Airbnb Listing Tips: How To Take Photos That Attract More Bookings

By Nechama Rausman | March 16, 2022
take pictures to attract more bookings

When it comes to securing Airbnb bookings, top-notch photos on your listing are a must. While the details and description of your property are what will spark interest, your photos are ultimately what will make or break a guest’s decision to book your property. 

If you think of each Airbnb listing as a sales package, the pictures within the listings are what bring your pitch to life. So using them wisely is important. The idea is to deliver the feeling of an open house tour through the visuals you provide; you want users to feel confident in their expectations when booking your Airbnb.

Rather than just grabbing the most recent shots of your property, take a strategic approach to posting your photographs. Everything from the number of pictures, to the order in which they’re shown, down to the angles and lighting, is important. Your photographs should not only be of excellent quality, but they should also capture the unique qualities of your property. 

Paying attention to these details will help your listing capture the attention of more Airbnb users and increase your bookings. So when it comes to building a photo gallery that your target guests will flock to, here are some guidelines…

Get The Amount of Photos Right

Airbnb allows you to upload up to 100 photographs per listing, but overwhelming your potential guests with endless pictures of your place won’t necessarily sway them. On the other hand, if you provide too few photos, guests might assume you are trying to hide certain areas of your property and become suspicious. 

Ideally, you should choose about 20-30 photos – enough to give a really good tour of your property without overwhelming your potential guests. Choose your photographs wisely and show as much of the property as possible, with each photo adding to the complete picture of your rental.  

If it comes down to it, you should prioritize quality over quantity. Selecting 10 high-quality, stunning photos that highlight the assets of your property is preferable to a greater number of low quality or non-complementary photos. 

Pay special attention to the first five photos you upload because these will be the first impression a guest will get of your property. These appear before your potential guests click into your listing’s full photo collection – they’re the sneak peek into your Airbnb.

set up for home photo shoot

Show The Whole Picture

You want to cover as much area as possible in your listing’s album to give potential guests the full picture of your property. In addition to all of the rooms and spaces, make sure to include the charming details or decor that contribute to the uniqueness of your property. 

Since they provide the first glance of your rental, it’s a good idea to show an array of features in the first five photographs. For instance, include one photograph of the outdoor space or patio, one of the master bedroom, one of a living room or another family room, and one of a kitchen or bathroom. The variety of preview photographs will give your potential guests a good idea of what your rental offers in a single glance.

The rest of your listing’s album should be used to widen the picture. Include at least one picture of every room that the guest will have access to. Capture any works of art or pieces of furniture that add character to your rental. Include photos of local landmarks or other notable sites in the neighborhood for guests to get a better idea of the location and surroundings as well.

One thing that is very important when it comes to photos is that while you want to present your rental in the best light possible, you create expectations that reflect reality so your guests won’t be disappointed once they arrive. If there is something about your property that is less than ideal, better to bring that to their attention at the start than to fail to meet your guests’ expectations, which can result in bad reviews. 

While pictures often speak for themselves, Airbnb gives you the option to add captions to emphasize or upsell any specific features to get your potential guests more excited. For example ‘cozy living room with a fireplace’ or ‘fully equipped kitchen with espresso machine’ add appeal to an already enticing photo. Through a great set of pictures and descriptive captions you can really guide the presentation of your property to win over potential guests. 

camera taking pictures of a room

Ready, Aim, Shoot.

According to Airbnb, photos are one of the top 3 reasons guests choose to book, following location and price. To encourage hosts to upgrade their photos to earn more and get more bookings, Airbnb offers a service to pair hosts with local professional photographers and pay out of future bookings.

However, if you decide to take this process into your own hands, here are a few pointers. For one, clean up. Before shooting, tidy up and declutter to make the space as inviting as possible. 

For best results, try to take your neat and tidy photographs during the day. Natural sunlight works much better than artificial light at making everything look its best. A bright and airy room will stand out more than a photo taken at night or a darker time of day.

Once your Airbnb is bright and clean, aim to capture the space in its best angle. Shooting into the corner adds dimensionality and perspective, plus it shows the depth that photographs of flat surfaces can’t communicate. If you choose to dabble in some visual white-lies, there are a few ways to expand space through lighting or horizontal stripes. As long as these details appear in the photographs as-is, designer optical illusions are 100% kosher.

Make sure to use a decent camera, as this will help maximize the quality of your Airbnb photos. It’s best to use a wide-angle DSLR, but these days you can get great results with an advanced mobile phone camera. Regardless of the quality, Airbnb recommends using bigger photos for prime resolution.

Focus on getting the entire room in focus. Blurry or pixelated pictures give the impression that you didn’t put in the effort to be professional and it’s important for you to communicate to your potential guests that you take hosting seriously throughout the whole process.

Finally, in the battle of landscape vs. portrait, always choose landscape. Horizontal dimensions happen to fit best on the listing page. Moreover, keep your photos consistent. This will make the clicking through of your pictures flow better for your potential guests. If you must take a specific photograph with a portrait layout because it won’t fill out the landscape (i.e. in the case of a small, narrow bathroom), take a couple of different portrait shots and stitch them together into one landscape image using your favorite photo editing software.

Create the Setting

When preparing for your photoshoot, you want to set the stage and bring your potential guests to imagine themselves staying at your home. Make the bedroom inviting with a neatly made bed and a cup of water next to a book on the nightstand. Set the dining room table with some nice dinnerware so guests can imagine hosting a meal at the table. Show a pile of folded towels on the bathroom counter. You want to create a warm and livable vibe so think about the little touches, like fresh flowers or a basket of fruit, that can add a touch of home. Creating a clean and welcoming scene tells your guests you are ready for them to enjoy their stay.

Your photos may be the most important part of your Airbnb listing so any investment you make into it now will certainly pay off. The pictures of your property will etch a vision into your guests’ minds from the beginning of their decision making process until the moment they arrive at your rental. We all know how important a first impression is and your choice of photos is what will create that first impression for your potential rental guests. 

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