Note from the Editor: Although this post specifically talks about vacation rental photos, the tips in here can benefit any real estate investor, agent, or anyone just looking to take better photos of real estate! Enjoy!
It is often said a picture is worth a thousand words.
Pictures of your vacation home are the single most important tool you have to get the most rentals. If your vacation home has low quality or low resolution pictures, it will be very difficult to get customers to book your home.
The best way to get the best photos for your vacation home is to hire a professional photographer, but this can be really expensive. In fact, I talked to a photographer here in Orlando just the other day, and he told me his fee was $450 per house — ouch!
If you do decide to do the pictures yourself, I’ve compiled a few tips to make sure your vacation homes stand out.
How to Purchase Real Estate With No (or Low) Money!
One of the biggest struggles that many new investors have is in coming up with the money to purchase their first real estate properties. Well, BiggerPockets can help with that too. The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down can give you the tools you need to get started in real estate, even if you don’t have tons of cash lying around.
7 Steps to Professional-Looking Vacation Home Photos
1. Have the Right Equipment:
The first thing you will need is a good digital camera and a wide angle lens. If your vacation home has smaller bedrooms (like many of the vacation homes in Orlando), you really need a good wide angle lens to capture the room.
2. Stage Your Vacation Home:
It is amazing the difference that a few fresh cut flowers will do for a photo of a room; they add color and height to the pictures, which is key.
Remove all the little knickknacks from the rooms — these trinkets are usually very cute, but they oftentimes make the pictures look cluttered. Another thing you will want to pay close attention to is to make sure the bedspreads are pulled tight and the pillows are fluffed. It is a good idea to take 5 to 10 minutes in each room before you start taking pictures to make sure there is no clutter and to tidy everything up.
3. Pay Attention to the Weather:
When taking pictures, natural light is your friend, and if it is an overcast or rainy day, chances are there will be less natural light coming in. Wait for a sunny day to take your pictures — the natural light will enhance your photos.
4. Pictures, Pictures and More Pictures:
FlipKey did a survey, and the homes that had at least 20 photos are the ones that rented the best on their site.
I recommend taking a picture of all the rooms, the exterior, the views of your property, as well as the amenities of the resort. In the study that Flipkey did, they showed that a house with at least 20 photos rented 83% better than a vacation home with less than 10 photos.
5. Shoot the Exterior at Dusk:
The best time to shoot the exterior photo of your vacation home is 15 to 20 minutes after the sun has set. Professional photographers call this “the magic hour.”
6. Look for Different Angles:
Don’t be afraid to stand on a chair or even the counter top to get the best picture. The art of taking great pictures is to find unique angles and have a lot of natural light.
7. Photoshop Your Pictures:
I want to be cautious here because Photoshop is a great tool — and you can make a 2-star vacation home look like a 5-star mansion. Use Photoshop to enhance the colors, but be sure you are giving the guest a realistic representation of the house. If not, you could be getting a lot of bad reviews and complaints.
I hope this article is helpful to you, and I welcome all comments. If your vacation home is not renting as well as you think it should, go check out your pictures, and compare them to the pictures of other homes you are competing with. Chances are their photos may be better than yours.
Have you taken your own photos of your property? What techniques or tips would you add to this list?
Please leave a comment below.