Let's take a look at 10 actual Airbnb listings photos, which would NOT make decluttering guru Marie Kondo proud. Frankly, these pictures are so bad, I’d be surprised that any guest decides to pay money and stay there. Want to see what I’m talking about?
Oh man, this actual Airbnb listings photo is busy. The first thing I notice is a cluttered dining table, which makes me feel like someone is already staying there. We see boxes and other knick-knacks near the TV, making me wonder if something is broken or is getting fixed. Towards the back, we see open drawers and lots of dishes in the sink. If I stay here, will I find this listing place like this? I hope not!
There seems to be something lying on the floor near the sink and something else is sitting near the foot of a table. Can you tell what it is?
If I were to re-take this image, first of all, I would turn on the lights to bring more light into the space. I would definitely clear the table from any items. TV space needs to be clear from anything other than what your guests need - remotes, books, or plants. The kitchen needs to be very tidy - close the drawers, put all the dishes away in a cupboard. Don’t display any pots or pans in your pictures. Display a coffee maker or kettle, everything else - list in your listing description.
In this image, we see a living room, which is also full of clutter. If showing a blanket on your couch, always fold it nicely for the picture. The coffee table should not feature food and wine. If you show this, your guest may be misled into thinking that you’re offering food and wine to your guests. If you do, make it look appetizing and show a picture of the exact thing, otherwise, you’re going to disappoint your guests.
If I were to re-take the picture, I would exclude the food, instead place some books or a plant on a table. I would fold the blanket or exclude it from the picture. I would also fix the curtains that are stuck behind the couch. Finally, I would get rid of the green rug and circular pillow in the corner, as they don’t help to tell the story. Instead, they make me wonder if its a putting green and that pillow is for a dog. Remember, a confused guest will not book your place, they will move on to another booking.
In this actual Airbnb listing image, we see a very busy room. There are multiple musical instruments, speakers, decorations, a monitor, trophies, air conditioning, a microphone and so many other items. My eyes are overwhelmed looking at this image and I’m expected to pay money to stay here or jam here?
I think this Airbnb host wants to offer their guests an opportunity to play music while staying here, but this image is deterring anyone who is not a musician. Perhaps, hosts, personal projects or hobbies should be kept in a separate space, away from paying guests.
Moving on to a different room in a different Airbnb rental, we see this. I appreciate the options of a sanitizer, soap, multiple kinds of toothpaste and another cleaning item, but do we really need to show them in a picture to a prospective guest? Even if you do offer all these things, let’s exclude them from the picture. Again, a guest may be surprised if you don’t have a variety of toothpaste available once they arrive. They saw them in the picture, so they might expect that.
Finally, dear hosts, for the love of God, please put some outlet covers on. Doesn’t this picture scream ghetto, under construction or outright dangerous! Seeing this type of image, any guest would probably think really hard before booking this space, considering a host is obviously trying to save money on outlet covers, which can lead to dangerous consequences.
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Another puzzling picture from an actual Airbnb listing. Why would a host take an image such as this? Are they going to stock the fridge with these items? Great! I’m expecting to get food, as well as beer and hard alcohol if I stay there. The joke is on them if the guest is underage, they will leave a terrible review because this picture clearly showed what they are expected to get.
If I were to re-take this image, I wouldn’t. I believe that a fridge needs to be shown as a part of the kitchen picture. Don’t waste the guest’s time showing what is inside of the fridge. A picture or two of the kitchen from different angles should suffice.
IF YOU'RE AN AIRBNB HOST AND WOULD LIKE TO IMPROVE YOUR LISTING PICTURES WITH MY HELP, LET'S GET IN TOUCH!
Let’s check out this cluttered space from an Airbnb listing. It’s so busy, it's hard to understand what are we looking at. Where do things begin and end? That’s why taking pictures from different angles is a great idea. If you get up higher or back up you can help to explain about the thing in the lower right-hand corner. Walk around and take a picture of the table and chairs as the main subject in the photo. If a trailer is located in a picturesque spot, maybe using a drone or far-away vantage point can help show off nearby landscape or mountains.
With the viewer's eye typically traveling from left to right, the first thing we see are all those plugs. For a short-term rental image, wires and plugs are usually a no-no. We should try to hide or camouflage them to help the image appear more minimal. We also see a corner of the TV, a record player, flowers, records, coasters, remote controls, papers and a very eye-catching rug.
If I were to re-take this picture, I would emphasize the record player and records only, because it is a rare amenity and would make for a great detail shot. Detail shots are supposed to help tell the story of your space and should be mixed with general pictures of all the rooms and outdoor areas and amenities your offer.
Here are a few great examples of detailed shots from other Airbnb hosts.
Show details pics with music
Question of the day: Who took your short-term listing images? You, a friend or a professional photographer? Comment below, thanks!
This lovely space looks less lovely for a number of reasons. The coffee table feels cluttered with way too many items. The floor feels cluttered with two out-of-focus dogs. The couch feels cluttered because it's wrinkled, the cushions are randomly placed and look very obviously worn. The chair feels cluttered with something on it. The back of the picture looks cluttered with paper towels, a purse and other knick-knacks.
No, this picture is not a Cover Photo or the Top 5, but as hosts we have to remember that our guests may look at ALL the images that we upload to our listing. And we don’t want to convince our guests not to stay there because of cluttered, out-of-focus and tilted images like this one.
To easily straighten an image like this, check out this video I made to help with this very common problem.
This actual short-term rental image just looks like someone’s home after a Christmas Party. As you can guess, if I were to take the picture, I’d clear off everything under the TV, turn on more lights and re-take this picture during the day. Also, I would take down the holiday lights, because we want our listings images to be timeless. Also remove the scale and dog house, unless you’re dog friendly.
This image of an outdoor space had a good intention - showing all the spaces it has available for seating, lounging, gardening, even a pond.
But from a photographer’s perspective, it is better to show each space individually so the guests can visualize themselves there. A close-up picture of flowers in the raised beds would be a lot more powerful than trying to decipher the flowers from this perspective. A closer look at the pond would help us imagine how peaceful and calming it is. Another picture of trees in the background, not in front of the picture would better showcase nature. Again, using a different angle or perspective would have been more successful here, otherwise, this outdoor area looks cluttered and the eye has no place to rest. Pick one point of interest and stick to it, such as these outdoor examples from other Airbnb Hosts.
I hope this post was helpful to you, if you want to see more posts like this, subscribe to this blog post or my Youtube Channel where I make weekly videos helping Airbnb hosts to improve their listings.