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1. eye-catching photographs

Photos are the first, and maybe the only thing potential guests see about your listing.  It is your one chance to catch their eye and get them to look closer.  It is important to take good pictures and to provide pictures of all the rooms in your rental, including kitchen, bathroom, street front, outdoor spaces, sleeping spaces, etc.  Provide at least 10-20 pictures, but don’t provide more than 20-25.

Make sure you include at least a couple of pictures of every room and outdoor space your guest will have access to, including the bathroom and kitchen.  A floor plan, if you have one, is always a great addition.  Include a picture of the front of your building, your entrance, and a few of the neighborhood. 

Don’t postpone posting your listing because you don’t have great pictures.  Try to take the best pictures that you can and get your listing posted and those first few reviews.  

  • Clean before you shoot:

    • Make the beds PERFECTLY

    • De-clutter

    • Dust


  • Lighting:

    • Use all the light that you can:

      • Shoot during the day

      • Open all curtains and drapes

      • Turn on all the lights


  • Set the scene by

    • adding fresh flowers,

    • books,

    • magazines,

    • set the table


  • Shoot into the corner, not directly onto a flat wall.  Shooting into a corner adds dimension and gives a sense of perspective


  • Use landscape vs. portrait


  • Make sure you caption every photo


  • Consider an inexpensive wide-angle lens for your phone

Tips for beautiful DIY photos

DON’T change the furniture or major decorations and still keep the old professional photos in your listing.  Accuracy is one of the fields you are rated on by guests.  Your pictures and listing must always reflect your rental accurately and truthfully.

Airbnb professional photography

Airbnb offers hosts in larger markets professional photographs for free after they have completed a few stays and received positive ratings from guests.  Always accept the offer and make sure your unit looks its best for the shoot.  Make sure the bed is made correctly (there is nothing worse than a wrinkled bed) and that you schedule for a time when natural light is optimal, even if you have to wait for the weekend.  Make sure the unit is spotless and that you set out fresh flowers, books, etc.

The one negative thing about taking Airbnb’s offer of a photo shoot, is that they never give you another shoot, tying you down to the same décor year after year, since it appears that Airbnb’s search algorithm favors units with verified, professional Airbnb pictures (this could be in my head, but I believe that it is true).  This can become a problem if you need to change a major piece of furniture and cannot find the exact same piece.


Airbnb has announced that in the future, it will be offering Superhosts who keep their status for a year the choice between a travel credit and a free photo shoot.  That would be wonderful, but it hasn’t happened yet.

If Airbnb does not offer you free photos, you can pay for them by requesting a quote here:

One of our guests destroyed a sofa in one of our units.  When we went to replace it, we found that the sofa was no longer manufactured.  We purchased a similar sofa, but made sure to change the pictures on our listing.  I asked a friend with a good camera to take some pictures for me.  I was nervous about losing placement on Airbnb’s site by replacing professional Airbnb pictures with our own, but we had no choice.  In the end, I do not feel like it significantly affected my reservations. 

Think about getting your own professional photos, if they are not offered in your area.  If spending the extra cash doesn’t make sense for you, get a friend who has a camera with a wide-angle lens to do it. You can offer to put some of their other photos up in the unit with a link to their site on the unit’s website in return.


Displaying art and photography by friends and acquaintances is a great way to decorate without spending too much

Other photography options

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