When it comes to property listings, first impressions really do matter. It’s crucial your property is as visually attractive as possible. Here are some tried and tested tips from our expert team on how to take great photos and using them in your listing for maximise impact and appeal.
DIY or professional?
It’s easy to take aesthetic pictures with a phone, especially with photo editing apps. However, there’s a difference between you taking a good shot and a professional photographer taking a superb shot.
When it comes to finding a professional photographer, look for someone who has proven experience in shooting homes and interiors. For UK property owners, we recommend using the photo agency Snappr, who offer on-demand property photos shoots in locations all over England, Scotland and Wales.
If budget is limited, you could potentially try a budding amateur photographer who is keen to build on their portfolio and who will offer value for money in exchange for the experience. Just make sure there’s a clause in the contract that covers you if you’re not happy with the result!
2. Find the perfect hero shot
This is about finding that one lead shot that’s going to draw in your potential guests from the get-go. It’s the first shot they will see on your listings, so needs to have that wow factor that inspires, but also creates an emotional connection.
TravelNest Tip: Our research found that 79% of people were more inclined to book properties with hero images of attractive external shots of the property.
If your property has a stunning façade, use it as the main image on your listing. If not, don’t worry. Anything that has a feel-good factor will help capture attention. If you have scenic views from the bedroom or lovely living areas, then that’s your next best hero shot.
3. Shortlist the areas and rooms you’ll be using
Once you’ve drawn in potential guests via the perfect hero shot, you need to keep their interest in your property. Creating a list of all the rooms and the specific areas that you’ll be shooting will keep things organised. Also, bear in mind the order they should appear in your online gallery.
TravelNest Tip: Prioritising the living room over the bedrooms is important. People want to see where they’ll be spending the majority of their time, so putting bedrooms after living spaces in your online gallery is more enticing for guests.
4. Take plenty of photos
The major platforms such as Booking.com, Expedia and HomeAway recommend that listings include at least 24 photos, however don’t be restricted by this number.
Properties with 20+ images receive 6 times the number of enquiries than those with less than 5 photos, so it really pays to add more good quality images to your listing. Try to include 4 photos per room type, one of which is of the bathroom.
TravelNest Tip: If you have a small property and are wondering what additional photos to include, we recommend taking photos of your amenities to highlight them to guests e.g. the welcome basket, toiletries, kitchen appliances e.g. coffee machine, kettle/toaster as well as the TV, DVD player etc.
Also include at least one exterior photo to show the outside of the property and include room views and entrance photos. If you have a garden, patio or any outside space, be sure to show this off, and include garden furniture or BBQ equipment too. If you need more inspiration, you could also include photos of attractions that are near to your property that would be good places for your guests to visit.
5. Prepare for the shoot
It might sound obvious, but make sure the place is absolutely spotless when you come to take pictures. Clear away any clutter and make sure kitchen surfaces are gleaming, bins are emptied, windows are sparkling clean, bed sheets smoothed and toilet seats down.
6. Stage the rooms
Next, think about room staging. Flowers can give a room warmth. A good tip is to use colours to complement any textiles you already have in the room, such as curtains or cushions. Books stacked stylishly on a coffee table help to add personality and a bit of character.
Depending on the weather on the day of the shoot (try not to shoot on a day that’s not overly grey and dark), you may want to turn lights and lamps on. If you have a fire (gas, electric or a real log burner), put this on to add a cosy feel to the room.
In the kitchen, don’t go to too much effort staging elaborate food shots. Although these might be popular on platforms like Instagram, our research shows they are much lower in terms of guest priority, so focus on getting the basics right first. However, a neatly placed teapot and cups, to suggest a ‘lived in’ space can work. In the bathroom, fill up the tub. You could even put a bottle of champagne and glasses in shot too.
7. Getting the best angle
People want to get a true feeling for the rooms in your property, so try to get your angles right. This can be a bit tricky and is often what differentiates a great photo from a so-so one. Here are our tried and tested tips to help you get the best from your spaces:
Stand in the corner of a room with your lens set to its widest setting.
Use a tripod if you have one.
Height always helps with room shots so try to take some photos standing on a chair in a corner of the room. Please be careful and use a sturdy chair!
Another good trick is to take photos through doorways – it tends to give you more space for a better angle.
If your rooms are on the small side, try and get the widest shot. Then go for accent shots to showcase different areas of the room – think cosy armchair and side table, or sofa and reading lamp.
Also, one common mistake to avoid is taking photos facing the sun – it will make your room look really dark. This is why you see a lot of room shots with closed blinds! If you can, always make sure the light is behind you.
8. Edit the shots, but not the truth
Don’t worry if your pictures don’t look perfect straight from the camera. There are lots of photo editing apps available to help you tidy things up post-shoot. But don’t go overboard. It becomes very obvious when editing has crossed the line! Unless you really know what you’re doing it’s best to stick to simple things, such as brightness and contrast and maybe a little cropping. For the more advanced editor, a little sharpening here, and saturation there can work wonders.
TravelNest Tip: People will choose to book your property based on your photos. Guest expectations and the reality of staying in your property therefore have to match - repeat business and positive recommendations depend on it.
❌ What not to include in photos
People and pets
Signs and text that display pricing or brand names other than the property name
Identical or near duplicate images, such as the same view at a different angle
Poorly lit rooms
Black and white photos or heavily filtered images
Photos taken using a fish-eye lens - this distorts the photos
Adding photos to your listing
All photos should be uploaded as landscape orientation, not portrait. In general, online listings are designed for photos that are landscape, and these also look far better on mobile devices.
When it comes to photo resolution, go for the highest possible resolution you can, we recommend 2880 pixels on the longest side. Blurry photos do your listing no favours and will simply put guests off from booking your property. More information about adding photos to your account can be found here.