How to select photos for your vacation rental listing

Photos of your vacation rental are the first thing that will attract the attention of your potential guests. An MIT study found that people can process visual content seen for as little as 13 milliseconds, much faster than written content. Highlighting the perks and beauty of your listing with your image portfolio is a great opportunity to distinguish your property from others. To make sure that your photos show the best aspects of your property, follow along our tips on how to prepare the best image portfolio.

Keep in mind the story you want to tell about your property

After you take good quality photos with your phone and edit them using one of the simple yet powerful enhancement tools, you will be ready to select and upload your photos with captions. During the process, keep thinking about your listing as a sales package: it needs to tell a consistent story of your warm, welcoming property that others will want to visit. You can think of it as a home tour where you are doing a lot of handholding to highlight the best parts of your property and help people imagine what their stay will be like.

Include 3-5 photos per room

You should include every single space in your home, including the living room, the bedroom(s), the bathroom(s), the hallway, the kitchen, and any other space your house may have (balconies, patios, roof terraces, or gardens). Such visibility will enable visitors to build a mental image of your space and reduce unknowns in what they should expect.

Don’t forget to include images from outside of your home

Other images to include are photos of the entrance to your property, and what your property looks like from the outside. These images will make it easier for visitors to identify your house upon arrival. You may also consider adding images of a favorite restaurant across the street or a nearby tourist attraction, but always put such images at the very end and do not include more than just a few. Your listing is the ultimate source of information on your property for potential visitors, so make sure to stay focused. If visitors like your listing, there is potentially plenty of photos of your neighborhood they can find online.

photo of a building entrance with two distict doors
Showing what your property/door looks like from the outside will provide an increased sense of security for your potential guests.

Leverage images to share more detailed information about your property

You can get more creative with the types of information you share with your visitors. Are you looking to attract people who will work from home? Include a screenshot of your WiFi speed test. Does your property provide privacy with bedrooms not sharing any walls? Include a floor plan to demonstrate. Such additional information could highlight the advantages of your property and help people choose your property over others when it comes to making a decision.

a floor plan for a small 1 bedroom apartment
Floor plans are very helpful to give a sense of size and layout of your property.

Include a variety of compositions

You should include wide, mid-range, and close-up images, each serve a different purpose. Photos taken with a wide lens capture as much as possible to allow your viewers get a feel of the entire space. Mid-range photos are the most common and versatile, which is why it is helpful to highlight different parts of the room to provide a familiar feel of size and scale. You can also use close-up images to highlight styled parts of your home: a designer lamp, a nice painting on the wall, or a thoughtful welcome package you provide to your guests.

two images from the same room side by side. left image showing the entire couch with a slice of the armchair next to it. the right image focused on the armchair, with the couch peeking from the right side

A variety of compositions will allow you to effectively highlight the style and details of your place.

Pick the most flattering image as your first

The first image will be your cover photo to be displayed in search results and is typically shown as the largest image on various listing sites. It will serve as the most important attention-grabber to get visitors, so it should be the most flattering photo of your property. For the rest of your images, try to group them by categories (living room images, followed by kitchen images, etc.) and add them in order. Try to replicate the feel of a video walkthrough, people appreciate the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the layout beforehand!

The last touches

After you finish uploading, don’t forget to review your listing as a guest. Skim through your captions, the order of your images to make sure your portfolio is informative and comprehensive. It could be a good idea to ask a friend or family member to review as well, a fresh perspective could help you see some of the details you might have missed. Remember to do regular reviews of your image gallery to make sure your content is up to date. If you add new services, amenities to your space, make sure to highlight them in your photos. Seasonal updates also help if you have the opportunity: you might want to include a photo of your fireplace or pool earlier in your portfolio depending on the season.

Let’s elevate your visual marketing to the next level