Great Pictures make all the Difference

Allright… I know you have all heard that great pictures can make the difference when marketing your vacation rental. And it is true!  Good pictures can bring in 200-300 % more inquiries for your rental. The first thing people look at when browsing the listing sites are the pictures. You only have a couple of seconds to capture someones attention and bring them in to look at more pictures and see what your rental is all about.  But what makes a great picture? And can you make a good picture …great yourself?

I am a jack of many trades but master of none and photography is one of these areas.  I consider myself an above average photographer and have learned how to make pictures look amazing from some of the best people in the business. I am going to give you some of the secrets I have learned over the past 15 years that will help you take and make great pictures!

A common myth is that you need an expensive Digital SLR camera and, while it helps, you can get very good pictures with any digital camera.  I have mid level camera. A Nikon D5100 to be exact.

One of the keys to making a picture and/or room look great is to make the room look as big as possible.  You can do this several ways. The first is to take a picture up high looking down into the room. This will give the room a ‘Birds Eye View’ and help make the house look big.  The next way is to take several pictures of the room and ‘Stitch’ the pictures together to create a full view of the room. The last option, and the one I prefer, is to use an ultra wide angle lens. I use a 10-24mm lens from Tamron (Tamron SP AF10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 DiII).  I shoot most of my shots at the 10 mm setting.  Most cameras come with an 18 mm lens. A 9 mm lens would be twice as wide as an 18 mm lens just to give you an idea of how wide the lens really is!

My next, and most powerful, secret weapons are Adobe Photoshop and the NIK collection of filters.  Adobe Photoshop is fairly expensive but incredibly powerful software program that can do amazing things to photos.  The good news about Photoshop is that Adobe has changed their licensing program to a pay as you go, cloud based system. They also offer a 30 day trial for new users.

Photoshop by itself can do some amazing things in regards to photo touch ups. I used Photoshop in my early days to adjust color balance and brightness of photos. Below is an example of an untouched photo and one with the color balance and brightness changed.

The real secret to making any photo into an amazing photo is a new set of filters that sit on top of Adobe Photoshop. The software is called the NIK collection and is made by Google. Below are several picture of one of my rentals. All pictures were taken with the 10 mm Tamron lens mentioned above. Top pictures are untouched and bottom pictures have been re-touched with Adobe Photoshop and the NIK Collections of filters from Google.


 Unretouched Photo


 Retouched Photo using Adobe Photoshop and the Nik Collection from Google using the Color eFexPro filter


Untouched 3553IngrahamKitchen1

 Retouched Photo using Adobe Photoshop and the Nik Collection from Google using the Color eFexPro filter

You can do some amazing things with these tools. I am still scratching the surface with these tools but happy to share everything I know. Please contact me if you would like more information on anything talked about in this article!



About Greg

Greg is the owner of Pacific Coast Vacation Properties, a high end vacation rental management company located in San Diego, CA. He also owns a full service real estate brokerage company that helps owners buy vacation rental and commercial property. In his spare time, Greg volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and other charitable groups in San Diego.

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