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Why You Should Have Professional Quality Photos of Your Airbnb Unit

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Office of Airbnb Unit
Professional photos can capture contrasting light like you see in this photo.

Photos Should Leave No Question Unanswered

About the Space

I’ve perused hundreds of Airbnb and VRBO listings and am surprised at how many hosts don’t use professional photos. When I’ve looked for places to rent for weekend and holiday getaways, I’m frequently frustrated and disappointed that after looking at the photos, I don’t have a good sense of the space and still have questions about it. The photos should leave no question unanswered and should give the viewer an experience of what it feels like to be in that unit. The personality of the unit should be clear in the photos. Oftentimes, hosts will also completely leave out important photos, such as outdoor patios or bedrooms, that are important to include so that clients can make informed decisions on whether or not to rent that property.

You Only Get One First Impression

Your thumbnail image is going to be the first thing someone will see to draw them into your listing. It should be the most interesting photo that shows the overall personality of your listing. Once they open up your listing, it’s time to wow the viewer with your photos. This is THE very first impression they will be getting of your unit. It is your one opportunity to pull them in and show them just how spectacular, special or unique your rental is. A professional vacation rental photographer will know how to take images that can wow your viewer. The pro photographer can also help guide you with important decisions like which images to use and in what order and which image to use for the thumbnail image.

Beautiful Airbnb bedroom with barn doors over windows.
A strong image, such as this one, that will draw people in, is good to use for your thumbnail image.

Why Pro Photos ?

A professional photographer has the skills and equipment that can capture your space much better than an iPhone can. A pro can shoot wider angles with better lenses and can work with lighting and exposures to balance the light in all areas of the room including bright sunny windows. An experienced photographer will also know how to photograph the personality of your unit. They do this all the time, have photographed many listings and know what appeals to viewers. They will also possess knowledge of the industry and can give you tips on how to style your rental. A pro can also be hired for aerial drone images. These are great to give the viewer a bird’s eye view of the entire property and even the flavor of the neighborhood. You could also hire them to do a 360 walkthrough or video walkthrough tour of the home which gives the viewer the experience of actually being in your property.


When hiring an independent vacation rental photographer, you will have access to use your images in other places than just the Airbnb and VRBO. Going with a photographer hired through Airbnb does not give you access to the images. These images are owned by Airbnb and can only be used on your Airbnb listing. By hiring a pro photog, you have access to your images and can use them not only on Airbnb and VRBO, but also GoLightly and other vacation rental websites. You can also use the images on your social media platforms, website and marketing brochures.

Lots of Competition

The vacation rental business has grown so much in the last ten years that many cities are saturated with listings. By having eye-catching professional photos, you will increase the amount of potential clients that look at your listing, thus increasing the chances that your unit will be picked over the one down the street. There are 14,000 new listings every month on Airbnb alone. Yours needs to stand out!

Boost Your Bookings…and Earnings

Research has shown that pro photos result in 2.5x more clicks (think strong thumbnail image). Strong professional images will keep a person’s attention and make them want to see more.

This also translates into being able to charge more for your listing if it is more appealing and popular than others in your market. Pro photos result in 24% more bookings and 26% more in your nightly price. Hosts who use pro photos make on average 40% more in earnings! This is not a number to scoff at and could help a host invest more in the property or other real estate, or pay off a mortgage early.

Small Investment Goes a Long Way

By weighing the pros and cons of hiring a professional photographer, you can probably easily see why a small investment of a few hundred dollars can quickly translate into a lot more money for your listing and consistently attracting more clients. In the long run, your property will be far more lucrative with great photos!

If you’d like to have your Denver vacation rental unit professionally photographed, you can contact me here to book a session with me.

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