Take it from us: looks do matter. Especially when it comes to prepping your vacation home for photos. After all, no matter how expensive the camera or skilled the photographer, if your home isn’t thoughtfully staged beforehand, your photos can look underwhelming. Before whipping out the camera, set the scene to appeal to the widest range of potential guests.
Alicia Lafon, a Revenue & Marketing Specialist at Vacasa and former member of our home onboarding team, has prepped dozens of our homes for successful high-quality photo shoots. She offers these 10 short-term rental staging tips to both boost revenue and make your Airbnb or Vrbo photo-ready.
At Vacasa, we always shoot exterior images for our vacation homes. These give guests a sense of the environment and the outdoor spaces. Alicia recommends hiring a professional landscaper to trim greenery and create a manicured, welcoming scene. Another suggestion: use a pressure washer to clean up any dirt or noticeable grime from your roof and siding.
The best way to brighten a room is with natural light. So, throw open the curtains to illuminate your photos. This also allows you to show off the surrounding scenery. If your home has slat blinds, Alicia advises to leave them down, but open the slats so they are flat and parallel to the floor. This makes them less visible on camera, she explains. Not enough natural light? Turn on overhead lights and lamps.
Vacation rental owners should hide any personal items, such as family photos, framed diplomas, or mementos (not every guest will appreciate a collection of angel figurines or rubber ducks). Instead, replace them with artwork or decor that have universal appeal. “Guests want to feel like this is their private getaway, not a visit to someone else’s home,” Alicia explains.
One common design faux pas—pushing furniture against the walls to make the room feel larger. Instead, open up the room by “floating” your furniture away from the walls. Place sofas and chairs in cozy groups (think about your guests gathering over drinks or a board game). Also, consider removing larger furniture pieces that block guests from seeing some of your home’s best features, like your windows or fireplace.
Take a cue from hotels—keep surfaces clear and clutter-free, Alicia advises. Everything in a hotel is placed intentionally, with an aim to create a relaxing, calm space free from unnecessary stuff.
“Screens can look blurry and be a distraction in photos,” Alicia says. Don’t use screensavers, either.
Alicia suggests hiding any messy cables, such as phone cords or TV wires. “If they’re too long to hide, remove them for the photo shoot and reattach afterward.” Another noticeable vacation home staging detail—the seams on your lampshades. Turn them toward the wall, so the camera just captures a smooth surface, she recommends. Don’t forget to straighten any tilted lampshades, too.
Hang towels neatly on a rack, straighten the bath mat, tuck away any trash bins and plungers, and close the toilet lid, Alicia recommends. For glass showers, leave the door closed. Or, if you have a shower curtain, push it all the way to the side so the shower head is visible.
The focal point is the bed, so make the bed beforehand, tuck sheets in, and smooth out any wrinkles. For the finishing touches, Alicia advises to:
Above all, make sure your home is shiny and spotless for every photo. Before every photo shoot, our Vacasa team has each vacation home professionally cleaned and staged.
Want even more help marketing your vacation home and standing out from the rest? Let’s chat about all the ways to get your home more visibility.
Our Vacasa interior designers offer these tips:
While smartphones have certainly made it easy to take high-quality photos, it takes more than a great camera to create images that drive bookings. The best vacation rental images require logistics. This includes shooting flattering angles, using the right exposure, balancing light and shadows, capturing the most appealing composition, and perfecting details in post-production. Your vacation home images are too important not to hire a professional photographer. That’s why we work only with local professional photographers to create all our homes’ imagery.
Take a cue from our expert vacation rental photographers. Some tips to consider:
Call 844-518-0967 to speak with a Homeowner Consultant, who can answer preliminary questions and see if we’d be a good fit for you.
If you'd like to move forward, we’ll put you in touch with our market expert in your neighborhood to explore the financial potential of your home, outline our management fee, and introduce your local team.
Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Mark Graham); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 947-800-5979; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Susan Scanlon, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC, P.O. Box 283, Conway NH 03818, Dave Grant, Broker of Record; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan E. Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacasa Real Estate Corporation, California DRE #02105811, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Colorado, Daned Kirkham); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Maine, Michael McNaboe, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Suite 600, Lahaina, HI 96761; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.