The different approaches when photographing properties 'For Sale' and properties for 'Airbnb'.
Today I wanted to touch on the different approaches that photographers face when photographing a property that is going for sale and a property that is going to be listed on Airbnb or other short term rental sites. Both require different marketing strategies and both require completely different approaches, even though your subject is still the same. So how does a photographer properly approach the situation? Let's dive in.
When photographing a home that is going for sale generally you do not want to show personal items, you want to declutter as much as you can, and you want to make it look like a 'model home'. You want prospective buyers to be able to visualize themselves and their personal items in your home. Less is more in this sense. The angles that a photographer takes is also quite different because generally you want to showcase more of the home and less of the small personal details that the homeowner has throughout the home. A photographer can/should see the potential in a home and will try to relay that to a prospective buyer by the angles that they take. It's all about creating a story and helping the buyers see the beauty of the home and the architectural design that it comes with. Too many photographers I believe focus too much on the personal items rather than the architecture itself. Taking close up shots of a dining room table rather than taking a photo of the dining room and incorporating the dining room table to it. The focus should always be the architecture in that room and then incorporating whatever is in that room to your shot.
When photographing a property that is going to be used for Airbnb or other short term rental sites the approach is quite literally the opposite. When photographing a property for Airbnb you do want to showcase personal items such as shampoo bottles, dishwashing soap, kitchen utensils and cutlery. Normally in a kitchen you want to showcase all the appliances whether it be a toaster oven, waffle maker, air fryer, cutting boards, etc. For a property going for sale this would mean having a 'cluttered' kitchen countertop. However for an Airbnb it is not clutter at all. You want to showcase these items because these are selling points to your potential renters. The 'homier' you can make the Airbnb the better chance you have to get your rental property rented due to the amount of conveniences that your property has to offer. You want close up shots of board games that are being offered to your guests, close up shots of the coffee bar, close up shots of a media room with high end sound systems and gaming systems. With an Airbnb you are selling the 'vibe' that the property comes with rather than focusing on the architecture. To be honest, I struggled with this in the beginning because naturally I would want to remove all the kitchen appliances, hide the soap and shampoo bottles, and focus more on the architecture rather than what the property had to offer. This is when I realized just because I can take photos of a home it doesn't mean I can do a good job unless I know what the end goal of the property is going to be. I need to know exactly how the property is going to be marketed so I can properly convey the images in order to tell a story.
As a photographer it's all about adapting to your situation and understanding what the end goal is in order to properly convey and market the property. Throughout the years I have photographed dozens of Airbnb's and have helped these homeowners properly convey their property in order to maximize their investment. Airbnb's have a different approach which allows the photographer to be more creative, whereas a home going for sale you generally want to be conservative in your angles. You want to showcase the property for what it is because that is what the potential buyer will see when they eventually view the property. You are not selling them the personal items that come with the home (unless conveyed), you are selling them the architecture of the home and the land that it comes with. You don't want too much razzle dazzle, just a pinch of it. Sometimes a tablespoon if there is a pool with a water feature.