The Art of Staging and Photographing a Holiday Home

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When it comes to deciding on a vacation rental, there is no “try before you buy” option, so travelers are understandably critical when it comes to booking the perfect place for their family to spend the holidays. This means that it’s absolutely crucial that you have photos that capture the beauty of your rental in a way that feels natural and inviting. But staging photos is more than just that perfect shot and good lighting. It’s about showing your guest a glimpse of their visit and pulling inviting them in.

Whether you’re taking your own photos or hiring a professional photographer to capture those perfect shots, we’ve put together a few simple tips to help make your listed stand out among the rest.

Tailor your listing to match the seasons.


If you rent out your property year-round, consider changing up your listing with the seasons to give your guests an idea of what their visit will be like while they’re visiting, rather than what it’s like during the rest of the year.

While it’s not exactly easy to capture the beautiful snowy view if you’re creating your listing in the middle of the summer, there are still ways to decorate your home to make it look holiday-ready. There are many sites that have Christmas trees for sale year-round, giving you plenty of time to find not only the perfect artificial Christmas tree for your photos but also the perfect tree to have set up in your home when you have guests. Investing in simple, timeless holiday decor will make your images look more authentic, and you can always use those decorations in the home for renters to admire during the holidays.

Get to know your property.


Ask yourself what you hope your renters will love about your property, and what they hope to remember most about their holiday vacation. Make a note of which rooms look the best in which lighting, which features pop during the summer, and which stand out during the winter. How can you capture a room in its entirety without giving potential renters too much to take in at once?

If you are a professional photographer, it’s likely that you consider these questions automatically, but if you’re simply staging your home for photos, it’s important to step back and try to view the property as future renters will see it, rather than as an owner.

Make it look lived-in but neat.


It’s important that your images feature a property that is well-tended and clean, but it’s also important to make guests feel invited enough to relax. On the day or days of shooting, do a walk-through to make sure that your property is free of messes. Fluff pillows, hide electrical cords and wires, and straighten the beddings and towels. If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s been cleaned and then light a fire to create a cozy environment. Make sure any visible trash cans and sinks are clean and empty and store your vacuum and cleaning supplies out-of-sight. For a more live-in feel, place a couple of pairs of boots by the front door and hang a coat on your coat rack.

Approach your walk-through thinking “warm and inviting” rather than “sterile and clinical,” especially if your property is meant for families with pets or children.

Back up your photos.

You’ve probably heard the term “back up your back-ups,” and this applies to property photos as well! Investing in quality photo storage means that you don’t have to re-stage your property every time you want to make a new listing unless you make drastic cosmetic changes. This is especially useful if your property is year-round.

Owning a rental property can be a wonderful investment, and knowing that you’re contributing to lifelong memories can be extremely rewarding. Ensuring that you have a listing that stands out and invites your guests in doesn’t have to be a chore. It’s all a part of the process of creating lasting holiday memories.

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