Help boost listing performance with quality photos



The quality of your photos can have a big impact on how well your listing performs. Listings with higher quality photos generally stand out in search results and get booked more often.


Our research found that photos are one of the top three things guests look at when searching for a place to stay. Based on a 2016 study of more than 100,000 Airbnb listings, those with professional photography earned 28% more bookings, could charge a 26% higher nightly rate, and increased overall earnings by 40%.


Thankfully you don’t need expensive camera equipment, years of photography experience, or even tons of time to take your own professional-looking images. All you really need is a smartphone, a spare hour or two, and the shooting and editing tips below.


We’re working on more ways to help you, too. Soon we’ll roll out a new tool that will flag photos in your listings that may be negatively impacting your performance. You can replace those with high quality photos that you take yourself.


That’s why we want to empower you to take great photos of your space. These six tips promise to do just that.


  1. Time It Right


Good lighting is the difference between a room looking dark and dreary versus one that looks warm and inviting. Only take photos during the day, when natural light is brightest. Adjust your shades or blinds to let in the sun, and turn on lamps to illuminate dark corners if necessary. Don’t rely on flash, which can make your photos look harsh.


Pro Photography Rule to Remember: Using your pointer finger, tap on different areas of the room on your screen to find the ideal brightness. Click around the room to get the lighting just right.




  1. Optimize Your iPhone

Here are three quick ways to make the most of an Apple iPhone:


  • Turn on Grid View: You’ll find this in Settings, under Camera.
  • Turn off your Flash: Open your Camera Tap the lightning bolt icon in the top left corner and select “off.”
  • Make sure your camera is on the “photo” setting: Your iPhone also allows you to take video, slo-mo, and other types of images. For taking listing pictures, though, the basic “photo” setting works best. Turn it on within your Camera app by adjusting the menu of options on the bottom of your screen. Slide “photo” to the middle. It’ll be highlighted in yellow when it’s turned on.

Pro Photography Rule to Remember: You certainly don’t need an Apple product to take great photos—Androids or other smartphones work well, too. But since the majority of Airbnb hosts tell us they use an iPhone, we wanted to point out these functions.


  1. Stage a Strong Shot

Finding the right place and angle from which to photograph your home is key. Remember these three tips for success:


Do… Hold your phone straight and horizontal.





Don’t… Raise your phone above your head to get a better view or hold it at an angle.


Do… Crouch or kneel, if need be, to get the main piece of furniture in the room centered and vertically straight. In bedrooms, that means focusing on the bed; in living rooms, perhaps the sofa.




Pro Photography Rule to Remember: If you’re using an iPhone, take advantage of the Grid View to make sure your shot is straight. Line up the grid with a wall or piece of furniture, such as a nightstand.




  1. Aim for Volume


Your listing should tell a complete story: What exactly can potential guests expect from your space? Including enough photos of your home in the listing helps set expectations—and helps you attract the right guests to your space. Airbnb’s photography team recommends including three to five images of each room guests can access in your listing.


Pro Photography Rule to Remember: Shoot from different corners of each room to create a full picture.







  1. Remember the Details

Guests love seeing the specifics that make your space unique: the collage of vacation photos hanging in your hallway or the stack of antique quilts in your bedroom. Including pictures of these details can help distinguish your listing.






Pro Photography Rule to Remember: Hold your phone close to the detail you want to showcase. Touch the item on your screen, and your phone’s camera will bring it into focus, usually fading out the background to highlight the main object even more.


  1. Refine with editing tools


If you didn’t get quite the right light for some of your shots, don’t worry. The editing tools that come with most digital cameras can help you perfect them.


To edit a photo on your iPhone, select any photo from your photo library, then click Edit in the top right corner. (Note that if you’re editing an image directly within your Camera app, the Edit button will appear at the bottom of your screen.)





You can improve on almost any photo by adjusting the brightness, contrast, and saturation.


Brightness: Most cameras adjust the brightness automatically, so point your shot toward a part of the room with medium brightness, i.e. not the lightest window or the darkest corner. Even so, most indoor photos will benefit from a little post-production brightening.


To adjust the brightness on your iPhone camera, open the edit functions for an image and select the little clock icon at the bottom of your screen. Click the down arrow to open the Light menu, then select Brightness and use the slider to adjust the level of light in your image. Keep in mind that you still want your photos to be true-to-life, so adjust the brightness enough to improve your image while still accurately representing the space.




You can also explore the other adjustments to see which ones you like best. Just remember not to overdo it. You want your images to be inviting and filled with light, but they should also look natural





Contrast: The difference between the lights and darks in your photo is what creates contrast. Too little contrast leaves a photo looking washed out and flat. Too much contrast, and the image can become difficult to read if the darks are too dark and lights too light. Bumping up the contrast just a touch can produce a more crisp image.


On your iPhone, you’ll find the Contrast adjustment also in the Light menu. Bump up the contrast just enough to brighten the highlights and give your image more depth.





Saturation: This refers to the intensity of color in your image. Increasing the saturation is an easy way to increase the richness of your image, but it’s also easy to overdo it.


To adjust the color richness of your image, open the Color menu right below the Light menu, and select Saturation, which will open the adjustment slider near the bottom of the screen.









Labels (2)
56 Replies
Andreas & Anna in
West Vancouver, Canada
Level 10

Great tips!

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Great to see you found these helpful tips @Andreas & Anna. :) 


Are you going to experiment with your photos a little?

Kate Mary in
Kiev, Ukraine
Level 5

Here's another great photo-related tip for fellow Airbnb hosts - send your photos to interior design and real estate blogs as they are always looking for fresh content. If your property features some great design, this is a great way to get some extra exposure.

Joanna in
Sibiu, Romania
Level 2

Great List of tips&tricks. Impatient to use them in my next pictures. 

Michelle in
Cairns, Australia
Level 2

Thank You so much for these great tips. I’ve learnt so much more that my phone can do. I will now adjust my photos!

Ivana in
Split, Croatia
Level 3

Cool, will try 😊

Ed And Peggy in
Pittsford, VT
Level 1

I'm looking forward to trying these tips. Thanks!

Jennifer in
Tempe, AZ
Level 1

Should the exterior or interior be the cover photo?

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

It is great to hear you are going to try out some of these tips @Ed And Peggy@Ivana,  @Joanna and @Michelle


It would be great to hear how you get on, if you can please come back and share. :) 

Anne in
England, United Kingdom
Level 1

Very good tips indeed. Plus learnt lots about my iPhone!

Lizzy in
Asheville, NC
Level 2

Thank you for the shooting tips.  You may want to add staging suggestions.. the bed did not look super tidy, pillows not aligned.. one shot had cords out of the outlets.  I think when a room looks super organized and tight - it helps it to look fresh and inviting.

Jo-An in
St Petersburg, FL
Level 3

thank you for the camera/photo tutorial!

Ha in
Hanoi, Vietnam
Level 2

Thank you very much for tips which are really helpful for my listing!

Sara in
Porto, Portugal
Level 2

Thanks for the tips @Airbnb :)

Lucas in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Level 2

Great tips. Tha ks for sharing. Professional pics definitely help!


quite curious here. You said that photos are among the top three contributors for getting reservations. What are the other two things?

Janice in
Berwick, Canada
Level 2

I agree, the photos are so important! Thanks for the helpful tips!

Chanden in
Toronto, Canada
Level 2

thank you. I found these tips useful. My photos can do with some lighting and contrasting adjustments. will for sure try and upload newer photos.

Artur in
Phoenix, AZ
Level 2

These are great tips. I hope Airbnb, at some point, will allow Plus hosts to implement them.

Marialisa in
Winnipeg, Canada
Level 2

Wonderful suggestions!!! 

Level 1

Excellent tips and looking forward to using them! Is there a wayto improve the photos I already have through filters like in photoshop?

Jennifer in
Level 3

Great tips.  Please post more of this kind of tips, it is very helpful.  Thank you!

Ebert in
Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka
Level 1

thanks i like great tips. thanks

Krasimira in
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Level 1

Good advice!But would you say how to make the pictures in the right size?

Level 2

Good tips. I'd highly recommend to either hire a professional photographer, or have a wide view camera to take the pictures, or better, if available, ask Airbnb to take the picture for you at a certain cost, because on the picture it will be written that it was taken by Airbnb.

Sunilkumaar in
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level 1

Very usefull tutorial, Really appriciate




Frank in
Pretoria, South Africa
Level 1

All great thank you, 360 photos would help a great deal

Mitch & Kelly in
Stockton, MO
Level 2

Wonderful tips!  Thank you Airbnb for helping us provide the best product possible.

Allison in
Seattle, WA
Level 2

On quantity and order of photos - start with your money shot.  The cover photos should both capture the essence of your home and be the very most inviting one to capture guests’ attention and make them want to “heart” it.  Clearly show each bedroom with captions listing “Bedroom 1 has queen bed and has a view of the water with en suite bathroom” “Bedroom 2 has twin bunks” etc.  When showing multiple pictures of the same bedrooms make sure the bedspread is always the same so people don’t confuse it as a separate bedroom.  Show enough pictures so people can see what amenities are offered but not so many that they get bored or overwhelmed.  Include a small assortment of neighborhood pics at the end so they have an idea of activities or restaurants that are convenient to your home.  20-40 pics seem reasonable.  5 is likely way too few and 75 is way too many.

Bobby in
San Diego, CA
Level 2

First tip, Dont use an iphone.

Val in
Victoria, Australia
Level 2

Great information and photo tips, but  disappointing that it's less useful for Android system users.  Perhaps you might do this in next month's newsletter?

Level 2

Great tips much appreciated.... Pamela

Teresa in
Pembroke Pines, FL
Level 2

Thank you, this are wonderful tips and I will make sure I use them and upload new photos. Although most of the information can be used regardless of the phone utilized, I agree with Val, tips for Android users should be included as well. Thanks again!

Reginah in
Nairobi, Kenya
Level 2

great tips,will definately give it a try

Marko in
Level 1


Noel in
Lancaster, CA
Level 2

Thankful for the tips!


Could you also please mention and follow up what the other two most important things guests look at?  @Airbnb Lizzie! 


Thank you!

Dicksey in
Cochrane, Canada
Level 2

Love these photo tips!  I see I have some work to do!  I never would have thought to take 5 or 6 different angles of one room.  Thanks so much!

Di in
Underberg, South Africa
Level 2

Useful, practical tips. Thank you!

Abdulaziz in
Level 1

Benefit tips help me in my property 

Maria in
North Kuta, Indonesia
Level 2

Great!! Thanks for the tips

Jan And Mike in
Wales, United Kingdom
Level 2

really helpful post. Thanks J

Missy in
New York, United States
Level 2

Thanks for the tips!

Level 1

I know that on internet you can find a lot of ideas and tips.


However-in my profession as a professional real estate photographer in chicago

I've seen a lot of places, rental properties, vacantion rentals ans so forth,

so based on my hands on experience i've put together myself a small guide

on how to prepare your house for amazing photos.


Please note that this is my opinion -which was based on a sustainable business as real estate photographer for the last 15 years.



Use this as an inside view -if you may-as an additional tip to the great post with photos from the admin


I hope this helps!



PS -if you need pro photos to boost your rental chances in chicago-just pm me :-)


Here is the full link-i am not sure if AIR BNB allows it


https:// www.

Bianca in
Suva, Fiji
Level 1

Fantastic tips. Love seeing photos of details too. Nicely done.

Denny in
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level 1

Goodness honey... Hadn't realised this field on the site existed.... Fabulously illuminating article... Thank you so much for the time and big effort it took to put this advice together!!  Will address all the aspects covered and get much bettera shots out there ... Bestest regards Denny 

Ioannis in
Artemida, Greece
Level 3

Great tips! I will try them soon . 


Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Great question, @Lucas. This has actually been answered in our most recent Q&A (as part of the response to: 'What can I do to get more bookings?'.


I would recommend you take a look at full responses there and there is quite a lot of useful information, but it turns out that, after price and reviews, photography is the most important factor. :)


I hope this helps. 




Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Hello @Noel,


Thanks for asking about this. 


Funny you ask, this has just been touched upon in our most recent Q&A (as part of the response to: 'What can I do to get more bookings?'.


I would recommend you take a look at full responses there and there is quite a lot of useful information, but it turns out that, after price and reviews, photography is the most important factor. :)


I hope this helps. 



Christopher in
Thorneside, Australia
Level 1

Thanks for these very helpful tips - I love taking photos and believe in telling the truth about our property so that guests know what to expect when they arrive at our property.

Lisa in
Murphysboro, IL
Level 2

Here are some specific questions about what makes a better photo:


Toilet seat/lid down, right?

TV on with photo on screen or off (big black box)?

People in the shots or no?

Fold covers back like someone’s coming to bed or show a tightly made bed?





Kira in
Canary Islands, Spain
Level 2

Thank you for the tips to optimize my apartment❤

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