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15 Airbnb Photo Tips for Hosts [2020]: Size, Resolution, Rules & More!

Airbnb Photo Tips for Hosts

Putting together your Airbnb listing can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially for first time hosts. Thankfully, it’s much easier than you think to craft an amazing listing with equipment that you probably already have.

So, what are my top 15 Airbnb photo tips for hosts?

  1. Use a quality camera or smartphone
  2. Clean up the space
  3. Shoot multiple angles
  4. Use natural lighting
  5. Take all photos at the same time
  6. Use a tripod or camera base
  7. Shoot landscape pictures
  8. Polish your photos
  9. Put photos in order of importance
  10. Include a floorplan
  11. Remember exterior photos
  12. Have photos of the neighborhood or local attractions
  13. Group photos by category
  14. Caption each photo
  15. Consider hiring an Airbnb photographer

Follow along below for extra tips and tricks to help you make an Airbnb listing that’s guaranteed to land you bookings!

Use A Quality Camera Or Smartphone

If you’re fortunate enough to own a high-quality camera (and knowledgeable enough to get the most out of it) then you most certainly should use it. Luckily, almost any smartphone made in the last few years has a high enough quality camera to take professional-looking photos with very little effort on your part. 

Whether you’re using a phone camera or a DSLR camera, be sure to have it properly set to take crisp pictures and turn off the flash. Pictures with the flash on almost never look good! A lot of newer smartphones allow you to adjust their settings similarly to how you would on a DSLR camera. Play around and find what compliments your room’s décor and lighting the best. 

I use a Canon EOS Rebel T7i for all of my photographs with a wide-angle lens and tripod. I love the Auto Exposure Bracketing which takes three pictures at different exposures and then combines them together. This makes views out windows look perfect, and takes the glare out of lights in your home.

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Rental Recon Tip: Many mobile phones now come equipped with a “portrait” or “studio” mode that makes pictures look super clean and professional. Make the most out of your phone’s settings! 

Clean Up The Space

This should go without saying, but is still worth mentioning anyways. I cannot tell you how many shoddy-looking listings I have seen that could have been greatly improved by simply tidying up the room! If you were booking a hotel online and the pictures were of unmade beds, dirty towels, and rumpled pillows, would you stay there?

Tidiness is sometimes harder to notice if you are renting out your own home or a space in your home. Little things like askew pillows or bookshelf clutter would be overlooked by most people in their own bedrooms, but renters are hyper-aware of how much care you’ve put into your listing’s appearance. When in doubt, it never hurts to ask someone else to take a look at your photos and point out any issues. 



Shoot Multiple Angles

The feel of a room is incredibly hard to gauge from a simple, flat picture on a screen. Bring your Airbnb to life by showing your guests how the room (or rooms) look from different perspectives. This is especially important when renting out an entire home. Guests will want to know how each room connects, what the flow of the space is like, and how big (or small) it feels. 

A great tip for condensing many views of a room into one is to shoot from a corner. This should give you a great vantage point and show at least three sides of the room itself. You should also always have a picture that shows the door, as well as a view looking in from the door. This makes the room feel less cramped and gives potential guests an idea of what their room connects with (see below for the importance of including a floorplan!). 

Use Natural Lighting

If at all possible, shoot your photos during midday when the light is brightest, and you can have the blinds or curtains wide open. Natural light is always the best bet and is truly a photographer’s best friend.  You should still have your accent lighting on even when you have a bright sunny day. This will be more inviting and brighten the space even more.

If your listing “specializes” in nightlife or features ambience lighting, a picture at night with a view of outside is a great bonus.

When natural lighting isn’t an option, such as for basement rentals or rooms with small windows, white light looks best. White lightbulbs are an inexpensive way to achieve this, but I would recommend investing in a studio light or two to really make your Airbnb shine. 

Take All Photos At The Same Time

Batching your photographs into one session is not only a great timesaver but will make your listing look so much more cohesive and professional. You’re aiming to capture a moment in time; to mimic the experience of a guest actually touring your space. 

One or two pictures taken at a different time of day probably aren’t going to make or break a deal, but a disjointed jumble of day and night pictures makes it look like you didn’t put much thought into showcasing your space. Wait for a good, sunny day and take way more pictures than you think you’ll need. Then you can pick out your favorites later! 

Use A Tripod Or Camera Base

Tripods tend to scare away amateur photographers. In reality, all they are is something steadier than your hand that holds your camera or phone. There are tons of inexpensive tripod options on the market like this one, and most of them have phone attachments as well. 

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If you aren’t yet ready to invest in one, a stack of books will work just fine. In a pinch, leaning on a door frame or wall will provide a bit of a stability boost for your arm! 

When using a tripod or stable location, try the HDR mode (High Dynamic Range) on your phone’s camera. It takes several pictures at different exposures and averages them out to give a more uniform light distribution. This feature can take over-exposed “whited-out” windows and bracket the exposure down show what is clearly outside.

Shoot Landscape Pictures

Simply put, portrait photos look careless. They were very obviously taken on a phone, which is not a bad thing in itself, but can be a turnoff for some people. For lack of a better word, they seem very “selfie”-like.

Landscape photos can be taken on a phone with basically no extra effort, but they look insanely more professional. They display much better on computer and phone screens alike, and nobody likes having to squint and zoom to see something. I don’t usually recommend having panorama-style pictures of your space as these can be very difficult to see and often don’t load properly anyways. 

Airbnb’s guidelines are that pictures be at least 1024 x 683 pixels and have a width to length aspect ratio of 3:2.  If you upload a portrait-oriented photo, you’ll quickly realize that your pictures doesn’t show up correctly.

I shot several of my first pictures in portrait orientation because it fit the composition better, but had to go back and re-shoot the entire house to get everything in landscape mode.

Polish Your Photos

Digital photo editing is no longer reserved for the technologically-advanced! There are numerous free editing programs, many of which can be found online and don’t need to be downloaded. 

These programs can be used to remove blemishes from a picture, to soften or brighten the light, as well as simply to crop and scale images. A lot of them have filter options as well, but I advise using these at your own risk. 

I personally use a program called Lightroom, which is a downloaded program. It is an amazing program for editing photos. Its fairly straight forward to figure out, and many professional photographers use this program.

What you do not want to do is lie about your Airbnb! Never, ever misrepresent what you’re offering to a guest. Not only does this violate Airbnb policy, but it is completely unethical and a terrible move as a host. 

Put Photos In Order Of Importance

Put yourself in the shoes of someone looking to rent out an Airbnb. What would you look for first? The bedroom. This is likely where your guests will be spending most of their time, so it is the room they’ll care about most. 

The next most important rooms can vary based on your specific space and what type of guests you cater to. For an entire home that people typically rent for multiple days or weeks, they’ll probably want to check out the kitchen and bathrooms. The living room is another big one, but its general vibe can usually be shown in fewer photos than other rooms might need. 

If you are renting out a single bedroom, showcasing the bed itself is very important. The bathroom that the guest will use is the next main concern. Storage for clothes or luggage is usually described, as well as seating in the room itself, outlets, and other extra amenities. 


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Include A Floorplan

This is a huge thing that I always see left off of Airbnb listings. Floorplans are basically a requirement in my book, and forgetting to include one can easily make you lose out on bookings. 

Guests with disabilities need to know how accessible your rental is to them. Some of this can be explained in the description, but a visual layout is very important to help them understand whether or not they’ll be able to easily navigate the space. 

Additionally, it is unsettling to not know how different rooms connect and where the exits are. Even if you don’t rent out your entire home, including a floorplan that shows the guest where they’ll be staying in relation to you puts them at ease. If you don’t feel comfortable describing every room in your home to strangers, you can simply block out “host private space” and “guest private space”. 

Remember Exterior Photos

This is another commonly forgotten aspect of a great listing. Even if you feel that the outside of your Airbnb doesn’t have a ton to offer, providing context for guests is crucially important. 

However, if your Airbnb does have a great exterior space, why not show it off? Even something like a small deck or porch can quickly become a fantastic amenity when properly showcased.

You might try adding some string lighting or a decorative fire pit to create some a welcoming vibe in your back yard.

Pictures of outdoor spaces are especially important for things like beach rentals, cottages, cabins, and other “retreat” style Airbnbs. Never forget to have at least one simple, head-on shot of your house or apartment building so that guests can recognize it and understand what they’re paying for. 

Have Photos Of The Neighborhood Or Local Attractions

Again, it’s incredibly rare that the area surrounding an Airbnb has nothing to offer guests. Got a favorite bar or restaurant? Show people! Local parks are scenic and add visual diversity to your listing. 

If your Airbnb caters to a specific crowd, such as people that come to your town for a festival or event, be sure to highlight it both in the description and the pictures. This will help you come up in targeted search results, and guests’ reviews that mention these events will help garner even more bookings! 

You might even consider creating a map in Canva with distances from your house to the attractions in your area.

Group Photos By Category

Part of making your listing cohesive is presenting a logical flow of information. As mentioned above, guests typically have a hierarchy of things they’re looking for in a listing and you only have so long to make a first impression. 

Group all photos of each specific room together, starting with a larger view of the room and moving into smaller details as the pictures progress. Exterior photos are usually either first or last, but use your best judgement on what will capture the eye of someone quickly scrolling down their Airbnb search results. 

Caption Each Photo

Captions should be an obvious inclusion, but I still see people posting unexplained photos all the time

Captions serve lots of purposes. They make your listing accessible to read by those that are visually impaired as well as search algorithms. More obviously, they describe the pictures you’ve posted. It might be obvious that one is of the bedroom, one is the kitchen, and so on, but is that really all you want your guests to know?

Using buzzwords like “cozy”, “intimate”, “private”, “peaceful” and such can help you really drive home the selling points of your Airbnb to potential renters. Don’t forget to point out smaller details like outlets, fans, and freebies that you might offer. 

Consider Hiring An Airbnb Photographer

Airbnb does offer a professional photography service in select areas. If you are in an area they serve, it might be worthwhile to look into using them. According to their website, hosts can earn up to 40% more with professional listing photos.

Their photography service fee is deducted from future bookings, and the price varies based on your needs. 


Related Questions:

How Many Photos Can You Put on Airbnb?

Airbnb actually does not place a limit on the number of photos that a listing can have. However, this doesn’t mean that you should post as many pictures as you possibly can. Most hosts feel that a good number of photos is around 15-25, depending on the size of your Airbnb and its features. 

Keep in mind that you should showcase all that your rental has to offer without overwhelming or boring someone looking through search results. Another tip is that it is typically required that your listing has a minimum of five photos in order to appear in mobile search results.

I'm an Airbnb Superhost sharing my Airbnb journey and tips that I've learned along the way.

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