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10 Tips for Taking Better Rental Listing Photos

Photos are a crucial component in marketing your rental property. Your listing will get more attention and engagement if it comes with lots of dazzling visuals showing off its best assets. In fact, Rentals.com data shows a positive correlation between the number of photos a rental listing has and both the number of people that view the property and the listing's overall engagement rate. The only question, then, is how do you take more great rental listing photos?

The answer involves a combination of knowing what to photograph, how to best capture it and how many pictures to take. It can be a lot of work, but here are 10 tips that will lead to a much more attractive presentation of your rental home listing.

1. Show off what made you get the property in the first place

Why did you buy this property? Was there something about it that made you think it would be a great place to rent out? If so, make sure you highlight this. It could be a photo of the great exterior design, a stylish kitchen or a breakfast nook.

2. Make sure to use good equipment

You can get away with taking pictures using your smartphone, but it’s better to use professional equipment. If you don’t want to buy a high-end DSLR camera, you can always rent one for a short time to get the shots you need. With higher resolutions and better lenses than smartphones, pictures taken with a high-quality camera are simply better quality and as a result, put your property in the best light possible.

3. Get help from a professional/hobbyist friend

There are a lot of people who know more about taking high-quality pictures than you probably do. If you know someone who has a good camera and an eye for taking photos, consult with them on how best to light and photograph your rental property. It may even be easier to hire them to take the pictures, depending on how much they charge.

4. Adjust camera angles to maximize space

A basic rule of thumb is to stick to horizontal photos. Human vision is optimized for landscape views, so horizontal camera angles will naturally show off more of your space, making it look more expansive. There are some occasions, however, when a vertical photo might be the better option, such a when trying to capture tall, long objects like mirrors or stretches of a wall under high ceilings.

When thinking about how to photograph your rental unit, composition is key. Consider learning about the rule of thirds.

5. Take more pictures than you’ll need

You’re not limited by the number of photos you can take, just the number you can post on different listing websites. Take more than you think you'll need from different angles and with different lighting, focusing on various parts of each room. Make sure to take pictures of every room in the unit. You can decide which to use and which to leave out, but having plenty to choose from is key.

6. Make it look lived in

If you’re between tenants, it’s worth bringing in some furniture to make the home look like someone lives there. This gives prospective renters a much better idea of what their home might look like vs just showing an empty room. Empty rooms tend to also look smaller in pictures, while rooms with furniture look larger.

7. Be careful with lighting, especially natural light

You want the room to be well-lit, but not so much that you'll blow out your photos, or have them appear over-exposed. Use natural light by opening the windows, but be careful that you can still see the finer details in a room with any pictures you take. High Dynamic Range (HDR) features are really useful for this situation since they let you have bright lighting without completely blowing out a photo.

8. Don’t forget the outdoors

You’ve covered all the rooms, but what about the front entrance? The backyard (if you have one)? What does the home look like from outside? What does the view of the outdoors look like from inside the home?

9. Stay out of the picture

This is an easy amateur mistake to make. When taking pictures in a room with a mirror or windows, make sure that your reflection isn’t visible. Change angles or move things out of the way to make sure you can’t be seen. You want the focus of the picture to be on the room, not on you.

10. Edit the pictures (but carefully)

You should do some editing, but not too much. Small changes to brightness, contrast or exposure can make a big difference in how good photos look. Avoid too much editing, however — you want your shots to accurately represent your property. Heavily edited photos can make potential renters suspicious since it's easy to hide problem areas this way. Make the photos look better, but not to the point they don't accurately represent the rental.

Rental listing photos can make a big difference in receiving more applications, resulting in a home being vacant for less time. Put the effort in to capture high-quality photos that you can use for years to come.

Categories: Landlords

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About the Author

Rebecca Green is a content editor and writer for RentPath. She enjoys interior design, dogs and can tell you where to find the best pizza in Brooklyn. You can see some of her other published work on Apartment Guide and rent.com