Your potential guests are out there. You just need to capture their attention and you do this with photos. Research shows that a decision can be often be made on photos alone, before text and even rates. You have the power to create a desire to book now, and that power lies with you, your camera and the ability to make magic happen with it.

This takes time so your photo shoot should be a planned exercise, not a matter of grabbing the iphone and taking a few snaps. Use a good digital camera, take the pictures in RAW setting, and use a tripod. The photos must be of excellent quality so if you are not able to shoot to this level, consider hiring a professional.

1. Feature Image

The feature image should be your best exterior shot. This is the first one your prospective guests will see when they come to your listing, so failing to attract them with this one could lose you their business altogether and they may move onto the next home.

If the exterior of your property doesn’t show well because it’s obscured by trees or it is in a condo building, use an image that shows the best exterior aspect which may be waterfront, or the view from a deck, or simply a Muskoka chair positioned on a dock.

2. Your Property Sign

A professionally made and colourful sign with the name of your property can have a positive impact on guests who might be wary of booking online.This upfront display of how they will recognize the place when they arrive has a psychological impact on how your guests connect with the place. The instant identification closes the loop between booking and arriving at the destination.

3. Patio Table laid for an alfresco meal

A bottle of wine, a few glasses, a basket of bread and a bowl of salad on the patio table is enough to get your guests imagining taking leisurely lunches outside. Always have the umbrella up and chairs neatly arranged around the table.


The best listings have stunning views. This could be a great sunset or the mist rising over water in an early morning. A simple set-up is a Muskoka chair with a cup of coffee and a Kindle/Ipad (or even a good old-fashioned book) on the arm of the chair. For sunset views, two chairs with a table between, a bottle of wine and two glasses can make for a very romantic image.

5. People Pictures

Some would argue that you should never have people in your listing images but certain images can dramatically increase conversions. Examples are someone paddling a canoe, kayak or paddleboard, a child fishing off the end of a dock, or if in a ski area, an image of a family on a ski lift, or sitting outside in the snow and sun. A picture of 4 kids jumping off a swim raft together was a great converter for one property owner. Just ensure you have written permission to use the photos for the purposes of advertising your property.

6. Bedrooms

Great bedroom images sell! You want your guests to imagine ending a wonderful vacation day by snuggling into your beds. They need to look inviting with attractive bedding, plenty of pillows and throw cushions and perhaps a draped throw across the end of the bed. Make sure lamps are on before you take the photos.

7. Fireplace

If your property has a fireplace and you offer it for winter rental, make sure you have at least one image of the room with the fire going. This creates an inviting warmth that is difficult to resist for people who are looking for a break in colder weather.

8 Hot Tub or Swimming Pool

A photo of a hot tub with a cover on it does little to inspire desire, whereas that same tub without a cover and the jets going can deliver a nudge to a casual looker and get them to book. Ripples on a swimming pool can have the same effect, and together with a deckchair draped with a colourful towel can have much more impact that still water and no action.

9 Kitchen

Most kitchen photos are taken of as much space as can be fitted in the frame yet a more impactful image could be of a recipe book opened on a stand with a bowlful of fresh veggies next to it. Although it’s important to show people what the kitchen looks like, you want your site visitors to feel like they are already inside it preparing their vacation meals.

10 Dining area

This is where you can really excel with photography particularly if your vacation home is rented for celebrations. Dress the table for different seasons – Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving etc., or for mood with a table laid for two for a romantic meal (great if your place is rented by honeymooners). You will have to ensure your guests have access to the same dinnerware as in the photos as this is not staging you can take down and remove as with a home sale. However, it’s possible to create very different images by changing out table decorations etc (which you do not have to supply). You then have different images to use when promoting different times of the year.

Even one or two of these images can have a powerful impact on your conversion rate. Imagine what it will be like when there are plenty more!


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