How Great Photos Increased Beach Vacation Rental Rates by 63%

Sunflower House

In the world of beach rentals, first impressions are everything, and the transformative impact of exceptional photography on rental rates cannot be overstated. Consider the remarkable story of how a series of stunning photos managed to elevate beach rental rates by an impressive 63%. This story underscores the tremendous influence of visual storytelling in the digital age, where compelling images can transport potential vacationers to their ideal seaside escape before they’ve even packed their bags. These captivating pictures, expertly highlighting the coastal charm, inviting interiors, and breathtaking ocean views, not only attracted the interest of beach lovers but also instilled a sense of confidence and reliability. The investment in professional photography was nothing short of a game-changer, turning an ordinary beach rental into a highly desirable, high-yield vacation haven. The takeaway is clear: when it comes to beach rentals, great photos are worth more than a thousand words – they’re worth a substantial boost in your rental revenue.

What to Capture?

Living Area of Sunflower House

In today’s digital age, more is often better when it comes to photographs. A useful rule of thumb is to document every space accessible to your potential guests, and within each room, aim for a variety of shots – at least three per room, including wide-angle, mid-range, and close-up views. Additionally, it’s beneficial to anticipate the questions that potential guests might have. For instance, they might be curious about seating arrangements in the living room or the level of kitchen equipment. While capturing your property, try to answer these questions through your photographs.

Photographic Approach


When photographing your vacation rental, it’s wise to consider the property’s “wow” factor and emphasize its most noteworthy areas. The following formula often yields excellent results:

  1. Begin with a minimum of four focus shots highlighting the unique features and comforts that set your property apart.
  2. Next, capture the communal spaces, such as the living room, kitchen, and game room.
  3. Thirdly, head outdoors to photograph the deck and the view.
  4. Finally, ensure you capture images of all the bedrooms and bathrooms.

Once you’ve ticked these boxes, proceed to photograph the remaining areas of your property. This approach not only streamlines your photo session but also aids in organizing your image album effectively.

The Hero Image

Private Beach Access at Sunflower House

Not all images are equal; one holds more significance than the others. The hero image serves as your property’s banner, typically occupying a more prominent position in the photo album. Think of the hero image as the initial glimpse potential guests will have of your property – use it to catch their attention.

Don’t be overly modest with your hero image. It’s perfectly acceptable to showcase your property in the best light, even embellishing its allure a bit. This picture should encapsulate the overall charm of your property and evoke emotions in potential guests. It’s essential to note that the hero image isn’t necessarily the front elevation shot, as it may not always be the most captivating. The aim is to create an emotional connection.

Pools are a highly sought-after amenity, making them a common choice for the hero image. While many property owners believe that showcasing the view is most crucial, our testing suggests that combining a view with an amenity like a pool is the ideal choice. If such a combination isn’t available, a interior shot or an image of the game room are excellent alternatives for the hero image.

The Optimal Group

Airbnb, VRBO, and most platforms organize pictures to offer a sneak peek into your property with a group of four or five shots that appear first in a gallery view before the user opens the entire album. Similar to the hero image, this mix will offer your guests a good idea of your property without revealing all the details.

Think about what are the key features of your property. Does it have a game room? What are the remarkable details that add extra charm and personality? What’s around it? The goal is to summarize everything, but with a certain logic, showing your potential guests the value they are about to get.

Things to Have in Mind During Your Shoot


When the time comes, think about the tips below:

Leverage Natural Light


It’s always best to photograph your property during daylight hours with curtains open. Natural light not only enhances the quality of your photos, even for interior shots, but it also imbues them with an authentic and natural ambiance. To ensure balanced lighting, even when the sun is shining, turn on all the room’s lights, including table lamps, hanging fixtures, and concealed lighting in areas like the bathroom or kitchen. This practice minimizes disparities in brightness between the interior and the exterior, resulting in superior photographic outcomes.

Different Types of Natural Light exist, and professionals often recommend making the most of the “golden hours” of the day, which occur during early mornings and late afternoons. During these times, the light is diffused and soft, concealing imperfections and casting a dreamy, natural glow over everything, subtly evoking viewers’ emotions.

Setting the Ambiance


Photographing your property is a special occasion, and preparation is key. Ensure your property is clean, tidy, and adorned with elements that enhance its allure. Create the perfect setting for a picture-perfect interior that forms an emotional connection with potential guests.



Staging & Coloring


Elevate the ambiance with touches like plants, flowers, candles, and stylish cushions to increase the property’s attractiveness. Utilize props such as magazines, books, or a bowl of fresh fruits to prevent your photos from appearing overly catalog-like. Prop styling adds a narrative element and shows potential guests how they can use the space, fueling their imagination. When staging, consider offering a glimpse of what’s inside drawers, set the table for a meal to display your tableware, or leave selected appliances on the kitchen counter, such as the coffee machine and toaster. However, be mindful of clutter and ensure that it’s organized without overly distracting objects.

Be prepared to adjust and move items during staging, as things may not appear the same on camera as they do to the naked eye. A pro tip is to capture spaces with colorful or bold elements to establish contrast and make your photos truly stand out.

Framing & Composition 


Photographs possess the ability to unveil, yet they can also deceive. As previously mentioned, what your naked eye perceives can often differ significantly when viewed through the lens of a camera. Here are a few technical tips to elevate the quality of every shot:


The Importance of Angles


Ensure you capture at least two or three wide-angle shots that effectively showcase the entire spatial layout. Envision an imaginary grid and endeavor to keep your lines straight as much as possible. Position your camera at eye level and parallel to the floor, as this tends to result in the most aesthetically pleasing shots. However, it’s advisable to avoid shooting flat walls whenever possible, as this can create an illusion of reduced space. Instead, seek out an appealing corner and photograph it. This technique introduces a sense of perspective, aiding viewers in estimating the room’s dimensions and heights, particularly if you have a beautiful rug to feature.

Additional angle tip: Position your camera at a height that allows the tabletops and upper portions of beds to be visible.


Find your Focus


In most rooms, there exists a focal point or a captivating feature that stands out. Exploit this to your advantage by capturing shots that emphasize these elements, which contribute character and personality to the space. This might encompass a fireplace where guests gather, a hot tub or pool defining outdoor areas, or a unique piece of artwork that illuminates the room. By highlighting these distinctive features, your listing will undoubtedly set itself apart from the competition.

Living Area of Dolphin Run

Crisp VS Blurry

While landscape shots typically take center stage in your photo collection, it’s entirely acceptable to capture a few portrait-oriented photos if your property boasts unique vertical features or objects. Regardless of the orientation, it’s crucial to maintain a sharp focus and contrast in your images, particularly in wide shots, to enhance clarity and showcase intricate details. The creative use of selective focus and a blurred background effect can be reserved for detailed shots, where it adds an artistic touch to the imagery.


Using Your Smartphone for Photography: Is it the Right Choice?


Hiring a professional photographer or having access to a top-tier camera may not always be feasible. Thankfully, modern smartphones come equipped with high-quality cameras that can effectively capture your rental property.

The same principles outlined earlier apply here as well. If you excel in staging, composition, and master the appropriate settings and lighting, your smartphone photos can possess tremendous potential. Additional tips for smartphone photography include activating the grid feature to assist with framing, turning off the flash to avoid harsh lighting, and holding your phone at eye level in landscape mode, maintaining parallel alignment with the floor.

It’s important to note that achieving a slightly wide-angle lens look and applying a touch of HDR style is still challenging with current smartphone technology. In light of this, you face a choice: opt for a fully do-it-yourself approach, utilizing your smartphone photos, or exclusively employ professional shots. A combination of both may accentuate the quality gap and create confusion in your photo album. If feasible, investing in a professional photographer with expertise and the right equipment remains the recommended path.

Elevate Your Rental Experience with Carolina Beach Realty


When it comes to optimizing your vacation rental’s visibility, appeal, and profitability, partnering with Carolina Beach Realty is a decision that promises lasting benefits. Our commitment to exceptional service, combined with a deep understanding of the vacation rental market, will ensure that your property shines in every possible way. From professional photography, expert staging, and superior marketing, to a wealth of experience in property management, we offer you a comprehensive package tailored to your success. So, whether you’re looking to maximize your rental income or provide an exceptional guest experience, our partnership with Carolina Beach Realty is your key to achieving those goals. Join us and discover how we can transform your vacation rental into a thriving success story.