• Hugo Rod

How to Take Pro Photos for Your Airbnb with a Smartphone

Photos are the most important thing when it comes to attracting attention to your Airbnb listing. First guests get hooked by your photos, then they read the title and then they proceed to the description. Knowing this, I think it’s not necessary to go into a further explanation on how important the photos are, so I will jump straight into how to create pro photos with your smartphone. It would be silly to offer this even 5 years ago because phone cameras weren’t as good as they are now, but today you can do this yourself and save some money on the professional photographer. Following the advice which I’m about to share with you, you will be able to make staggering photos for your Airbnb listing with nothing more than your smartphone. Ready? Let’s go!

1. Clean the stage. First thing you should do before taking the photos is to prepare the space. You must present every room that you will photograph in the best possible light. If you don’t have any decorations make sure to buy some flowers and decorative bowls. They don’t cost much but will improve the look of your space significantly. There are some general tips that you need to follow:

  • Pay attention to shiny surfaces so that they don’t create glares

  • Make sure windows are clean

  • Make sure that everything in the photo screen is well organized, remove the unnecessary items (dish racks, sponges etc.)

  • Set up a bowl with flowers or fruits on a table

  • If you have a terrace or balcony – open the door

  • Minimize bedding wrinkles and stack pillows in layers

  • Lay a book on the coffee table

  • Close the toilet seat

  • Hide wires

2. Prepare your camera. For the camera, you need to download Open Camera if you use Android or Camera+ for iPhone. Open the app and turn on a grid with two horizontal and two vertical lines to make sure that your photos are straight. Here are the basic settings that you need to know:

  • Exposure and focus (these settings control brightness and sharpness of your photos) – setup in accordance with the amount of light that you have in the room

  • White balance (the ability of the camera to present colours in the photo as they look in real life) – put automatic mode, or choose adjustments yourself if the automatic mode isn’t working properly

  • Lock the look – if you want to prevent the camera from changing the setting every time you move it, you can lock the setting for the selected scene. It is usually done by tapping and holding on the screen or pushing the lock icon

  • HDR mode – you will use this mode all the time for making the photos of Airbnb apartments. It makes every detail visible

3. Make the photo shoot. Here are the tips for making a photo shoot of your Airbnb listing:

  • It’s better to shoot between 10 AM and 1 PM when you have the abundance of natural light which is necessary to take a good photo. Don’t make photos when your house is in the shadow

  • Before you start shooting, wipe your camera with a microfiber cloth

  • If you’re shooting outdoors, make sure that the sun is always behind you when you’re making the photos. Otherwise, you will have a dark scene with harsh contrasts and blurry image

  • When shooting indoors, don’t aim your camera straight at windows when the sun is shining bright, because the camera won’t handle the harsh contrasts. Open all doors, curtains and turn on all the lights

  • Best days to make a photo shoot are partly cloudy days when it’s not too dark and not too bright

  • When making the photo avoid: stepping too far into the room, pointing the camera down at furniture and lifting the camera to eye level (it should be lower than that)

  • Take a photo from every angle of the room to have more options to choose from. You never know what the best angle is until you see the photos on the big screen

  • Make sure that your photos are juicy. Think off Airbnb listings which have the photos you admire and try to replicate it

4. Editing your photos. Before you start editing backup all originals (use Google Drive or Dropbox). After the backup is complete, select the best photos and only then start editing them:

  • I recommend having 15-20 photos. In case you have a little apartment you can include the photos from the street and neighborhood

  • Make sure that you have the HDR on. If you weren’t shooting in the HDR mode, make sure to add the HDR filter on the stage of editing

  • See that you don’t make your photos look too harsh

  • Edit exposure, saturation, highlight and shadows to your taste

  • If your photos weren’t straight, straighten them up

  • Maybe it will be appropriate to crop your photos a little bit to get rid of unnecessary details

  • When you have finished editing, save your photos in the largest possible size and backup the edited images

Before you make any of these steps, I think it’s essential to spend several hours looking for top-rated properties on Airbnb and study their photos. This way, you will get an understanding of what works best. If you do all the things on the list your photos will enter into the top 20% of all vacation rental property photos. Sound great, isn't it?

If all that looks like too much hassle for you, just book a call with us, and we will help you to take pro done shoots of your Airbnb listings.


UnicoHost is building the future of the residential real estate, using proprietary technology and a unique operating model. … We connect great landlords with great tenants.


  • Instagram

25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf London, E14 5LB


Company number: 11197856

© 2019. All rights reserved.