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Rental Photography for Vacancies

August 21, 2023

Better Photos for your Vacancy Listings

Vacancy listing headings and photos are the first visuals rental seekers see, whether they’re searching on, Zillow, Zumper or other syndicated listing websites.

Renters are visual, and your listing can either make them book a viewing and speed up time to rent, or cause them to leave.  Renters aren’t buying empty rooms, they’re buying the emotional effect the ad and visuals have on them.

Great Rental Photography Pays Off

Good rental photos build powerful first impressions, emotional impact, accentuate the right features, increase transparency about cleanliness, care and layout (renter trust), respect prospects’ time, cut down on low-quality inquiries, and give you an edge on capturing great new prospects (whom your competitors are reaching too).

Great photos help:

  • increase the relevance of the unit to renters
  • increase competition for the unit
  • grab attention, increase emotional impact and memory
  • increase time-on-page and engagement
  • quicken time to lease
  • support higher asking rent price

If you’re taking photos during a costly vacancy and unit turnover, make the most of this to capture lasting value. These photos can be used on your rental property website for years as promotional images to communicate the condition of your properties, management quality and boost your company brand.

For leasing pros and property management services firms, good photography skills are essential.

Crafting the Beautiful Rental Listing

And these key visuals can help you craft your rental ad copy to generate emotional impact, and appear inviting and welcoming. Your listing ad with photos is a powerful selling tool and should be well-presented to your audience. Advertisers often say, the medium is the message, and photos speak loudly.

Some advise renting your unit fast with better photos, yet your goal is to make a good impression, appeal to the best-qualified and targeted tenants, and encourage them to pay a higher rent price. The visuals and information in your ads together create the persuasion you need.

Does Your Camera Quality Matter?

Camera quality does matter, yet you may be fine with your smartphone camera if it’s a newer model. I worked with a Realtor in Canada who used a $16,000 DSLR camera and yes it did produce astonishing, professional-quality pictures. He knew buyers deserved the best views and that great photography is part of showing respect for his clientele.

Another Realtor in Florida I worked with used a camera system that created 3D virtual tours, providing a uniquely positive visual experience on his website. Successful pros make much effort to promote their product professionally. Branding is essential.

Still, the newer smartphones today offer astonishing clarity and lighting adjustment. Remember that darkened rooms and hallways will pose a challenge to good photography.

Photo editing software can help to lighten up and warm up any picture, so your smartphone may be all you need.

Get yourself into full marketing mode so you’re motivated to see all the key features that renters want to see.

21 Tips for Great Rental Photography:

  1. take photos when the units are empty so you can clean them and paint where necessary
  2. take shots of rooms (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room) that are of most interest to renters (is the room large enough, is it functional, is lighting okay, are the appliances fairly new, and other practical questions renters have)
  3. stage the empty units tastefully to boost value, warmth and presence
  4. stage the units according to the preferences of your audience (artwork on wall, laptops on tables, bicycles against wall, to make it more relevant to them).
  5. use a high-quality smartphone with exceptional photography sensitivity and resolution
  6. shoot pictures and videos on a lightly overcast day where there are less shadows and glaring bright light and reflections
  7. bring your own lights (warm LED lights) if possible to improve warmth and clarity
  8. highlight the most important feature (living room, big windows, kitchen, bathroom)
  9. use a camera tripod to steady the camera to avoid blurring
  10. turn on your camera’s gridline system to guide accurate shots
  11. stand in a corner or doorway for the most expansive, interesting and inviting angles
  12. use wide shots of the kitchen to highlight the functionality and potential
  13. add some items of color (pillows, towels, designer bottles, table decorations) to make the view more interesting and inviting
  14. use short videos to show the flow and layout of the rental and any attractive amenities on the property
  15. try a lower angle on shots (4 feet) to build a more intimate/warm view
  16. select a great view out the window/balcony (e.g. with some blue sky) or from a street level view of the apartment building (don’t use standard photos used which renters have already seen)
  17. clean up the yard and optimize curb appeal (first view from the roadway) and get some green in it
  18. do some landscaping/plants/flowers to demonstrate care for the property
  19. take as many shots as you can and then choose the best for your listing
  20. crop out parts of your photos that distracting or uninviting (e.g. ceilings)
  21. refer to your state laws regarding photo editing but at least clip and compress the photo so it doesn’t take too long to load into a browser via a mobile device.

Avoid any misrepresentation of your property, because visitors will be upset and applications will drop. It’s not the right way to begin a new tenant relationship.  Realistic, well-taken photos of your rental property help to encourage online sharing via social media and help attract leads for your other units.

Learn more about ManageCasa’s rental vacancy syndication network along with how you can easily manage your listings on the ManageCasa platform.

Speak with our sales team now about your particular challenges and needs, and take a free trial of the ManageCasa platform.


Property Management Companies | Property Management Services | Property Maintenance | Local Maintenance Companies | How to Write Listing Ads | Property Management Software | Best Smartphones for Landlords | Rental Listing Websites | OPTECH Conference 2023 | Vacancy Advertising

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