How to Choose the Best Lead Photo for Your Vacation Rental Listing

tips airbnb lead photo

When choosing photos for your Airbnb listing, you might be blessed with a lot of options. That’s great! But how do you narrow it down?

Worry not – we’ve got the answers for you. Take a look at our recommendations below on how to choose a great lead photo.

Showcase professionally taken photos – only professional photos.

This should be a no-brainer by now: Literally, every source sharing Airbnb tips will tell you it’s worth every penny to invest in professional photos of your vacation rental. And they’re not wrong.

According to Airbnb, having photos taken and edited by a pro can increase bookings by as much as 24% – and that’s not nothing. Depending on your nightly rate, you might even be able to cover the cost of your photos in a single stay.

Now, while every source tells you it’s pretty much imperative you get a professional photographer to snap pictures of your place, many of them still have some outdated information. If you do a search, you’ll find plenty of tipsters suggesting you sign up to receive a free photoshoot. This is no longer a thing and it’s not surprising. 

Now that Airbnb has caught on like wildfire across the globe, it’s not cost-effective for the company to cover listing photos for every single host. It’s a bummer but it’s also reality. 

That being said, it’s still super important for you to invest in your business and hire a professional. If you’re not sure where to turn, Airbnb will still hook you up with a tried and trusted photographer. They’ll even work out the payment and backend stuff for you, taking some of the hassle out of the process.

NOTE: If you go the route of signing up for service through Airbnb, know what you’re getting into. There are lots of community posts like this one or this one where hosts discuss that they’re not able to use their photos on any other listing sites per Airbnb’s rules, among other things.

Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, let’s get to the most important part of this article: how to choose the best lead photo for your listing.

Here are 3 suggestions on how to choose your winner.

1. Choose a smart common area.

While many guests won’t be spending much time in the living room or other common areas, there’s still something that speaks to people when they see a breathtaking common room.

If you’ve got a sparkling kitchen that’s well stocked with handy appliances and would be any home chef’s dream vacation rental, lead with a kitchen photo.

Do you have a particularly cozy or modern living room? Show it off.

If you’ve got something unique in your common areas, like quirky art or a baby grand piano, show it off in a room-encompassing picture.

2. Lead with a luxurious bedroom.

Is the master bedroom everything and more? If you’ve created a tranquil space that looks like something straight out of Architectural Digest, don’t be afraid to lead with it.

Bedrooms that have large, inviting focal points (the bed, obviously) and relaxing color schemes are good candidates for lead listing photos. 

Alternatively, it might be a good choice if your master bedroom is funky and unique, and might be THE reason a guest would want to stay with you.

Think carefully about this one: Is it something you’d be enticed by if you were shopping for accommodation? If the answer is yes, it’s probably a good choice.

3. Showcase a bright and airy angle.

Nothing sells like sunlight. If you’ve got an angle in your room that shows off brighter vibes, then it’s a sure winner for a lead photo.

Consider your well-lit dining nook that might also showcase your kitchen or living room in the background… or your living room space that leads down the hall to the bedrooms. Think in terms of brightness and warmth: what shots make your space feel most inviting?


It’s not so hard, is it? Definitely not! Start by getting in touch with a professional photographer, sift through the images they provide and pick that perfect shot to help you stand out from the crowd.


MaidThis is a proud partner of hundreds of Airbnb hosts in the greater LA and San Francisco areas. We help get vacation rentals ready for new guests with quick and consistently top-notch turnover cleanings. To learn more about our team, get in touch.


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