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Don’t make these property photo mistakes. The hidden costs of using low-quality photos on your rental income

Published on: Apr 24, 2024

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Many landlords are tempted to use non-professional photos in their rental property listing. Sure, you’ll save $100+ upfront and get photos instantly if you just use your smart phone. But you will ultimately lose money with lower rental income. Why?

The quality of your photographs can significantly influence a potential renter's decision to want to inquire about your home vs. another home nearby with better photos. A renter might only look at your listing for a few seconds before deciding to pursue it or move on.

According to PlanOlabs, listings with professional photography leased 11% faster and for 10% more. That means, for most properties, you’ll earn back the cost of the photographs right when you lease your property. And, you can re-use these photos for years and will earn thousands more over time.

Are you a professional photographer? By all means, take your own photos. Not you? Here's why professional photography can be a game-changer in the rental market, and some pro tips if you want to take your own photos.

Pro tips that show the differences between pro & amateur

Note the position of the sun for your exterior shots. 

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Be careful with rooms with mirrors

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Take wide angle shots

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Your pet is cute but the renter may not want to see it in your listing

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Nail the lighting

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Get that angle just right

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Declutter your space

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Quality First Impressions

First impressions are crucial in the rental market. Professional photos capture the best features of your property with the right lighting, angles, and clarity. These photos reflect a level of professionalism and care that potential tenants notice immediately. In contrast, amateur photos often fail to showcase the property effectively, potentially turning away prospective renters who might not see the property’s true potential.

Highlighting Key Features

A professional photographer knows how to highlight the strengths of your property. Whether it's a spacious kitchen, a cozy living room, or a breathtaking view, these key selling points can be enhanced with the right techniques. Professional photos use lighting and angles that make spaces appear bigger and brighter, an important aspect when trying to appeal to online shoppers who can't experience the space in person first.

Faster Leasing

Properties with high-quality photographs tend to lease faster. This is because professional photos are more appealing and engaging, helping potential renters envision themselves in the space. These images can generate quicker and more enthusiastic responses, leading to more inquiries and showings, and ultimately, a faster leasing process.

Standing Out in Competitive Markets

In a competitive rental market, your listing needs to stand out. Professional photography can make your property pop amongst a sea of listings. With better visual appeal, your listing is more likely to get saved and shared, increasing its visibility and the likelihood of finding a tenant sooner.

A Worthwhile Investment

Investing in professional photography for your rental listings can yield a high return. The cost of hiring a professional can be quickly offset by shorter vacancy periods. Plus, high-quality images can be reused for future listings, provided the property’s appearance remains consistent.

Enhanced Online Presence

Most property searches begin online, where visuals are paramount. A professional photo creates a stronger presence on listing websites and social media platforms. This can boost your property's online profile and attract a larger pool of potential renters who are influenced by the visual cues in your listing.


The rental market is highly competitive, and landlords need to leverage every advantage they can. Professional photography is not just about taking pretty pictures; it's about strategically presenting your property in the best possible light to attract and engage potential renters. Remember, in real estate, seeing is believing, and what potential renters see online can significantly influence their leasing decisions. Investing in professional photography is investing in your property's potential to attract quality tenants quickly and efficiently.

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