A Homeowner’s Guide: Vacation Rental Photography

June 07 2018By: Sean D. Altice

Put down the shaky cell phone or cheap outdated camera. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to capture captivating quality photos but there are some important details to consider when trying to take a perfect photo.


Your photos will be the very first aspect of your vacation rental listing to catch the attention of potential guests. From the very first picture, your potential guests will be judging and creating assumptions about every possible and potential scenario. What is the owner like? I wonder what the service will be like? Is the bed comfortable? Will the house be clean? Regardless of what your description may say or what services you may provide, your potential guests will answer these questions themselves with your pictures.

First things first – If you’re using your cell to take property photos, make sure you have some sort of stabilizer or tripod and it’s preferable if your phone is a recent model with the best camera quality possible. If you’re using your own personal or professional camera equipment, just grab your tripod and go!

Photography Tips

  1. Create Good Lighting
    1. Take photos at dawn or dusk to soften light. Prevent taking photos with direct bright light coming through windows
    2. Open blinds – don’t take photos with blinds closed. It will make the space seem dark and small
    3. Turn lights onHigh Dynamic Range
      1. When shooting rooms with windows, shoot pictures in High Dynamic Range (HDR) when possible. HDR allows for maximum exposure in order to capture the light inside the house and the light outside of the window. This allows for trees or landscaping to be seen outside the windows, instead of the white blurry light which the picture will expose otherwise.
  2. Spacing & Staging
    1. Provide a clear picture of what the space looks like
    2. Do not focus too much on one item or section of the house, unless you’re doing a specific vignette shot
    3. Always feature something interesting in every shot
    4. Shoot horizontal pictures, prevent shooting vertical unless shooting directly for mobile only
    5. Get multiple angles of rooms
      1. Use stools to get angled shots for a large area with wide fields of views ie. Landscapes
      2. Use lower angle shots for small rooms to give it a bigger feel
    6. Move furnishings to properly fit into the frame
  3. The Details
    1. Show amenities or special features
    2. Use pillows wisely
    3. Use bright colors
    4. Turn-off TV or computer screens
    5. Iron all towels and linens to prevent wrinkles
    6. Clean all areas thoroughly
    7. Remove clutter
  4. ​​​​Be sure not to capture your own reflection or any reflective surfaces including mirrors, glass picture frames, TV’s and large metallic surfaces.
  5. ​​​​​​​Use a wide angle lens on camera, if available, to capture tight or awkward spaces.
  • Need A Sarasota Photographer?

    Damon Powers

    I’ve loved photography and images ever since I was a small child and it brings me such joy and honor to now be capturing images and creating content. The ultimate goal for me, as a photographer, is to document and create stunning images that will last a lifetime. I love meeting new people. I love traveling to places I’ve never been to before. I love life and every opportunity to capture it through my lens.

  • Need an LA Photographer?

    Vidane Visuals

    Based out of the Inland Empire, our company specializes in Real Estate Photo and Video. Other services include Commercial Visuals, Promotional Visuals, and Marketing. Feel free to contact us with any further questions/concerns! My Team and I look forward to working with you!

  • Need A Sarasota Photographer?

    Kathleen Finnerty

    Kathleen has been documenting the natural world around her for over 25 years.  Her love for the natural beauty of Florida fuels her passion to preserve it for future generations.


Take the Photo

  1. Shoot a minimum of 30 different usable photographs. Take photos at different times of day and at different seasons
  2. Post a minimum variety of 20 different High-Resolution photos.
    1. Switch photos often with the change of seasons to keep listing engaging and up-to-date
  3. Provide captions and descriptions with each photo describing what room or space is shown.
  4. Photograph all the important rooms of the house including kitchen, living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms. Failure to photograph the entire house may create questions or doubt regarding the quality of the home.
  5. Blurry, low quality, and/or poorly staged photos may discourage guests from renting your property and signal to the guest that you are not dedicated to your property and the quality you provide
    1. If shooting pictures with a cell phone, the rear facing camera should feature a minimum of an 8-megapixel lens.

Selecting Title Picture

Whether you are self-hosting your property, or you are using a listing service, the ability to attract guest interest starts from the ‘Title Picture.’ When searching through thousands of potential properties, the ability to stand-out at first glance is the first step to make-it or break-it. Your ‘Title Picture’ should include the following features;

    1. Bright
    2. Colorful
    3. Feature an Item of Interest (artwork, hot tub, unique furniture piece or landscaping design)

The Stratford House – Vidane Visuals

Bella Brent Colony – Vidane Visuals

The Banyan – Damon Powers

The Great Blue Heron – Kathleen Finnerty

About The Author
Sean D. Altice

I am the Co-Owner and COO of Altez Vacations. I believe that vacations are a way to cleanse the mind, body, and soul. As a result, I find great passion in connecting travelers and guests to the local communities and cultures that make each destination unique. Through our shared experiences, we are able to break down barriers and share within our commonalities.

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