Airbnb Photographer: Should You Hire One to Take Photos for Your Listing?

airbnb photographer

By The Hospitable Team

When potential guests browse through Airbnb listings, photos that display what rentals offer are the first thing that catches their attention. Listings with beautiful photos attract more travelers and get more views.

When done correctly, each photo can become a powerful tool that can influence a guest’s booking decision and help you maximize your bookings on Airbnb. That’s why it’s important to upload perfect images that support your property description, highlight the best features and amenities, and display your rental space at its finest.

Does it mean you need to hire a professional Airbnb photographer, and how much does it cost? Can you learn to take great photos of your Airbnb property? Let’s find out.  

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Professional Airbnb Photographer?

When travelers are looking for a place to stay on Airbnb or any other booking platform, you only have 3 to 8 seconds to catch their attention. Pictures speak louder than words, but if you choose the wrong main photo, your potential guest will scroll to the next listings.

On the other hand, great high-resolution images can help your listing stand out and get noticed. According to Airbnb, hosts who use professional photos may earn more than other hosts in their area—they tend to increase their earnings by 20% compared to other listings in the neighborhood. Listings with professional photos also get up to 20% more bookings.

A good Airbnb photographer can show your STR property in the best way possible and come up with creative ideas to highlight your best features so travelers will be excited about booking your place. That means that hiring a professional photographer to take pictures for your Airbnb listing can be a smart move to help you increase your occupancy rate, increase your rental income, and grow a successful business.

Managing Airbnb involves many responsibilities and can be time-consuming, especially if you have multiple properties. That’s why many hosts use vacation rental software like Hospitable, which can help you automate repetitive tasks and save many hours of your precious time.

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Airbnb Photographer Cost

Airbnb photographers focus on featuring the uniqueness of the space and conveying different moods and feelings. They charge more than real estate photographers who take listing images to help realtors quickly sell the property, so their main focus is to show the property’s space, the room layout, architectural details, etc.

Short-term rental photography is about visual storytelling and creating stunning images to help you repeatedly sell your space. Its goal is to create an emotional connection with potential guests and entice them to choose a particular listing for their stay. It requires careful attention to detail and staging to make the place look inviting and full of character.

Airbnb photographers must have the skills and knowledge to use professional-grade photography equipment effectively, including a high-quality camera, lenses, lighting equipment, and a tripod. They must have experience in interior design photography. They understand how to rearrange the furniture in short-term rentals, add decorative elements to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere and capture the essence of the surrounding area.

Airbnb photographers must be able to compose shots and adjust settings for different lighting conditions to enhance the visual appeal and provide an immersive experience. They must also know how to edit photos to bring out their full potential. As you see, these are advanced skills.

Airbnb understands this and even offers a pro photo program for hosts to help them connect with professional Airbnb photographers. You can contact Airbnb, include URL links for the requested listings, and request a price quote.

Remember that the Airbnb photographer cost varies based on your property’s size and geographic location. If you accept the pro photography offer, they will connect you with a local photographer—it usually takes about 48 hours, and you can schedule a photo shoot. A freelance photographer will take 2-3 images per room, and after professional editors enhance their quality, the photos will be uploaded to your listing page.

It’s important to remember that professional photo shoots are only offered once per listing and are not refundable once they begin. The good news is that you won’t need to pay anything upfront because the photoshoot cost will be subtracted from your future payouts. But you can only take advantage of this Airbnb pro photography service if freelance photographers are available in your city.

How to Choose an Airbnb Photographer?

You can also hire an Airbnb photographer yourself—this decision ultimately depends on your goals as a host and your budget. But remember that just hiring someone with a camera doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the best results. You should research professional photographers in your local area, review their portfolios, and discover their services.

Choose someone whose style you like, reach out to them, and discuss your needs and expectations. Ensure you clearly express your ideas to your photographer so that you’re both on the same page before the job starts. As an SRT host, you know best what makes your property unique, which amenities can attract the attention of your target guests, and which features should be highlighted in photos.

Learn more in our masterclass, covering tips for taking photos and decorating short-term rentals.

How to Prepare for Your Photo Shoot

A professional photographer can make your listing shine, but you need to prepare your rental space for a photo shoot and ensure it’s spotlessly clean and looks its best.

  • Declutter your space and remove valuables and personal items you don’t want to appear in the photos.
  • Clean all the rooms you want to take pictures of, vacuum all the floors, and dust the surfaces.
  • Turn off all the lights and open blinds and curtains to help bring in natural light.
  • Make your beds with freshly ironed and tucked bedding.
  • Straighten and align cushions and pillows on furniture.
  • Arrange decorative objects on all tables and shelves in living areas.
  • Clean countertops and display a few top kitchen appliances, for example, a coffee maker or a toaster oven.
  • Arrange toiletries and hang towels neatly in the bathrooms.

Can You Do It Yourself?

Professional photography can be expensive, so you can do it yourself if you enjoy taking photos and have time to edit them. You don’t need a fancy camera for that—it’s possible to take professionally-looking photos that showcase your space effectively and attract bookings using your smartphone.

Check out our guide, where we share tips on taking great pictures for an Airbnb listing to make a powerful first impression on your potential guests.

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