7 Ways to Set Up Your Airbnb for a Photoshoot

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Grabbing potential guests’ attention online is the first step to a successful booking. But in a stack of other listings, what’s the best way to make your own property stand out? Staging your home to appeal to a variety of guests and their own unique needs can be a challenge. By following the steps outlined below, staging will never be easier.

1. Clearing Your Clutter 

One of the first things that can make your home appealing to guests is cleanliness. It should go without saying that your home must be clean, but when you are renting it out to strangers, that cleanliness needs to bump up a level. It’s details like the grout between your tiles, stains in your bathtub, and cords lying around the living room floor that may escape your attention when you’re photographing the space. 

Be sure to have a supply of baskets, jars, or containers on hand to hold loose items like remotes. Furniture safe tape is an easy and cost-effective way to hide those pesky wires from tableside lamps and televisions. Once all that loose clutter has found a new home, be sure to look at the details of your cleaning. Stains on porcelain are often difficult to clean, particularly in bathtubs. Simple fixes like clean non-slip mats are a great solution, which adds to the cleanliness and the décor. Be sure to wash your mats after each guest.

2. Decorate the Space

When decorating the space, there are several things to consider. First, there’s the size of the space. Then, there’s the average expected duration of the bookings and your overall location. If your space is on the beach, are your guests coming for shore-side getaways? Well then, setting up a serene seaside vibe could be a nice touch. Is your space a loft downtown? Exposed brick and chrome might be more appropriate. 

However you choose to decorate, the space should be safe, comfortable, and inviting. While each room may have its own individual features or themes, your space needs to look cohesive from room to room. 

On the flip side, if area is left undecorated, it feels sterile and unfinished. Your guests should feel like they are coming home when they walk into your listing, and that needs to be relayed in your photos. Homey touches like matching throw pillows, wall accents, and hanging mirrors go a long way in drawing in bookings.

3. Arrange Your Furniture

While you may think your furniture is fully functional where it is, how well does it photograph? In each room, stand from the angle where you’ll be taking your pictures. This will often be a corner or entryway. From this viewpoint, do any of your couches block windows or natural light? Does that coatrack you got from a garage sale last week block the interesting architecture in the entryway? These are the things you should be looking for. 

If your target guest likes to entertain, try showing off the size of the room. If there’s a couch in the center of the room, acting as an island, think about sliding it along the length of a wall. This allows for more walking space and lets the camera capture the full area. 

4. Highlight Amenities

In any standard hotel room, coffee and toiletries are a given. In an Airbnb, guests look for them, but they may not be listed as an amenity in the post. A good way to let your guests know you take their comfort and convenience seriously is to feature those amenities in your photos. 

Be sure to include your coffee pot and a basket of small breakfast items in your kitchen shots. Double-check that your coffee pot is stain-free and clear of any leftover coffee grounds. A bowl or platter of fresh fruit is also a wonderful touch.

Similarly, try placing a basket on your bathroom counter filled with travel-size shampoo, conditioner, spare toilet paper, and other appropriate amenities. Just make sure you don’t include anything that won’t be available to your guests during their stay. 

5. Lighting

No one wants the room they will be booking to be dark and dim. In order to make your space appear as appealing as possible, capitalize on any light available. While you probably don’t have professional light panels to bounce sunlight from room to room, you can still utilize any natural sunlight. Open your curtains, draw back your shades, and let the light in! Be sure not to take photos pointed directly at uncovered windows as this can cause very dark photos.

It may also make sense to install light gauzy curtains in communal spaces like the living room, allowing that space to be bright permanently. There may be spaces where opening curtains is not an option, or may not be enough to brighten the spaces. This is the time to invest in your interior lighting. The early morning and early evening are the best times to capture that softer light. 

6. Staging

Now that your space is clean and decorated properly, you can set the space. Think of how your guests will potentially be using the rooms, and stage them for those gatherings. Are your clients on business trips? set a desk area with a laptop and notepad. Is your dining room stunning? Take the time to set the table and place a bottle of wine and carafe in the center. 

Setting up your room to showcase its best features in a way your guests may be using them is enticing. It helps them envision the vacation they could be having in your home.

7. Equipment

Now that the space is ready to be photographed, you need the right equipment. While your average cellphone camera has an amazing capacity to photograph these days, it may be useful to invest in a DSLR camera. Even if that isn’t an option, other equipment is necessary. A tripod to hold your camera steady is a must to keep your picture in focus without blurring. 

And if you do choose to use your cellphone, a ring light is an affordable add-on. Many ring lights come with a variety of lighting options, and usually include a stand to hold your phone. You might want to look for options that come with remotes, so you can set up your camera and then back away. This can help you avoid unwanted shadows for a more inviting listing. 

Final Thoughts

Taking the time and attention to create appealing photos of your listing can go a long way in appealing to potential guests as they search the many listings in your area. Follow these steps to create the attractive views that will help your future guests choose your place above the rest.

About the Author Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones is an award-winning writer and editor from Oklahoma City, OK. Her work has been published on influential sites, including Entrepreneur and International Business Times. She spent several years in property management and leasing, handling short-term rentals, student housing, and community rentals. Rachel is also experienced in staging and real estate photography. With a B.A. in English in her back pocket, Rachel combines her passion for property management with her storytelling ability to offer Airbnb hosts helpful advice as they monetize their homes.