Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Photographing a Holiday Rental

Above - A holiday rental beautifully styled and photographed for a client by Vanessa Wood Interiors

My blog is very much about beautiful images and the beach homes featured, often have me dreaming of summer holidays by the sea. Why then, do many holiday rentals use boring and uninviting photos, it's no wonder when you check their availability they have few bookings. It doesn't take much to have a holiday home look utterly irresistible when it is beautifully decorated and photographed correctly.

I am writing this post a little in reverse, talking about the photography before the decorating (that's next week's post). However, no matter how beautiful your holiday home may be, when it comes to the world wide web, your photographs are all a viewer has to go by and when there are many more homes to rent in the same location, your images need to be quality photo's that set you apart from the rest. At this stage, I want to add a disclaimer :) …I am not a professional photographer (although I do own a great camera), these tips are from my personal experience of photographing homes for my blog and they should help you achieve better images of your property whether it be a holiday rental or a house for sale.

When I go on holiday, I normally book my holiday rental on line, and it is only the well decorated and beautifully photographed properties that catch my eye. Dark or grainy images don't do justice to a property even if it is beautiful, yet attractive properties seem to be the minority. So, today I wanted to share some DIY photography tips for holiday or long term rentals. However before I discuss photos, if you are thinking about renting out a holiday home or a long term rental, I recommend using a rental manager. As a landlord myself, having someone take care of your property and tenants is a weight off ones mind. Rental management companies can also arrange for a professional to shoot your photos, however, if you are a total DIY'er, these tips will help you.

Photography Tips for Holiday Homes

  • Never use an iPad  or a phone for photographing a property for uploading to a website unless you are using Instagram to show off your property, then you could use photos from your iphone. Preferably use a DSLR camera, if you don't own one then a digital point and shoot is preferable to a phone, as phones may not give quality images when you try to upload them to a website. Most websites require "high resolution images" to look their best.
  • Use a tripod if you have one, this will stop any camera shake and enable you to take better images.
  • Don't reduce the size of your image before uploading unless you absolutely have to and then preferably no less than 1000 pixels. 
  • Make sure the images are as large as the website will allow, 1000 pixels is a good size to upload, however if they will allow you to upload larger sizes then do so.
  • Don't try and enlarge small images, they will become grainy when you upload. You can downscale large to smaller images but not the other way around.
  • Landscape versus portrait. This is a personal preference, however I much prefer portrait photos like the image above. Most of the photos I use on my blog are portrait style which means you have to turn the camera on its side to take them. However there are times you need to use landscape for a larger space but make sure if you are using a wide angled lens that you don't end up with a 'fish bowl' effect.
  • Take the photos during the day using natural light, do not turn on overhead lights or you will get a yellowish effect. Try for a time of day that the light is most even. If you have a DSLR camera then you should achieve a good image even in low light. If the light is not great on your photo, you can adjust it on a programme such as Picasa (free to download) or Light Room another photo image editing program. Don't over adjust though as you don't want your image bleached out. 
  • Don't take your photos at night, this may seem obvious but I have seen a few homes that have been entirely photographed at night. It makes me extremely suspicious about what the place would look like in the daylight.
  • Dining Rooms: Remember to take advantage of any views. Keep styling minimal, a vase of flowers or maybe a bowl of succulents. 
  • Kitchen: Make sure it is sparkling clean with minimal styling. I like to see an image of the cooking facilities as well as the overall space, such as the image below. Add a pop of colour with a bowl of green apples or lemons, you could also use a clear glass vase of flowers such as some white lilies.
Above - This is a shot from my own beach house currently rented out long term. You can see more photos of when it was finished (unfurnished) If I was using this angle in an advertisement, I would place a bowl of green apples to the left of the stove top and possibly a clear glass vase of flowers to the right of the sink. Note: that this image is not one I would use in an advert as it is not sharp enough and the light is not quite right.

  • Bedrooms: Make sure the bed is well dressed, the most important thing is that you want to show views and a beautiful, calming space. You are giving an impression of the room so there is no need to photograph every little square inch, however include any cosy corners or window seats. The size of bedrooms should be something you discuss in your descriptions so it is not necessary to include a landscape photo of the entire room if you are not able to. If you have a small desk, show this to your viewers. It is important to photograph all the bedrooms.
  • Bathrooms: Be careful not to capture yourself in the reflection of the shower door. Hang or neatly fold some white towels or if it is an all white bathroom, you could use a pop of colour such as green or blue but keep the shades summery. A simple vase with a single bloom or a large shell can look attractive beside a basin. A folded facecloth and pretty soap bar on top can also look nice. If you don't have a rail to hang towels on, you could use a stool with some folded towels or an attractive ladder such as one of the images I have used below.
  • Exterior: Include a photo of the exterior of the property, the front entrance can be a good start. Include any outdoor patio/entertaining area and of course, any great views. Style your outdoor table with a cheese board and a couple of glasses of wine, this will speak 'luxury and relaxation'. 
  • If your home is listed as 'pet friendly', you may want to include a cute image of your dog such as seen in house 2.
  • Above all, don't over style, especially if it is a beach house, you don't need nautical items in every image.
Below are three gorgeous homes beautifully styled and professionally photographed, they may not be holiday rentals but they are coastal homes and I have chosen them because the images clearly depict the style and mood of each house. The photos are clear, bright and the homes are beautifully presented. I feel these images are perfect examples of what you should be looking for when photographing your own place. 

Above: A coastal apartment with a few images that tell all - via Bernard Interiors

2. Below, a home beautifully photographed by Wickenden Hutley, unfortunately there are no images of the bathrooms in either of these homes. In the case of advertising a holiday rental, you should include bathroom images, so I have added a few examples of well photographed and styled bathrooms at the end of this post.

Above: A cosy corner depicts a relaxed atmosphere

Above: Photograph window seats, especially if they have a view

Above: If you have a feature fireplace, show it off

Above: A beautifully dressed bed

Above: It is ok to take an angled shot

Above: I love shots like this they make the bed look so inviting

Above: If you are unable to take the entire bedroom, break the images up by showing the bed and a corner. In this case it shows there is a wardrobe and it has been beautifully styled

3. Below, a basic seaside cottage, these photos show how a small place can look fantastic.

Above: Photos by McCaren


Above- Image via Victoria Balson Interiors

Above: Image also Victoria Balson

Above: Take advantage of any views -  Image via Lee H Skolnick Architecture & Design Parnership

If you are thinking of renting your holiday home, I recommend looking around at images of other properties advertised in your area. You should now be able to spot good photos from bad and if you follow my tips with your photos and styling, there is no reason why you shouldn't have more lettings. Of course much will depend on the furnishing, so next week I will be posting on how to decorate and furnish a holiday home (on a budget) and have it looking gorgeous.

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