You don’t need expensive camera equipment, years of experience taking photos, or even tons of time to shoot professional-looking images that will help your home stand out in search results. All you really need is a smartphone, a spare hour or two, and this handy guide.
We know listing photos can be a big blocker to becoming a host—some 40 percent of those who try to list their space quit the process when it’s time to add pictures. Even long-standing successful hosts tell us they wish they could improve the quality of their images.
That’s why we want to empower you to take great photos of your space. These five tips promise to do just that.
1. Time It Right
Good lighting is the difference between a room looking dark and dreary versus one that looks warm and inviting. Only take photos during the day, when natural light is brightest. Adjust your shades or blinds to let in the sun, and turn on lamps to illuminate dark corners if necessary. Don’t rely on flash, which can make your photos look harsh.
- Pro Photography Rule to Remember: Using your pointer finger, tap on different areas of the room on your screen to find the ideal brightness. Click around the room to get the lighting just right!
2. Optimize Your iPhone
Here are three quick ways to make the most of an Apple iPhone:
1. Turn on Grid view: You’ll find this in Settings, under Photos & Camera.
2. Turn off your Flash: Open your Camera app. Find the lightning bolt icon in the top left corner and select “off.”
3. Make sure your camera is on the “Photo” setting: Your iPhone also allows you to take video, slo-mo, and other types of images. For taking listing pictures, though, the basic “Photo” setting works best. Turn it on within your Camera app by adjusting the menu of options on the bottom of your screen. Slide “Photo” to the middle. It’ll be highlighted in yellow when it’s turned on.
- Pro Photography Rule to Remember: You certainly don’t need an Apple product to take great photos—Androids or other smartphones work well, too. But since the majority of Airbnb hosts tell us they use an iPhone, we wanted to point these out.
3. Stage a Strong Shot
Finding the right place and angle from which to photograph your home is key. Remember these three tips for success:
Do… Hold your phone straight and horizontal.
Don’t… Raise your phone above your head to get a better view or hold it at an angle.
Do… Crouch or kneel, if needs be, to get the main piece of furniture in the room centered and vertically straight. In bedrooms, that means focusing on the bed; in living rooms, perhaps the sofa.
- Pro Photography Rule to Remember: If you’re using an iPhone, take advantage of the Grid view to make sure your shot is straight. Line up the grid with a wall or piece of furniture, such as a nightstand.
4. Aim for Volume
Your listing should tell a complete story: What exactly can potential guests expect from your space? Including enough photos of your home in the listing helps set expectations—and helps you find the right guests for your space. Airbnb’s photography team recommends including three to five images of each room guests can access in your listing.
- Pro Photography Rule to Remember: Shoot from different corners of each room to give a full picture.
5. Remember the Details
Guests love seeing the specifics that make your space unique: the collage of vacation photos hanging in your hallway, say, or the stack of antique quilts in your bedroom. Including pictures of these details can help distinguish your listing.
Pro Photography Rule to Remember: Hold your phone close to the detail you want to showcase. Touch the item on your screen, and your phone’s camera will bring it into focus!