Photo Shoot Standards for Short-Term Rentals

Photo Shoot Standards for Short-Term Rentals

Welcome to the Angel Host standards of professional photography! 

Striving to redefine vacation rental management, we ensure all our listings get the professional attention they deserve. This is partly accomplished through pristine photography.

This is why we want to make sure you have the right equipment and that you are aware of the standards we are striving for. As the first team member to visit the property, you have a very important role: you’ll capture an accurate representation of the property, highlight the home’s best features, and help us confirm that the home is ready to start welcoming guests. 

These guidelines were created to help you understand our requirements and prepare for your shoot.  Let’s dive right in!


Equipment Requirements 

To shoot for Angel Host, you’ll need the following equipment:

CAMERA DSLR or Mirrorless camera with automatic exposure bracketing settings that let you choose at least 5 shots with 2 full stops between each.
WIDE-ANGLE LENS 14-16mm on a full-frame camera or 10-11 mm on a cropped-sensor camera.
TRIPOD A sturdy tripod is very important – you’ll use it for each shot.
SHUTTER RELEASE Wireless shutter release or cable release helps avoid camera shake or blur.
LENS HOOD Highly recommended to help prevent glare and lens flare.
LENSPEN OR CLEANING CLOTH Great photos start with a clean lens! 


Camera Settings

Please use the following settings when photographing the property:

CAMERA MODE Aperture priority
AUTO EXPOSURE BRACKETING (AEB) Set your camera to take 5 shots with 2 stops (EV 2) between, or 9 shots with 1 stop (EV 1) between. In very high-contrast settings, you may need to take 2 bracketed sets.
APERTURE f/8 to f/11
ISO Under 400 
SHUTTER SPEED Determined by camera
WHITE BALANCE Auto (adjust if necessary)
METERING MODE Matrix/Evaluative (Spot for very dark rooms)
IMAGE QUALITY High-quality JPEG or RAW. We recommend an image size of 4200 by 2800 pixels. Minimum of 4000 pixels on the longest side.

Since you’ll encounter a wide range of interiors with different lighting conditions, there may be times when you’ll need to adjust the settings specified above to get the best photo. Please use your professional judgment!

Angel Host Photo Shoot Standards


Guidelines for Your Shoot

Now that your gear is ready to go, it’s time to get started!

We’d like to remind you that photographing vacation rental properties is a little bit different than real estate photography—it’s less about the property’s features and more about showing the experience guests will have in the home.

We recommend that you walk through the property and try to put yourself in the travelers’ shoes. What makes the home special? Is there anything you would need to see before deciding to book? What would make YOU want to stay there? 


1. General Condition of the Home

The homeowner will be instructed to properly clean and prepare their home for the photoshoot. However, if you notice any minor cleanliness/tidiness issues (a crooked towel, a counter that needs to be wiped) please fix them before taking your photos.

If you encounter unsafe conditions while you’re in the home, (a staircase with no railings, a patch of mold in the bathroom, etc.) please photograph them and let us know.

If you arrive and find the home very unclean or otherwise unfit to be photographed, please do not proceed with the shoot. Snap a few photos to document the situation and contact us for further instructions. 


2. Lighting and Staging

We love light, bright, airy photos! The goal is to illuminate the rooms and help guests imagine themselves in the space. 

For interiors, please:

  • Open all blinds and curtains
  • Turn on all ceiling lights, lamps, and other sources of light
  • Do not use flash
  • Turn off all TVs and ceiling fans (unless TV has a nice screensaver)
  • Close toilet lids
  • Open shower curtains
  • Remove toiletries, dish soap, laundry detergent, cleaning products, refrigerator magnets, and anything else that would be distracting in the photo 
  • Make sure bedding, pillows, and towels are neat
  • Remember to capture the minimum number of photos for each space (see below)

For exteriors, please:

  • Do not photograph garbage or recycling bins
  • Remove anything distracting, like hoses, empty planters, ashtrays, etc.
  • Remember to capture the minimum number of exterior photos (see below)


3. Composition

This is where you get to be creative. Scope out each room and identify the best shooting locations to show off the property’s best amenities and features. Often, that means backing into all four corners to get great angles.

Keep the rule of thirds in mind, and make small adjustments where necessary to compose beautiful frames!

Shoot a variety of images, both overviews, and closeups:

  • One-point composition (straight on) – be very careful when you level your camera for perfect horizontals!
  • Two-point composition (in general, toward a corner) – these are great for showing space and flow. Please capture only two walls in these shots.
  • No three-point composition, please! 
  • No fisheye lenses!

Provide photos that help guests understand how the home is laid out. That means including doorways, stairways, and other connections in your shots. 

Be sure to capture the minimum amount of images for each space (detailed below) and please:

  • Shoot all images horizontally. If you’re in a tight space and must shoot vertically, please also provide a horizontal alternative for the shot.
  • Use your tripod for every shot. Set it at about 4.5 feet. Make sure the camera is level and that you’re shooting straight—don’t tilt the camera up or down, which will create distortion.


4. Minimum Requirements

For your shoot to be accepted, please be sure to provide the minimum number of images:

  • At least 25 images, no matter the property size. There is no maximum number of images.
  • At least 4 angles for each room/space:
    • All bedrooms
    • All bathrooms
    • Kitchen
    • Living room
    • Any common spaces
    • Any exterior spaces or amenities 
  • At least 1 image showing the front of the home/building 
  • When possible, at least 1 image showing each side and 1 image showing the rear of the home or building

For the following, no photo editing is required

  • At least 1 image showing the main entrance door.
  • At least 2 images showing the home/building and its relationship to the street.
  • At least 1 image showing the lockbox, when present.
  • At least 2 images showing the garage or parking space, when present.
  • 1 image of the washer/dryer or in the case of buildings where there is a laundry room, 1-2 images of the laundry room. 

Angel Host Photo Shoot Standards


Finally, remember to:

  • Use your lens hood in all photos. This helps avoid glare and lens flares.
  • Watch out for your reflection! Don’t accidentally photograph yourself in reflective surfaces

Use the equipment and settings specified above. For tricky spaces or difficult lighting situations, you may modify settings as necessary to get the best photo—please use your professional judgment.