesthetically pleasing.
  • Advertise the lifestyle: Help guests envision what they would look like in the property by including images of models enjoying amenities.
  • Quality: This is a given, but ensures high-quality images. This means using a professional camera, not your mobile phone, to take photos.



A step-by-step guide to taking Airbnb photos


Ready to take your vacation rental photos? It isn't too hard; all you have to do is follow these steps:


Step 1: Stage your Airbnb property


You want your property to look its best, so before you take photos, you want to ensure it's clean, organized, and staged for prospective guests. This involves placing aesthetically pleasing decor and furnishings around the rooms and making them look like a space someone would be excited to stay in.


Step 2: Purchase/rent professional equipment


You might already have photography equipment, but if you don't, you will want to get hold of some. You don't want to use your mobile phone, so you should purchase or rent a professional camera, such as a DSLR. Other equipment you might want to get your hands on include tripods, different lenses, and reflectors.


Step 3: Wait for natural light to come out


As we've already mentioned, you need good lighting when taking professional Airbnb photos. And the best type of light is natural light. You, therefore, want to wait for a sunny day and take photos when the light is shining but not too harsh. Open all curtains when taking photos of rooms inside your property. 



Step 4: Choose your angles


There isn't 'one angle fits all' when it comes to taking photos, as all properties are built differently. Therefore, you want to try various angles and find which one best fits the room or amenity you're capturing. You should also consider the composition and ensure you're featuring all elements of the room in one image.


Step 5: Take photos of the main indoor spaces


You are now ready to start taking photos! Start with all your indoor spaces, including the bedrooms, living room, bathrooms, and kitchen. If you have an office or games room, take photos of that too. Also, focus on capturing the selling amenities of your property, such as the big-screen TV or selection of board games.


Step 6: Take photos of the main outdoor spaces


Once you've taken photos of your property's indoor spaces, you should now move outside. If you have special outdoor amenities, such as a garden or patio, you should include images of these. 


Step 7: Edit your images


Once you've taken all the images you need, it's time to go through them all and choose the best ones. You should use reliable editing software to adjust the brightness, contrast and enhance the colors to give them an ultimate look. Ensure you keep the editing subtle, as over-editing can make the photos look unprofessional.



Step 8: Upload your Airbnb photos


You can now upload all images to your Airbnb listing when they are ready! Arrange them in the order you wish your prospective guests to see them and double-check that they portray your property how you want them to.


Professional photography vs. DIY: What to choose?


If there are professional photographers out there, why have we given you a guide on taking your own Airbnb photos? Well, the choice is yours, but both options have pros and cons.


Pros and cons of professional photography




  • When using a professional photographer, you can guarantee you'll be receiving high-quality images from them since they have the equipment and experience needed to take the best shot.
  • Professional photographers have expertise in staging a property for Airbnb photos, so they will be able to effectively set up your rental so it looks its best. They also have top-of-the-range editing software to make the staging stand out.
  • If you take photos yourself, you might miss out on something. Luckily, professionals pay close attention to detail and make sure every element of the image is perfect.
  • You don't have to worry about one image being better than the other with professional photographers as they maintain a great level of consistency throughout the photo shoot.
  • Taking Airbnb photos can take up a lot of time, so hiring a professional can allow you to save time and focus on things that you are good at.




  • Professionals do not come cheap, so you should only consider them if you have the budget to spare.
  • If you desperately need photos taken as soon as possible, you might struggle with a professional. They are likely to be quite busy, therefore it could be difficult for your own busy schedule as a host and theirs to align.
  • You lose an aspect of control when you hire a professional to take your Airbnb listing photos. They may not give you an end result that fits in with your vision.
  • If you're using a photographer that is particularly busy, it might take some time for you to receive your finished photos. This can delay uploading your listing to Airbnb and booking guests.
  • Not every photographer is going to give you exactly what you want, so you might need to spend some time finding the right fit.


Pros and cons of DIY photography




  • When taking photos of your property yourself, you don't have to spend money on a professional photographer, which means you can put your funds into other aspects of your Airbnb listings.
  • You can take the images whenever you like. You don't have to wait to fit into the schedule of a professional.
  • Doing all the photos yourself gives you complete creative control over the shoot. You can meet your own vision and ensure the images end up how you like.
  • If you want to get your images done as soon as possible so you can upload them to your listing, you don't have to wait around for a photographer's availability.
  • No one knows your property better than yourself, so you give yourself an advantage of familiarity. This lets you take photos of hidden gems and what you think will resonate with guests.




  • If you're not a professional and don't have experience with taking property photos, they might lack the quality a professional could provide you.
  • Staging a property might appear easy, but it also takes a lot of focus and experience. You might not be able to stage the property like a professional.
  • It might take a while to stage, wait for lighting, get the right images, and edit them. This could take time away from you doing other things for the property.
  • You might not be able to take images with the correct angles or equipment, limiting the range and clarity of the photos.
  • If you don't have a checklist put together for each image, you might find that the quality is inconsistent, which can reduce its impact on potential guests.


Editing your Airbnb photos: Best practices


There's nothing worse than opening up editing software and having no idea what to do. Luckily, we have some great tips to get you started:

  • Invest in reputable photo editing software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop to access advanced editing tools and achieve high-quality results.
  • Avoid excessive editing that alters the property's appearance dramatically. Guests should get an accurate representation of what they will experience during their stay.
  • Adjust brightness and exposure to ensure well-lit images that showcase the space's best features. Avoid overly dark or washed-out photos.
  • Use cropping and straightening tools to improve the composition and align the images properly.
  • Use color adjustments to make specific elements, such as furniture or decor, stand out without over-saturating the entire image.
  • Use tools like the shadow and highlight sliders to achieve a balanced image with sufficient detail in both bright and dark areas.
  • Save the edited images in a format suitable for online use, such as JPEG, and ensure they meet the platform's recommended resolution requirements.
  • Maintain a consistent editing style throughout all your Airbnb photos to create a cohesive and professional appearance for your listing.
  • Regularly compare the edited photos with the original images to ensure your edits improve the overall quality of the visuals.



Common mistakes to avoid when taking Airbnb photos


You know what to do when taking Airbnb photos, but what must you avoid? Here are some common mistakes to look out for:

  • Poor lighting: Avoid taking photos in low-light conditions or using flash, as it can create unflattering shadows and distort the colors.
  • Cluttered spaces: Ensure the property is clean and decluttered before photographing. Messy or cluttered areas can make the space look uninviting and smaller than it actually is.
  • Crooked or tilted images: Always ensure your photos are properly aligned and straight to present a professional and polished look.
  • Over-processing: Be cautious with editing, as excessive filters or adjustments can make the images look artificial and less appealing.
  • Neglecting exterior shots: Include exterior photos, as they provide a first impression of the property. Neglecting them can deter potential guests.
  • Unfocused or blurry images: Ensure your photos are sharp and in focus, as blurry images can create a negative impression and reduce interest.
  • Missing essential rooms and amenities: Include photos of all the essential spaces, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas, along with any unique amenities that set your property apart.
  • Including personal items: Remove personal items like family photos and personal belongings to create a neutral space that guests can envision as their own.