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How to Improve the Photography on Your Airbnb Listing

Good photos are golden when you are listing on Airbnb. Bad images can hold back a lot of DIY hosts. 

Jeremy Mason McGraw is a luxury hotel photographer who has 20 years of experience photographing locations around the globe. McGraw has recently decided to start a YouTube series based around helping Airbnb superhosts with their imagery. He begins by finding a host with a very high rating with a quality listing that is using cell phone photos. Then, he books the listing with the intent to surprise the owner with brand new images. 

In the video, McGraw talks about how to frame the image to show off a room. One of the biggest problems with the lister's pictures is that most of them are shot vertically. Airbnb will crop the image if you do this. If you shoot horizontally, you will see much more of the space. 

After composing the shot, Jeremy describes his strategy for color-balancing an interior. Creating a cohesive light color can be difficult, because you will often need to match daylight, tungsten, or fluorescent lights. The entire shoot is balanced to daylight. This means that he can have shots that show multiple rooms.  Shooting more than one room will make the apartment feel much bigger. One thing that caught my attention in the video was McGraw's kit. He packs a very high number of speedlights. It looks like he supplements a Profoto B10 with a heck of a lot of Profoto A1s. If you look closely at the photos, you will notice the use of highlights around the room. When you combine this type of dynamic lighting with diligently balanced color, it makes for a professional-looking image. 

If you are looking to improve your interior photography or the photos in your Airbnb listing, I would recommend checking it out.

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36 Comments

Previous comments
Jeremy McGraw's picture

Hi Clara. Here is Episode 2 if you would like to see it :-) https://youtu.be/Q17vAfz-aNk

michael andrew's picture

The contrasting flavor of opinionated comments is probably due to the fact that this video was not made for a photographer audience. It appeared this video was made for an intended purpose of a personal project (for potential fans and clients of the photographer) and a proof of concept of better marketing (for hosts not photographers). This video didn’t seem to be made for photographers of any level at all, it had no real tutorial value so stop criticizing the maker of the video for that, it has pretty low technical content to steal from so stop being mad you didn’t get more free industry tips in this “trade education and college is always free in the 21st century mindset” and it never once directed itself as the end all be all of product standard. He simply made a video with a fun to him intention and the host was greatful. Why is everyone looking so deep?

Jeremy McGraw's picture

Hi Michael. I just posted episode 2 if you are curious :-) https://youtu.be/Q17vAfz-aNk

Bavarian DNA's picture

I think its a nice gesture of this guy and having multiple lighting units can indeed help reduce the workflow and balance exposures and colors across the area of interest. " Same goal or target with different approaches are he point here "

Jeremy McGraw's picture

Thanks. My thought is I would rather spend the time behind the camera than on the computer and you have a lot more real control with lighting than with post process anyway. I say this understanding that some markets of photography like real estate, do not typically allow for the time it takes to light every shot. My chosen areas do. If you would like to see episode 2 I just posted it :-) https://youtu.be/Q17vAfz-aNk