The photos of your Airbnb listing will be the first impression prospective guests will have of your home. They will decide to contact you based on those photos. Your description is important, too, but a picture is worth a 1000 words and you want to say the correct ones. Suffice it to say that the photos you provide should be welcoming, enticing and honest.

You can upload some photos from your smartphone while you wait for your Airbnb free photography service. You did sign up for the free photography – right? Of course, you did!

Photo by Airbnb Photographer from 2011. Notice the composition and elements that are included. There is a hint of their living room.


Photo by me, from 2011. Now I know better, but something this simply got me bookings.


Before you start shooting here are 8 easy tips to make your home picture perfect: 


Clean up your space like your mother is coming over, and you want it to show her you have made it. Get rid of the magazines in the corner; make the bed with those new sheets; fluff the pillows; clean the kitchen, bathroom, mirrors and windows. Yes, do not forget the windows! If your space needs a fresh coat of paint, this is the time to do it. If cleaning is not your strong suit, hire a cleaning company and request that they do a deep cleaning. You want your space to look and feel fantastic.


Do your photo shoot during the day. Open your curtains and let the sunshine in through those clean windows. While you are shooting, make sure all your lights are on, especially in the corners. You don’t want any dark spaces or shadows. This is not the time to show off your film noir skills.


Make sure you take photos of your amazing art, great kitchen, fantastic bathroom, and balcony (if you have one). Every home has a unique style, and people want to see it.  But be honest about what they will get. Don’t show the balcony if they can’t use it.


If prospective guests like what they see in your photos, they will read your description. If the bedroom has a desk, great windows, and a fabulous bathroom, take photos of them all. Show what makes your neighborhood great – a park, restaurants, nearby attractions.

If you have pets that will be sharing your home with the guests, make sure you include photos of them, along with bios. If your space has a questionable feature, make sure you show it. If you have a narrow, steep staircase or a small bathroom as I do, take a photo of it and describe it. Make sure you show every detail.


Yes, this is my teeny tiny bathroom. It may be small, but it is clean, cute, and gets the job done.


Create a welcoming atmosphere. A bouquet of flowers, an open book, or a cup of tea can create a sense of space that your guests can see themselves enjoying. These things, neatly placed, can entice your guests to inquire about your home. If you need inspiration, look at the photos of the top listings in your city or research some interior design websites (ex. West Elm). Just so you know, I have an amazing designer who helped design my home and helps me “dress the set” so to speak for photo shoots.


Shoot from a corner to a corner and at a higher angle. You want your photos to be true to the space and this trick will show the most space. The professional photographer will probably use wide angle lens. This tip will capture the dimensions of the room.


You want to present the best photos of your space, but don’t overwhelm your guests with 40 photos or more. Two or three photos of each room should be enough.


After you have selected the best photos, write some key captions – the size of the bed, free Wifi, do you have cable, do you provide breakfast? Say it on your captions, keep them short, snappy and informative.

Airbnb will shoot each listing once, so make sure it is done right. They also will own the photos and will not provide you with copies of the photos. You will not be able to use them for any marketing beyond the Airbnb site.

I have made improvements and renovations to my spaces and have hired “Airbnb” photographers (independent of the site) to take the photos of my listings. I found some good photographers by googling “Airbnb photographers” and my location.

Do you have any tips for how to take great photos of your space? Want to share some of the amazing spaces you love? Let me know in the comments below.

If you want more tips, how-to and insider information on providing the best experience in this sharing economy, sign up for updates.

The best compliment you can receive from a guest are the words,“It looks just like the photos!” as they enter your space.

And as always, Happy Hosting!

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