December 16, 2015

3 Ways to Use Vacation Rental Photography to Get More Airbnb Bookings

Light is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Harnessed correctly, light illuminates, beckons, and pulls on a person’s emotions.

It is so powerful, that light is even portrayed as a weapon in the form of a lightsaber.

Light can kill, and it can create.

Light is a formidable tool used every day by many people, especially in photography. In fact, it is no secret that the key to stunning photos is light.

Mustering up my best Yoda voice…best practices for light and vacation rentals, here they are:

1. Use a professional light handler.

The most obvious best practice is to yield to a skilled professional who knows the power of light and how to handle it. A light handler is also known as a photographer.

An experienced photographer is not simply a person who owns a camera. Look for a person who is proficient in using the camera as a tool that harnesses the best light for your vacation rental property.

A skilled photographer will use light to create a beautiful blend of magic that will draw travelers to your magnificent vacation rental property.

Before and after professional photography. Photograph by Tyann Marcink

2. Use tools.

If a professional light handler is not an available option yet, and you decide to do your best with the light until you are able to arrange for a pro, use special tools that are designed to help you handle light.

Tool 1: Camera

The first tool to choose is a camera. The camera collects light, allowing the light to literally draw an image, creating a photograph.

But light is tricky and is excellent at tricking a camera. Select a camera that allows you to control the settings so you can best handle the light. Settings you will need to command are the aperture, the ISO, and the shutter speed.

Before and after professional photography. Photograph by Tyann Marcink

Tool 1: Lens

The camera lens plays an important role in light handling. It is the lens that determines how large of an area of light will be in a photo.

For interior rooms, choose a wide-angle lens with a focal length between 11mm and 18mm. Use care, though, in not going so wide that the created image is distorted.

For exterior photos, the same wide-angle lens may be used. Depending on the vacation rental property location and surrounding areas, a 50mm lens is also a good choice for an exterior image.

For photos to best show how close a scenic view, such as a mountain or a beach, is to your vacation rental property, a 50mm focal length is optimal. The wide-angle focal lengths will push the foreground and background elements farther away from one another. A long focal length will compress the elements closer to one another.

The 50mm focal length is very close to how our eyes view the correlation of distance between objects, creating a better representation of distance between your property and a scenic view in the image.

Before and after professional photography. Photograph by Tyann Marcink

Tool 3: Tripod

No need to get fancy with this tool. An inexpensive tripod works just dandy for interior images of your vacation rental property. The main features to be aware of for a tripod is that it can handle with weight of your camera and lens and that you can easily adjust the legs and the head.

Tool 4: Remote Shutter Release

A remote shutter release allows you to trigger the shutter button of your camera remotely. This is especially helpful if you are working in a room with mirrors that catch your reflection. You will also use this tool when creating images with long shutter speeds.

Before and after professional photography. Photograph by Tyann Marcink

Tool 5: Education!

It is imperative to learn how to use your light handling tools. An expensive camera does not immediately translate to a better photograph. One can spend thousands of dollars on the above tools, but without the knowledge of how to use them, you will have disappointing snapshots instead of stunning photographs.

Before and after professional photography. Photograph by Tyann Marcink

3. Use time.

Beautiful light is directly tied to the time of day. Select the best time of day that has the loveliest light for your vacation rental property.

Interior images are generally best created in daylight, when the rooms are awash with natural light. Exterior images can be created during the day as well, but the early morning, late evening, and twilight are ideal. They are brief, magical times of day when the light softens and colors become deeper and richer.

Go forth and wield the power of light for the good of your vacation rental property.

Are you planning on harnessing the power of light to improve your vacation rental photography, and did you know that property managers can help you perfect your Airbnb photos? Here at, we connect you with hundreds of the world’s best Airbnb management companies. With our Guaranteed Income model, you could start earning guaranteed rental income every month! Create a private profile to start receiving free offers today.


About Tyann Marcink

Tyann Marcink is a photographer and vacation rental property owner living near St. Louis, Missouri, United States. She owns two vacation rental homes in Branson, Missouri and has hosted nearly 5,000 guests since 2007.

Her eBook Create Killer Vacation Rental Property Photos is the go-to manual for vacation rental owners to learn how to create marketing photos for their vacation rental properties. Her second eBook The Ultimate Guide for Vacation Rental Photography goes further in-depth on the subject and is geared towards teaching photographers the unique niche of vacation rental photography.

Tyann has been featured in numerous vacation rental blogs and podcasts, as well as on a radio talk show, discussing her expertise in vacation rental photography. She has also guest posted on several VR industry blogs at their request and spoken at several industry conferences, including the HomeAway Summits and the Vacation Rental World Summits.

In 2016, she will be speaking at the international photography conference Shutterfest, teaching photographers about vacation rental photography.

In addition, Tyann also consults with HomeAway as an owner advocate, focusing on the Mobile Hospitality application.

Sign up for her newsletter here for a free download. You can follow her adventures, photography tips, and marketing insights at her blog as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.

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