Business AspectsPhotography and ListingsVacation Rental Owners

How to create emotion through your vacation rental photos (and get more bookings)

Sitting back and enjoying the perfect view while on vacation is more than just relaxing, it might be exhilarating or romantic, part of a new, wonderful memory. As a vacation rental property owner, your business revolves around creating these moments and providing everything your guests might need to relax in comfort. A fantastic way to show just what your property can deliver is to advertise with effective holiday rental photography. Your aim as a marketer here is to encourage your potential guests to feel swept away by the moment just through looking at a photograph; it sounds tricky written down but is simpler than you think.

We’ve all heard the proverb, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” so why not set the mood right? Find out more in the slides below:

Vacations Need to be Positive

What defines a successful vacation is a consistent feeling of positivity, from the initial excitement at booking and traveling to the satisfaction and contentment in settling in. The moment things stop being exciting or feel out of sync, the vacation stops feeling fun. As a photographer, you’re looking to replicate or at least encourage those emotions in your photos.

A good place to start might be considering what you feel when you look at photos of a vacation destination. Is it excitement, or maybe trepidation and curiosity at what you might discover? Once you’ve identified an emotion, try and identify what specifically triggers the emotion in the image. Is it a panoramic view? Or maybe it’s a specific activity that’s photographed.

Mimic a Memory

When taking photos of your property, try and consider how a potential guest might feel when looking at them. In particular, try and imagine how they might relate to an experience or story when looking at the photo.

A good technique might be mimicking a memory or even idea that you might have of a successful vacation. Doing this will help inform a realistic photo of a scene that’s easy to recreate. This works simply in action.

For example, a photo of an empty apartment interior with minimal furniture might be difficult to feel excited about. In contrast, a well-furnished apartment with a lavish dinner set out on the table with candlesticks creates a dramatic but realistic atmosphere and allows the potential guest to start putting themselves in the scene.

This is an example of using photography to create a narrative; you want to deliver a stimulating scene that feels engaging and not just informative.

Use What You’ve Got

Depending on your budget, you might be able to hire a professional photographer to deliver images for you. Chances are, if you’re reading an article on how to take perfect photos, you might just be planning on making them yourself. If you are, and you don’t have access to professional equipment don’t be intimidated.

Photography is a valued and technical career but taking effective photos of your property is something that you can manage yourself. Smartphones often have high-tech cameras, if you happen to have a good quality camera on your phone, don’t be afraid to use it.

If you do know someone that can lend you a professional camera, make sure you get them to teach you the basics before taking it home, as they can be confusing to use. Your main aim when photographing is fundamentally achievable, you’re looking to create an emotional connection. As long as you can deliver clear images, you can manipulate your environment and capitalize on weather and atmosphere to take photos that encourage the imagination.

Think Things Through

Never show up to a photoshoot unprepared. Try and consider the job as a professional photo-shoot and plan your photos accordingly.

Consider the time of day (research the “Golden Hour” which is the time just before sunset), as well as the weather and season for the best images. Also, consider your guests’ motivations, why are they visiting? If this feels too ambiguous, why not try considering why you would visit? Does the bedroom have the perfect view of the city? Or maybe there’s a balcony that would be ideal for a romantic sunset meal.

By identifying potential scenes and positive qualities of the property in advance, you’ll be mentally prepared, physically equipped, and ready to take better photos.

Contrast and Brightness

When taking the photos try and capture colors in their best light, achieving a good contrast wherever possible. This doesn’t mean editing the photos on an app and increasing the brightness and contrast to maximum. You’re looking to create a realistic image, not a cartoon.

Creative photography means framing your subject, (the property) in an interesting perspective. Are the outer walls bare and the outside scenery busy?

If so, angle a shot that captures both in ample perspective. Considering the best places in the building for more creative shots in advance will help you create considered and thought through photos that look professional.


Bear in mind that the photos will be listed in a sequence. Try and match the photo sequence to the description, describing the mentioned rooms in turn and when relevant.

Base your leading shot on the description. If the description starts with a romanticized vision of what the property might offer, have a more artistic first image that complements. Keep your photos relevant and suited to the property you’re advertising.

Angling the Shot

Once you’ve got your camera ready, it’s tempting to just start photographing right away. Eye-level images however are far less effective than lower angled ones.

Despite how contrary it might seem try not to shoot your photos from eye level. By crouching down and lowering the camera you’ll maximize the overall perspective and improve the quality of the photo, creating a more professional impression.

If you’re struggling to get the entirety of the room into a single frame, try squeezing into a corner or walking into a hallway to try and get as full a photo as possible. This will maximize the camera lens’ ability and improve the overall perspective, allowing you to get a wider angle shot.

If your camera has a panorama mode, now is the time to use it. Most newer-model smartphones luckily carry this feature, why not try it out and capture a full image of the room you’re in.

Remember, always shoot in landscape, never portrait! You’re not taking a selfie here and you need to capture as much of a scene as possible, using landscape will help with this.

Use the Weather

It’s hard photographing without professional lights, especially on a cloudy day. Try and take your photos on days with good weather, plan your shots throughout the year if possible, taking seasonal images that can be swapped throughout the year.

This will ensure your vacation rental profile looks relevant and minimizes the amount of effort you have to put in over a longer time period. The perfect opportunity to take photos is at ‘golden hour’, just before sunset. The warm cast of the sunlight will bring your home to life and lend any surrounding colors a beautiful vibrancy that will shine through even on smartphones.

¼ Rule

Ensure that at least a quarter of the photos you take are of the surrounding area, these photos might be of local attractions and activities, or even restaurants and beaches that are nearby. By integrating things to do in the photo sequence, your guests will feel invested in the possibilities surrounding your property and might even start looking into other things that your area offers. Having these images integrated within your advertisement is a brilliant way of encouraging potential guests to get excited about staying, creating a real emotional connection between your property and them.

Consider Hiring a Professional

Photography can be complicated work and the work of a professional always shines through. If a seasoned professional is a little out of budget, why not consider contacting a local college or putting up a request at a local university?

Students are always on the lookout for practical experience and often have access to better quality cameras.

If you’re dedicated to taking your photos personally, consider taking them on a long-term basis, throughout the year. This will allow you to capture each season at its best and also acquire a portfolio of different images to swap through to keep everything interesting and relevant.

A good photo incites an emotional reaction and establishes a sense of connection between the viewer and the image. When taking photos of a property, there are countless ways to capitalize on a sense of lifestyle to create an effective scene that captures emotion. Whether it be excitement, romance, relaxation, curiosity, or just positivity, by planning and adhering to technical advice, your photos will help maximize your property’s potential and encourage its success.

Related posts
Vacation Rental Owners

Best Towels for Airbnb and Vacation Rental: Awesome Buying Guide

Vacation Rental Owners

12 Tips to Grow Your Vacation Rental Revenue with Email Marketing

MarketingUsing TechnologyVacation Rental Owners

Vacation Rental Virtual Tour: Tools and Best Practices

Vacation Rental Owners

Vacation Rental Tax Deductions Guide To Reduce Your Expenses

Sign up for our Newsletter and
stay informed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *