Vacation Rental Photo Tips from the Experts

Erin Colbert —  August 14, 2012

The easiest way to get amazing photos of your vacation rental is to hire a professional photographer. But, for whatever reason (cost, time, budding photography skills, etc.) you may still decide to do it yourself. Since I did not get the expert photog gene, I decided to gather up the best tips from around the web to help you get the most out of your next photo session.

Travelers Do Judge a Book by It’s Cover

Quote MarkYou have just about 30 seconds to nab the attention of a traveler trying to find the perfect place for their upcoming trip.  So it’s incredibly important you choose a photo of your property that stands out in a crowd.

Source: Tripping

PanaViz Professionally Staged Photo

PanaViz professionally staged photo

Stage Your Rental

Quote MarkVacation homes are an alternative to hotels, and hotels usually have fabulous photos that are immaculately styled and photographed. Vacation owners can do the same, endeavoring to keep the images real. Hotels may have restrictions on props and amount of staging, but rentals are homes. People will lounge in them, cook in them; take leisurely baths and more. Stage the rentals to reflect these homely comforts. We suggest that you style your homes with items that come with the rental such as the tableware, adding extras such as a small flower arrangement and fresh fruit.

Source: PanaViz

Watch the Weather

Quote MarkShooting on a cloudy day will give you the best lighting for a house. The light will be even and diffused so you won’t have harsh shadows to deal with.

Source: Digital Photography School

Get Photos of Each Room, the Exterior, and the View

Quote MarkThe more areas of your house you can feature, the more confidence a potential guest will have when booking. Not surprisingly, a great view is always a major draw. Guests will pay more for a fabulous view, and you should showcase this must-have amenity in your listing. Also make sure to include an exterior shot. Display your unique architecture and/or your gorgeous garden. Photos of the living room and kitchen are essential as this is the bonus space guests are getting by choosing a vacation rental over a hotel. Let your guests see where they will be cooking and where they will be relaxing. Include a picture of the master and every additional bedroom as well – this encourages renters to envision themselves, and each member of their party, in their respective sleeping quarters.

Exterior House Shot 1

the photo below was shot just 8 minutes after the one aboveExterior House Photo 2

Source: HomeAway

Shoot Exteriors During the Magic Hour

Quote MarkThe prettiest exterior shots are made just after the sun has set and the sky gets a deep blue to match the lighting of the exterior. Magic hour isn’t even an hour: it’s only a few minutes somewhere about 10 – 20 minutes after sundown. You determine the exact time by eye; it varies with location, season and the lighting of your exterior.

Source: Ken Rockwell

Display Your Photos

Quote MarkIt is critical that your professional photos are properly showcased on the web. Display the images in high resolution and full screen on your own website. Use relevant captions, tags and keywords to describe each image.

Source: PanaViz

Add at Least 20 Photos

According to Flipkey, travelers are 83% more likely to make an inquiry on your property listing if you have over 20 photos (vs. less than 5 photos). If your listing site doesn’t allow you to upload 20+ photos, create your own website for your vacation rental where you can add as many photos as you want.


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Erin Colbert


Marketing at I help vacation rental owners improve their online marketing efforts and get more inquiries & bookings as a result. You can find me on Twitter and .

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  1. 7 Steps to Advertise your Vacation Rental on Craigslist « Vacation Rental Owners Blog - August 16, 2012

    […] If your photos aren’t doing your post justice, schedule your next photo shoot and check out these vacation rental photography tips from the experts. […]