Did you know photography is one of the main deciding factors for guests looking at your listing? Jeff and Candida are professional photographers who leverage their creativity to attract more  bookings to their newly renovated desert bungalow. Here they’ve shared some of their expert tips to improve your listing photos.


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Superhosts and photographers Jeff and Candida Wohlgemuth understand the power of visuals. As photographers, they travel the world searching for places that have a special story–places that not only come alive in pictures but that also inspire. When they first saw El Rancho, their home in Joshua Tree, they knew it was meant to be. After remodeling the space, the couple began sharing what they created on social media, drawing a pool of loyal followers. El Rancho has since become a creative oasis. Their secret? Their ability to make a place look and feel beautiful in photos. Here, they share expert tips for snapping the perfect photos and making your listing stand out.



Our Story

Candida: We had always been into photography but found our real love for it when living in San Francisco. We would host weekly meetups with friends to explore and capture a new corner or view in the city. We also loved traveling together, and find ourselves prioritizing time to capture new places in interesting ways.


Jeff: Waking up for sunrise to catch that golden hour light, seeking out neighborhoods with character, and designing spaces that felt uniquely ours were all integral parts of building our creative process. As visual artists, capturing El Rancho in the best way possible was key to taking guests there with our photos. It was important to us that people not only saw, but felt what El Rancho is like.


Here are our tips to help you improve your listing photos and increase your bookings.


Candida and Jeff’s Tips to Snap the Perfect Pics:

  1. Clear the clutter
  2. Frame your hero
  3. Find your light
  4. Craft your composition
  5. Showcase your space


01. Clear the clutter

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J: We are sometimes surprised to see how many people forget to clear their spaces of random objects before taking photos. We try to keep our living spaces free of excess clutter, so capturing the photo we want—without distractions—becomes a lot easier..


C: Choose objects that are right for the environment, and add a human component to the shot, whether it be a person, a blanket, or shoes on the ground. It makes a place so much more welcoming.


02. Frame your hero

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C: When I look for an Airbnb, I always go straight to the photos. So think about what sets your place apart from others, what makes it special? Do you think people would be able to see themselves here? Does your hero image show the personality of your home? All of it matters. It can be helpful to explore other Airbnb listings to find what works and the type of images you’re drawn to for inspiration.


C:  Really think about what the hero image of your home will be – it is the first thing that people see, and what may make them want to stop and see more. We love to create meaningful, beautiful spaces and experiences that foster community, creativity, and inspiration. We keep this in mind when we think about setting up our space for photos.


03. Find your light

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C: The secret to great listing photography is the light. What does the light look like inside and outside of your house throughout the day? Try capturing different moods and different angles to give guests a clear idea of what they can expect. Experiment and shoot as much as you can. Here are a few suggestions on how to master your light. 


  • Observe your light. Experiment and explore what the natural light looks like inside and outside of your home throughout the day.


  • Shoot at dusk and dawn. When shooting outdoors, we recommend just after sunrise and before sunset—magic hour—the lighting is softer and less direct. It’ll give your space a nice warm glow.


  • Go natural. If you’re shooting indoors, find the time of day when you get the most direct, natural light—it’ll look warm and welcoming. Artificial lighting should always be a last resort, as it tends to appear too drastic in photos.

  • Play with shadows. Also try experimenting with shadows and how they can bring in visual interest and contrast.


04. Craft your composition

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J: To improve your listing photos, think about how you want to frame your compositions. If you have any special pieces that you love in your home, try centering them in the photograph so that they stand out.  If you need inspiration, create a moodboard or follow photographers and artists whose work you appreciate. We follow artists and interior designers and we always get inspired by various looks and spaces from around the world.


Things to consider when crafting your composition:


  • Shoot at eye level to avoid any angle distortions. It helps to make sure the image is well balanced, and allows viewers to see the space closer to how they would in person.


  • Use the rule of thirds. If you imagine dividing your frame into thirds, place elements of interest where those lines intersect to create intrigue in your composition.


  • Think symmetrically. Symmetry makes your special pieces stand out. Think about all the elements together – symmetry, lines, and balance.


05. Showcase your space

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C: It’s important to curate and choose a range of images that best tell your story. What will your guests love about the space? What surprises might they need to know? How can you show the details but still give an overall idea of what the room looks like?


J: We’ve seen listings that skew too much in one direction—for example, they’ll have too many detail shots so you don’t actually see what the space looks like. Find the right mix of wide, mid, and detail shots. The goal is to give guests a clear picture of what the rooms look like, as well as the elements that make your home special. Also remember that there’s a whole culture around the place you’re in, the town, the neighborhood. Not every image has to be about your home.


C: If you want to create an Instagram account, showing people the journey of creating your space goes a long way. The before and afters, the progression, it’s all relevant and fun to look back on.


J: We built a following by visually sharing our story. We think about everyone who has passed through and what a wonderful community we’ve been able to build. Two couples even got engaged at El Rancho! It’s events like this that remind us of how fun it is being hosts.


Happy Hosting!

-Candida and Jeff


Try incorporating Candida and Jeff’s tips into your own photoshoot. Ready for prime time? Add new images to your listing. Not a host? Become one today.


Check out the full #howtohost series here.


Book a stay at El Rancho Joshua Tree. Follow @elrancojoshuatree on Instagram.


22 Replies

Re: How to Host: Upgrade Your Listing Photos

United Kingdom
Level 3

Hi, I love your photos and tips.  I'll definitely be visiting Joshua Tree!

Re: How to Host: Upgrade Your Listing Photos

Victoria, Canada
Level 1

Great tips. Time for us to revamp our photos. Thanks from Victoria BC


Re: How to Host: Upgrade Your Listing Photos

Nashville, TN
Level 2

I learned many great things from your article. Thank you for sharing your experience.


How do you post yoirvlisting on instagram? Only to your followers or open to all public?



Re: How to Host: Upgrade Your Listing Photos

Houston, TX
Level 2

Airbnb misspelled your IG page when linking it. Wanted to let you guys know! Thanks for the tips btw 🙂

Re: How to Host: Upgrade Your Listing Photos

West Java, Indonesia
Level 1

Thanks for sharing.  I like these tips.  

Re: How to Host: Upgrade Your Listing Photos

Franschhoek, South Africa
Level 2

Excellent tips! Clear, simple to follow and highly effective. Thanks very much!

Re: How to Host: Upgrade Your Listing Photos

Hudson, FL
Level 3

I love your vision of photography. Thanks for your tips.

Re: How to Host: Upgrade Your Listing Photos

British Columbia, Canada
Level 3

Those are great tips.... I don't have an expensive camera and can get a few good shots. The natural light tip was great.