10 Things to do Before You Press the Shutter Button – Vacation Rental Photography Tips

Photos make a huge difference when you are advertising your vacation rentals. We invited Tyann Marcink, a professional photographer and vacation rental owner, to share her top tips on vacation rental photography. If you choose to photograph your own vacation rental, follow these simple steps to get higher quality photos that will showcase your vacation rentals in the best light.

1. Close it.

The fridge, cabinets, drawers…unless you are going for the ransacked look, that is. Otherwise, a list of what you provide on the shelves and in the cabinets is enough. Showing a closed refrigerator door does not imply that it is dirty or off limits.


2. Straighten it.

Bed skirts, comforters, shams, blinds, curtains, artwork, lamp shades, towels, mirrors…check that it is all straight and proper. Because crooked means sloppy. And sloppy means dirty. Who wants to spend their vacation at a dirty place?


3. Primp it.

Slouchy is sloppy, and you already saw where sloppy ends up. Punch up the throw pillows, and fluff the valances and curtains. Tweak the fabric to look its best.


4. Hide it.

Electrical cords, toaster, blender, waffle maker, magazines, coasters, crock pot, magnets, cleaning supplies…you get the drift. Small appliances can be in your amenities list, or show a creative photo of the item in use. How about a breakfast of waffles on the table, complete with fresh flowers, steaming coffee, and bubbly orange juice? Yum!


5. Date it?

Keep your dates exclusively for people. Go into your camera menu and turn off the feature that automatically applies a date to your photos.


6. Set it.

For sharper photos, use a tripod. This allows you to have a smaller aperture, a good depth of field, a longer shutter speed, and a low ISO. Not sure what that means and why you want it? See my eBook

7. Level it.

Keep the walls straight. Line up the edge of the viewfinder with a wall or a doorway. This may feel like a pretty funky angle when holding your camera, so another reason to use a tripod. You can then tweak the angle to get it perfectly straight.


8. Expose it?

Save your selfies for Instagram and Facebook. Areas with mirrors, particularly the bathroom, make it a bit difficult to avoid your reflection. Experiment with different approaches to the shot to achieve the best angle while avoiding exposing yourself.


9. Inspect it.

Snap a test photo and take a look at it on your camera. Our eyes will notice small things more easily when there is a limited view.

10. Don’t touch it.

Pressing the shutter button produces small vibrations in the camera. When using the tripod, it is best to use a remote shutter release. Choose a cable or a wireless version for as little as $7 to $20.


Tyann Marcink is a photographer in the St. Louis area. She and her husband Mike own two vacation rental homes in Branson, Missouri, and have hosted more than 3,000 guests in the past six years. Her eBook Create Killer Vacation Rental Property Photos – a How-To for Owners with Key Step-by-Step Instructions reveals the hidden secrets, the ancient myths, and the rock solid truths about vacation rental photography and how you can achieve the mysterious and elusive photos for yourself. Follow Tyann on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Photos used with permission from the vacation rental owners.

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