top of page
  • Writer's pictureLeon Cook

Optimal Listing Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Stunning Shots

Updated: Nov 9, 2023


In the highly competitive landscape of the short-term rental industry, first impressions matter, and often, these impressions are formed through the photos presented in your listings. High-quality, captivating images can make the difference between a property that's overlooked and one that's frequently booked. This guide aims to provide you with a step-by-step approach to achieving stunning shots that will help your property stand out in the crowded marketplace.

old-school staging cameras

The Importance of Visual Storytelling

In today's digital age, consumers are inundated with visuals—photos, videos, infographics, and more. Among all this noise, how do you make your property resonate with potential guests? The answer lies in visual storytelling. A well-composed photograph can evoke a sense of place, ambiance, and character, essentially telling a compelling story that words alone cannot. It's not just about showing rooms; it's about conveying the experience awaiting the guest.

Preparing Your Property for the Shoot

Capturing the perfect photo starts long before you press the shutter button. Your property needs to be in tip-top condition to photograph well. Here are some essential steps to prepare your property for the camera's lens:

Decluttering is Key

  • Why It Matters: A cluttered space can be distracting and take away from the property's features.

  • Action Steps: Remove unnecessary items, straighten cushions, and ensure that surfaces are clean and clear.

Staging for Success

  • Why It Matters: Well-placed furniture and decor can enhance the visual appeal of a room.

  • Action Steps: Consider the flow of each space and arrange furniture to complement it. Add fresh flowers or artwork to give rooms a lived-in feel.

Light It Up

  • Why It Matters: Good lighting can make or break a photo.

  • Action Steps: Utilize natural light by scheduling shoots during the day and opening all curtains and blinds. For indoor lighting, opt for warm, soft lights to create a cozy atmosphere.

Color Coordination

  • Why It Matters: A cohesive color scheme can elevate the aesthetics of your property.

  • Action Steps: Stick to a neutral palette with occasional pops of color for visual interest.

Attention to Detail

  • Why It Matters: Small details can make a significant impact on how inviting a space appears.

  • Action Steps: Set the dining table, fluff pillows, and ensure that all appliances and fixtures are sparkling clean.

By taking the time to prepare each space meticulously, you set the stage for photographs that not only showcase your property but also capture the imagination of potential guests.

Camera Gear and Settings

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need an arsenal of expensive gear to take stunning property photos. However, the right equipment and settings can definitely give you an edge. Here's what you need to know:

Choosing the Right Camera

  • DSLR vs. Mirrorless: While DSLRs offer more lens choices and generally better battery life, mirrorless cameras are lighter and more convenient for quick shoots.

  • Smartphone Cameras: Modern smartphones have highly capable cameras that can suffice for online listings, especially when used correctly.

digital camera with cool lens

Lens Matters

  • Wide-Angle Lens: Ideal for capturing small spaces without distorting the room’s proportions too much.

  • Prime Lens: Useful for detailed shots, such as features and fixtures.

Setting the Scene: ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed

  • ISO: Keep it low (around 100-200) to minimize noise.

  • Aperture: A smaller aperture (higher f-number) will give you a greater depth of field, making more of the scene in focus.

  • Shutter Speed: Adjust depending on lighting conditions; slower shutter speed for low light (use a tripod) and faster for well-lit scenes.

Tripod for Stability

  • Why It’s Necessary: A tripod ensures that your camera stays stable, particularly important for low-light conditions where a slower shutter speed is needed.

Optional: External Flash and Reflectors

  • When to Use: These can be useful for filling in shadows and balancing the lighting, but they are generally not necessary for daytime shoots with good natural light.

By understanding and utilizing the appropriate camera gear and settings, you're well on your way to producing listing photos that are both visually stunning and highly effective in showcasing your property.

Composition Techniques

The composition of a photograph is the arrangement of visual elements within the frame. A well-composed photo is visually engaging and directs the viewer's attention to key focal points. Here are some essential composition techniques to keep in mind:

Rule of Thirds

  • What It Is: Imagine your image divided into nine equal segments by two vertical and two horizontal lines. The rule of thirds suggests placing key elements along these lines, or at their intersections.

  • Why It's Useful: This technique creates more balanced and engaging shots.

Leading Lines

  • What It Is: Leading lines are visual lines that lead the viewer's eyes toward a particular point in the image.

  • Why It's Useful: Use architectural features like hallways or fences to guide the eye into the photo, creating a sense of depth and perspective.

Symmetry and Balance

  • What It Is: Symmetry involves mirroring portions of your scene around a central axis, while balance involves arranging elements so that no one part of the image overshadows the rest.

  • Why It's Useful: Symmetry can create a harmonious, pleasing aesthetic, while a well-balanced photo feels more natural and less manipulated.


  • What It Is: Framing involves using elements within your scene to create a 'frame' around your subject matter.

  • Why It's Useful: This draws the viewer’s attention directly to the subject, making the photo more focused and impactful.

Negative Space

  • What It Is: Negative space refers to the areas around and between the subject of your photograph.

  • Why It's Useful: Utilizing negative space can make your subject stand out more and adds a minimalist, uncluttered feel to the photo.

By applying these composition techniques, you can create listing photos that are not only visually pleasing but also effective in highlighting the best features of your property.

Shooting Different Spaces

Each room or space in your property serves a different function and, as such, requires a distinct approach when being photographed. Here's a breakdown of how to capture various types of spaces effectively:

well framed living room

Living Room

  • Focus Points: Highlight comfortable seating arrangements, unique decor, and any entertainment features like a flat-screen TV.

  • Angles: Opt for wide-angle shots that capture the room's layout, but also consider detail shots of art pieces or other notable features.


  • Focus Points: Showcase clean countertops, modern appliances, and well-organized storage spaces.

  • Angles: Overhead shots can highlight an island or unique floor tiling, while eye-level shots are best for showing off appliance quality and cabinetry.


  • Focus Points: The bed should be the focal point here, but also consider highlighting any reading nooks, balconies, or large windows.

  • Angles: A corner shot can capture the room's size and layout, while close-ups can detail textures and materials like bed linens.


  • Focus Points: Focus on clean, reflective surfaces, modern fixtures, and any luxurious touches like a soaking tub.

  • Angles: Use wide-angle shots sparingly due to the smaller size of most bathrooms; instead, focus on details and individual elements.

Outdoor Areas

  • Focus Points: Showcase any decks, pools, or garden areas, emphasizing space for relaxation or entertainment.

  • Angles: Wide shots are ideal for capturing the extent of outdoor spaces, but also include detail shots of garden elements, pool features, or outdoor furniture.

Special Features

  • Focus Points: If your property has any special features like a home gym, theater room, or unique architectural details, make sure these are highlighted.

  • Angles: The best angle will depend on the feature. For instance, a panoramic shot might work best for a home theater, while a detail shot is more appropriate for intricate architectural elements.

By taking a targeted approach to shooting different spaces, you can provide a holistic view of your property, allowing potential guests to visualize their stay more effectively.

Post-Production: Editing Your Photos

Capturing the shots is just part of the process. Editing your photos in post-production can elevate their quality, ensuring that they present your property in the best possible light. Below are some key areas to focus on during editing:

Color Correction

  • What It Is: Balancing the colors to ensure that whites are pure, and there are no unwanted color tints in your images.

  • Why It's Important: Accurate color representation ensures that your property looks as good in photos as it does in reality.

Exposure Adjustments

  • What It Is: Fine-tuning the light levels to bring out details in shadows and highlights.

  • Why It's Important: Proper exposure can make spaces appear brighter and more inviting, thereby attracting more potential guests.

Straightening and Cropping

  • What It Is: Adjusting the orientation and dimensions of your photo to enhance its composition.

  • Why It's Important: A well-cropped and straightened image focuses the viewer’s attention on the essential elements of each space.


  • What It Is: Slight adjustments to make the details of your photos pop.

  • Why It's Important: Sharpening can give your images a professional look by making the details crisp and clear.

Removing Distractions

  • What It Is: Eliminating minor distractions like power cables, reflections, or other unwanted elements.

  • Why It's Important: A clean image without distractions allows viewers to focus entirely on the property's features.

Software Tools

  • Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop: These professional tools offer a wide array of editing options but come with a steeper learning curve.

  • User-Friendly Options: Software like Snapseed or Canva offer more straightforward, user-friendly interfaces for basic editing tasks.

By investing time in post-production, you not only improve the technical quality of your photos but also better convey the atmosphere and unique features of your property.

Above and Abroad's Approach to Photography

In line with our commitment to transforming rental experiences, Above and Abroad takes a comprehensive approach to photography. We understand that our listings are the first touchpoint potential guests have with our brand, which is why we aim for nothing less than perfection. For this reason, we partner with SuperHostListings, a specialized service that offers a full suite of visual content creation.

Photos that Speak Volumes

SuperHostListings provides us with high-quality, professionally edited photos that capture the essence and atmosphere of each property. These photos go through a rigorous post-production process to ensure they meet our exacting standards.

Engaging Videos

In addition to static images, SuperHostListings produces engaging videos that offer a dynamic view of our properties. These videos serve to place potential guests in the unique experiences that await them, further enriching our listings.

Immersive 3D Tours

The modern traveler seeks an immersive experience even before they arrive at the property. SuperHostListings' 3D tours give guests the ability to virtually walk through a property, getting a feel for the layout, size, and ambiance.

Elevated Perspectives with Drone Shots

To capture the grandeur of our more expansive properties and their surroundings, SuperHostListings employs drone photography. These aerial shots offer a unique perspective that standard photography simply can't provide, adding an extra layer of allure to our listings.

Drone Shot of house in neighborhood

By partnering with SuperHostListings, we ensure that each property is showcased in its best light, providing a visual feast that resonates with our target audience and sets us apart in the competitive short-term rental market.

1 view0 comments


bottom of page