How to Take First-Rate Listing Photos with Your Phone

How to Take First-Rate Listing Photos with Your Phone
Airbnb Advice
July 1, 2019

Capturing appealing shots of your property is a fundamental step in Airbnb hosting. As one of the only opportunities to stand out amongst the competition in search results, it’s vital for your photos to be attractive and encapsulate the experience booking with you offers. 

For many, going with a professional photographer is the preferred method of securing great images, however, if you are more into doing things yourself, it is possible to take photos on your own. While it’s always crucial to have high-quality images on your profile, the latest smartphones are able to take outstanding pictures, allowing hosts to get their own photos with the right staging and lighting. 

With proper preparation and equipment, hosts can produce stunning shots of their own homes simply by using their phone, here’s how:

Preparing for the Shoot

To present your space as somewhere guests will want to stay in, it’s necessary to create a polished look for your photos. Cleaning and staging are vital steps in this process and you may also need to put some effort into extra decorating if you are yet to do so. 

Your photos should display your property looking its best so it's always advisable to have everything spic and span and make sure things are placed in the correct place.  Each room in your home will have different needs in your preparation so it’s important to understand what people will look for and what should be focused on

Living Rooms

Living rooms and bedrooms are often chosen as the primary photo for Airbnb listings, so it may be this area in which you choose to place the most effort. It’s important here to create the most inviting space as you can, with extra emphasis on comfort and relaxation. Creating a homely vibe will allow your photos to stand out and garner well-deserved attention. 

Here are some tips on living room photo presentation:

  • Hide all wiring
  • Place pillows, blankets and accessories on couches
  • Open windows and doors
  • Display eye-catching coffee table books
  • Clean glass and reflective surfaces

Kitchens and Bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms are usually rife with shiny surfaces which will really show how clean a place is in a photo. Make sure you have taken the time to clean every surface and put each item in the correct place. While you do want to show off extra amenities such as attractive kettles, toasters, coffee machines or microwaves, you never want an area to appear too cluttered in a photo. With these areas, it’s a great idea to make an environment that feels livable yet organised, to best appeal to a wide range of guests. 

Some tips for kitchen and bathroom presentation include:

  • Decorate with flowers, a fruit bowl or wine
  • Showcase amenities
  • Organise every item; tea, coffee, soap etc
  • Keep toilet lids closed
  • Have ample towels out


Bedrooms are another key area of your listing photos and another area in which creating a comfortable look is important. Make sure your bedding is straight, clean and appealing, the bed should have a few pillows stacked and you can even consider adding a few folded towels at the end of the bed - hotel style. People will always pay attention to the bedroom photos, so expect for these to be given more scrutiny than any other room.


Your backyard can be a really great place to showcase in your listing, but it can also be one of the hardest to photograph. Make sure your lawns are mowed, you’re taking your photos on a fine day and you’re capturing the view if you have one. Guests can sometimes be sold on a listing simply by seeing that it has an inviting outdoor space, so, if you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Phone Photography Pointers

Once you’ve cleaned and staged your rooms to the best of your ability, it’s time to start snapping and capturing those great shots. Start with standing as far back as possible to get the entire room in the shot from each direction. It’s a good idea to take multiple photos from different perspectives as you will be able to choose the best one at the end. 

One of the most important things in phone photography is to ensure your camera is held straight-on and you aren’t taking any blurry shots. For the most part, this can be avoided by tapping your screen before you take a picture as this will cause the camera to focus on the scene. In your phone settings, you also have the option to add a grid to your camera, which can be very helpful with spacing and layout. 

Many people take their photos from a higher angle, giving the appearance of looking down on furnishings. A better way to take pictures is to hold the camera at a lower point, around the waist level, and taking a shot straight-on rather than from above. This will give the guests a better idea about the space, rather than restricting the view due to lack of depth. It is also best to aim each photo from one corner of the room to another, if your layout allows this.

For the best lighting, taking photos during the day is the optimum time, in particular, around sunset. This will give a great glow to all your pictures, especially with outdoor shots. In your photos, darkness and shadows should always be avoided so don’t be afraid of turning indoor lights on for the most appealing results. You can also edit your photos once you’ve decided on your final pictures to adjust contrast and exposure. Play around with what looks good and what doesn’t, being careful not to overdo any effects. 

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