Home Owner Tips, Real Estate Marketing Ideas

Do I Need Professional Photography For My Airbnb/VRBO Rental?

By Lindsay Goebel Last Updated February 24, 2023 5 min read

Airbnb and VRBO are third-party listing websites where property managers and homeowners sell short-term rentals (STR). If someone is looking to book vacation accommodations for a house or unique, private lodging, they search these sites. 

So, how popular are these rental platforms? Very. Airbnb has over 7 million listings in 100,000 cities globally. Each month, 14,000 new hosts join the site. 

When you list a rental on Airbnb and VRBO, you want to intrigue potential renters instantly. There are several areas on your listing page where you can shine. Your listing page includes rental images, a descriptive headline, quick home stats, what the listing offers, reviews, and more. 

Denver real estate photography

Remember, if you are renting your home in any town, big or small, you have competition on Airbnb and VRBO. How can you help your Airbnb listing stand out on rental websites? Do you have the right amenities? Does your listing description sell your rental? Are the images you upload good enough, or should you hire a professional photographer? Does Airbnb provide professional photographers? 

All of those are valid questions and ones you should consider when publishing your STR on third-party booking sites. 

This article discusses the final question: Do you need professional photography for your short-term vacation rental? 

Here are five reasons why every short-term listing needs to feature professional real estate images: 

Capture attention faster

Professional listing images are proven to capture attention faster and hold visual attention longer than those taken by an amateur photographer. When you compete with several similar STRs in your neighborhood, first impressions are crucial. This is especially true on sites like Airbnb, where the first thing users see is an image thumbnail of your property. 

eyetracking study

A professional photographer captures and produces listing images that intrigue renters and leave them wishing to see more of the space. With professional listing photos, expect to wow potential renters even before they click on your listing. 

Receive 2.5x more clickthroughs 

Vacation rental listing pages that feature professional photography receive 2.5 times more clicks than ones that do not. This statistic should be eye-opening for hosts. 

If you do not receive clickthroughs from potential renters, you will not get bookings or grow your business. More than half a million people search Airbnb per year, and they only click a listing if the thumbnail looks intriguing or if the price is appealing. 

Offer better visualization of your STR

Professional real estate photographers have the skillset to make an Airbnb or VRBO listing look spectacular. They know the right angles and composition to offer excellent visualization of the space. Professional photographers also understand how to adjust the lighting and color in post-production. 


Consider this: your STR provides a large kitchen sunlit with a quartz island for entertaining, but the images you took make the room look dark and small. A professional photographer can retake pictures of the kitchen and represent the space correctly, if not better. They have a wide-angle lens to capture more of the room, and they use image bracketing to get the exposures and lighting just right. Your kitchen now looks bright and large, how you want potential renters to envision the kitchen.  

Make your listing look luxurious 

Even if your listing is average for your area, professional images make your home look luxurious and attractive. Every room seems more appealing, especially in comparison to other amateur-shot listings in the same neighborhood. 

Professional photos can help any STR look like a luxury home, no matter the price, size, or amenities. 


If you want potential renters to think, “wow, the home looks so nice, and the price is lower than I expect for a place like this,” then professional photography for your Airbnb or VRBO rental is absolutely necessary. 

Book more reservations

Hosts who use professional photographers for their Airbnb listing receive 24 percent more bookings and earn forty percent more than hosts who display amateur listing photos. 

If your goal is to book your STR and make more money than ever before, hiring a professional photographer to take your vacation rental images is the right move. 

Who should you hire to take professional photos of your Airbnb/VRBO? 

Airbnb does offer professional photography in some markets. After submitting a photoshoot inquiry and approving their price, Airbnb sets you up with a local photographer. Once the images are captured and retouched, Airbnb uploads your new photos directly to your listing. 


There are likely several professional photographers and photography companies you can hire for your listing photo shoot. Learn how to find the right professional photographer in your area with this article

Virtuance is a leading real estate photography and visual marketing company located in over 30 cities nationwide. Virtuance photographers are available to schedule in some of Airbnb’s most popular destinations, including Los Angeles, San Deigo, Atlanta, Miami, Austin, and Las Vegas. 

Take a look at what other hosts are saying…

One VRBO host swapped out his iPhone 5 listing images for professional photos and saw an income increase of 39%. He quickly realized that “good enough” hadn’t been working. With new pictures of his home, he increased prices as he continued to book reservations.

Vacation rental owner, Michelle, was able to book her Arlington, TX property for months following her professional photography shoot. “So many listings now you wouldn’t believe it,” she told Virtuance. Better yet, she was able to sell one of her properties for more than she imagined. She credits her professional photographs.

Chad, a Nashville VRBO host, received eight new reservations within nine days of posting professional images of his listing. “I expected it to start heating up for 2018, but I definitely think the new pictures had a lot to do with it,” he stated.

Better photos equal more reservations, and more reservations equal more profits and positive reviews. Furthermore, more positive reviews equal more reservations, and the cycle continues. If you want to earn more money from your short-term rental on Airbnb and VRBO, hire a professional photographer to take your listing images. Schedule a shoot with Virtuance today.