The do's and don’ts of taking rental photos

posted on 16/02/2016 10:31:34 by James McAllister

The decision to rent instead of buy a home is one that is being made by an increasing number of millennials, and as a result, more people than ever before are buying property with the intention of letting it out to this so-called ‘generation rent’. However, not everyone is finding it easy to fill their properties with a suitable tenant, and here at Make It Cheaper we may have found a reason why.

Many inexperienced landlords will often choose to rely on estate agents to help them find tenants. Estate agents can be useful for a number of things, including setting up and hosting viewings. They are typically experienced in taking photos that showcase the best features of a property, however this isn’t always the case. You may be asking: “how hard can it be to take a photograph of a stationary subject?” – Quite hard for some, apparently.

It may not be the Sistine Chapel, but it certainly helps to take your time when photographing a property. The fundamentals of photography must still be observed even when taking photos of an empty room. Having said this, taking pictures of a vacant room doesn’t require a degree in photographic studies, but what it does require is some common sense.

Act natural

Weird creepy doll masks are a peculiar example. Some people collect and adore them, while others find them infinitely unnerving. Regardless of how you feel about them, there are certain things that shouldn’t be captured on camera, and when trying to rent out a home, perhaps they should be at the top of this list.

Everyone has different tastes when it comes to interior design. But, when visitors wince at the sight of your pride and joy, perhaps it’s an indication that your preference might not reflect a popular tastes.

When photographing a room for a rental advert, it’s best to focus more on a room’s functional points, than peculiar design features. If you suspect that you are guilty of imposing your own personal style on your rental flat – perhaps you should invest in some redecorating to improve your rental success rate. 

Safe and sound?

One key selling point for many properties is security. So, as a rule of thumb, if you’ve had a break in the night before, it’s probably not the best idea to take photos for your rental advert the following day.

In fact, one way that you could appeal to potential tenants - especially those located in inner cities where the crime rate is higher – is by highlighting the security features that your flat offers - providing it doesn't involve nailing two 2x4 wooden planks to the door. This may be a feasible option in a zombie apocalypse, but it might prove a tad inconvenient for day-to-day living - not to mention it’s a bit unsightly.

If your property offers legitimate security measures, it’s certainly worth highlighting these with your photographs, after all it could make the property all the more desirable to potential tenants, which is the primary goal after all. 

No pets!

You may love them, but there’s no conceivable reason why you’d include them in a property photograph.

Just as in real life, not everyone is fond of animals and pets, so keep this in mind when you’re taking photos to sell a house. You may find it cute if a pet imposes on a photo, but potential tenants probably won’t see it the same way.

If you want to indicate that your property is pet friendly, you could just include it within your ad copy. Remember, photos should be as neutral as possible to attract the highest number of tenants, and perhaps not everyone is ok with sharing their property with a horse… just a thought.  


The posing rule doesn’t just apply to animals. It’s just in some peoples’ nature to get in front of the lens and strike a pose… but when taking photos of your propert, it probably not the best time or place.

Everyone knows how to use a bathroom, so there is no reason why you would need somebody to pose when taking a photo of the bathroom.

The focus of these photos is to showcase your property, not you, so all photos should not have a subject, other than the room. 

How it should be done

So now we’ve shown you how it shouldn’t be done, we thought you may like to see some examples of how a room should be dressed and presented if you’re looking to rent out your property.

These photos from Miss Mustard Seed’s house show rooms which are clean, bright and airy – and as a result desirable. Each picture highlights the key features of a room, and if you’ll note, the main subject of every single photo is the room itself and not weird creepy doll masks or a resident horse.

As stated at the top of the page all that is really needed to take a decent photo of a room are the fundamentals of photography such as lighting composition, framing, and some common sense. However, it can often help to experiment with your shots to ensure you capture your property in the best light – why not show the pictures to your friends and family for an outsider impression of your property?

Don’t let poor photographs ruin your chances of finding your ideal tenant. Remember, your advert will give any prospective tenant their first impression of your property, and you’ll only have a handful of photos and a few paragraphs to form this opinion, so you should make it count.

It can be tempting to deprioritise your tenancy advert and rush it at the last minute, but it’s important that you don’t. Your advert will give potential tenants their first impression of your property, so you should capture the key features that your property offers in the limited number of photographs that are available. Another option is to employ the services of an estate agent, who will more than likely have extensive experience in photographing properties.

Providing you take your time and properly consider your advert, it is possible to communicate a wealth of information within the limited space that’s offered.

James McAllister

James is an online content creator at Make It Cheaper. Having previously created a variety of content for a number of websites and media outlets, James focuses on making it easy for SME owners to find interesting and engaging content - as well as useful guides and online tools.You can email James at

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