10 tips for great holiday rental pictures

Did you know that guests spend an average of only 9.5 seconds on a listing before switching to the next one?

This means you have a limited amount of time to convince these clients to stay on your advert and to book it.

Making sure that your holiday rental pictures are top quality is your best-selling point.  You want to make sure your pictures catch potential clients´ eyes and make them want to see more.

Of course, you can hire a professional photographer to take your pictures but if you decide to take them yourselves you really only need to master a few tricks to make your interior look fantastic.

Here are our 10 tips for great holiday rental pictures : 

1) Declutter, declutter, declutter


First thing first, you need to declutter.

Less is more” is the mantra here and nothing looks worse on pictures than a messy space. Before you start taking pictures make sure you put all your personal belongings inside your closets/ drawers. Your space needs to be “de-personalized”. Take your family pictures off the fridge, all your personal toiletries from the bathroom etc. We want a nice and clean canvas.

If you are unsure about what to do with an item…put it away!

Little details have big impacts and clients judge a book by its cover. Stained windows, kitchen countertops or mirrors just don’t look professional. Make sure the place is spotless. That goes as well for outside spaces if you own one. The terrace or porch should be clean and if you own a pool, make sure it is impeccable.

It would be such a shame to have your beautiful space overshadowed by unfortunate details that could easily be fixed!

2) Depersonalize


Family pictures, children’s drawings and other personal knick-knacks are what make a house feel like a home.

The issue with them is that they make the space look a little too much like YOUR home and not enough like a HOLIDAY RENTAL. 

Remove family portraits and replace them with more neutral frames and prints that match your style.

I personally purchased a couple of cheap prints from Desenio.com and framed them with frames from my local DIY shop.


3) Let the light in


Natural light is your best friend here.

Make sure you take pictures when the sun is high, so around midday would be great. Open all the shutters and curtains. If your windows have mosquitoes nets, make sure they are up as this will create shadows and reflections on pictures.

Turn on all the lights: ceiling lamps, side table lamps, overhead ones in the kitchen. Don’t hesitate to move a lamp from one room to the other if you feel like a room needs extra lighting.

This trick will help you take bright and beautiful pictures of your holiday rental while also creating a warmer, more welcoming atmosphere.

Remember to take pictures with the main light source in the room behind you!

4) Stage your space


Now that your space is clean, de-cluttered and well-lit you need to stage it.

No need to spend a lot of money, little details go a long way.

By choosing some key decoration items you will make your space shine. Home staging can really make a huge difference between an okay picture and a “WOW” one. Having a clean and de-cluttered space doesn’t mean it has to be sterile and cold.


There are many inspiring home staging DIY ideas on Pinterest so make sure to check them out!

The key is to find the balance, these details need to highlight your space without being overpowering.

Some examples you could use : 

  • Add some brightly coloured pillows to contrast with a white space
  • A couple of potted plants to add an element of nature inside. If you have some good quality fake plants you can also use them.
  • In the kitchen, a fruit bowl filled with oranges or lemons to add a pop of colour.
  • I personally like to set a beautiful table in the dining area, with some elegant wine glasses and plates and maybe some flowers!


5) Make the bed


I know this seems like common sense but oh boy…the things I’ve seen on some Airbnb listings 😮

The bed is one of the features guests will use the most, you want to make sure it looks appealing and comfortable. Just think about the last nice hotel room you’ve booked – this is the look you want to emulate.

I would recommend staying away from too many patterns or bright colors. Stick to neutrals: cream, whites, greys and beiges.

You can get cheap neutral sets from Ikea or Zara Home and then accessorize with some throw pillows. However, if you still want to introduce some patterns, use a throw or a pillow and only use one patterned item.

Some extra tips : 

  • Creases look terrible on pictures. If you have some time, iron your top sheet for a flawless result.
  • Pillows look nicer on pictures when put up against the headboard instead of just lying on the sheet.
  • A heavy bedspread will add a little luxurious touch to the space



 6) Take pictures at waist level


Waist level is the best way to get all the features of your space.

Taking them too high will shrink the room and distort proportions. Taking them too low will add lots of shadow to the pictures.

Waist level is also ideal because you don’t get too much ceiling in the picture. This would shrink your room and steer the attention away from what you want to display.

This applies to pool pictures too. Taking them lower will make your pool look way bigger!

 7) Highlight your best features


Take a good look at your space and write down what you think are your best selling points.

Do you have a beautiful view from one of the bedrooms? Does your kitchen have modern appliances, a Nespresso coffee machine, a juicer? Does your porch have a BBQ or even a swing?

Clients spend very little time on each listing, therefore you need to make sure that all your amenities are highlighted in the pictures!

Be as generous as possible with information about your holiday rental. This will help clients make a decision and book the right property for their trip.

Remember also who your niche market is.

Is it families? Add some pictures of family-friendly amenities.    Is it business travellers? Highlight the office or desk space you have.

8) Don’t forget your outside space


After all the hard work you’ve put into staging your interior, don’t forget to show your guests what’s outside of your property. This could be your garden, your balcony or even your street if you live in an apartment.

Make sure your lawn is impeccable, hedges are trimmed and outdoor furniture looks clean and well-maintained.

Location is also an important factor when your guests are booking.

If you live close to a local attraction or a fantastic restaurant, add this information to your holiday rental pictures!

This will not only get your guests excited about their destinations but will also establish you as a knowledgeable host.

9) Organize your pictures


Ever scrolled through a listing’s pictures with random shots of the kitchen followed by a shot of the toilet or the bed? This just doesn’t look professional and gives the impression you haven’t put a lot of thought into your pictures.

A messy stream of interior shots is just going to confuse guests.

Try to keep a cohesive story when organizing your pictures. Just think that you’re showing a friend around your house. You’re not going to start by showing them the guest toilets, are you ?

This is how you could organize your holiday rental’s pictures :

  1. This is the most important picture: Choose your best feature
  2. Depending on the climate use a picture of your outside space or start with the living room
  3. Living room & dining room
  4. Kitchen
  5. Bedroom
  6. Bathroom
  7. Garden – Balcony – Terrace
  8. Other spaces : garage / office / playroom etc
  9. Pictures of your neighbourhood / street

Remember to balance the amount of outdoor and indoor shots. A listing with 20 pictures of the garden and 5 of the interior just looks suspicious and implies you have something to hide !

I hope these tips will help you get your listing ready for beautiful pictures. All your efforts will shine through the pictures and show potential guests that you care about your space and their experience.

From my experience, spending some time on your pictures is a true investment.

I’ve seen some of my listings see an increase of about 30-40% in bookings after re-doing all the pictures.

It’s definitely worth it 🙂

Do you have any tips for great holiday rentals pictures you want to share ? Let me know in the comments

by Léonie Gremillet

by Léonie Gremillet

Marketing Manager

Léonie has joined HMR Holidays in 2017 after 4 years managing a successful holiday rental agency and writing articles for Topairbnbtips.com, providing advice to homeowners. She is now in charge of Marketing and Foreign Clients Liaison. She covers anything related to tourism in Moraira and local legislation.




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