May 18, 2023

How to Increase Occupancy and Profit with Photography

One of the most commonly asked questions from new midterm rental landlords is “Should I hire a professional photographer to take photos for my listing?”. Our answer will always be a definite YES.

Photos are one of the first things a potential renter sees when they open your listing. You can have great amenities, but if your photographs don't do the property justice, it is much harder to “sell” your midterm rental online. Even if it won't be a forever home, potential renters want to know they will find your space to be relaxing and homey. Here are a few pointers about using photography to increase your profit, and tips for if you aren't ready to invest in a professional just yet!

The Cost of a Professional

While a photographer might seem like an intimidating investment at first-it is likely cheaper than you think! Because real estate photography is relatively quick and straightforward, you can usually find someone in your area for less than $300.

We highly recommend talking to local realtors or using websites like to see if you can find someone in your area who fits your budget.

If you can't find someone in your budget…

We still have some great tips for making your midterm rental shine in your listing. For some, the startup costs for a new midterm rental may already be capping out your budget, and we get it! If that is the case, rest assured that there are still some easy ways to make your photography look clean and stand out.

Equipment You Need

Rest assured you do NOT need any sort of fancy camera equipment to get the quality photos you need for your listing. We are helping you figure this out on a budget, remember?

Your smartphone photo quality will be more than enough for what you need, especially if you follow our tips for staging and editing. Plus, there are tons of free apps for photo editing such as Snapseed or the Phone Photos App.

Camera Settings for Quality Pictures

Camera phones have come a LONG way and can do a lot of work with minimal effort, but there are a few small adjustments you can make to your settings to give your visuals a little extra pop.


Looking for more LIGHT in your rooms? Exposure is where it's at. And it doesn't matter if you're working with an iPhone or Android, the exposure is easy to adjust!

The AF Lock Method

  1. Open your camera app.
  2. Tap somewhere on your image that is a mid-tone (not the bright white curtains, and not the dark brown carpet).
  3. Simply swipe up or down to adjust your exposure!
  4. When exposure looks good, tap the shutter button to take the photo.

The Slider Method

  1. Open your camera app.
  2. Tap the arrow at the top of the screen, just below your image window.
  3. Hit the arrow to expose the hidden features.
  4. Slide to adjust exposure.

*For Android users, enter Pro mode on your camera instead of steps 2&3.

For more tips, be sure to check out this article from iPhone Photography School.

But How Bright is Bright Enough?

The answer is in the details!

We can almost guarantee that whatever your camera captures first is not bright enough. You want white objects in your photos to be WHITE, and not a washed out gray. However, don't brighten the photo SO much that you start losing details and texture that define your rental property.

For example, if the photo starts to look overly edited, shiny, or almost blurry, that is too bright! As a general rule, we typically shoot real estate photography in +1 to +2 exposure.

Tips for Beginners

  1. Horizontal or Vertical?

    More often than not, in real estate photos it makes sense to use a horizontal orientation. You want to make your rooms seem as spacious as possible, and using your phone vertically can make a space look cut off or cramped. However, if you have to take a photo vertically to make sure the angles look correct, just be sure to rotate your pictures to be right side up on your listing.

  2. Wider is Better!

    …in real estate photography at least! Remember, your potential tenants want to be able to get a feel for the space, not so much the details. They want to see how the living room flows to the kitchen, or how their bedroom will be laid out. Be sure to take photos from as far back as possible, so they can really SEE the space.

  3. Level it Out

    Nothing is worse than trying to get a feel for a space while looking at a crooked picture. Your camera has a grid setting that will help you line up your shot, so use that to keep everything level!

Staging and Composition

Do you need to spend a ton of money on top-quality decor and accessories for your space? No! But you do need to make sure the decorations flow together and give the space a put together feel.

The composition of your photos helps bring all of the small details together. Take a step back and look at your space–does it look like a place someone has thoughtfully put together? Is there a style or theme to the room? Make sure your photos highlight that your space is cohesive and thought out, and don't worry about small details like the brand of towels or microwave you purchased.

Just Do the Thing!

Truly–don't overthink it! We know you have worked hard to prepare your property, and photos of the space are to show it off to the world. Take more than you think you need, and it will get easier as you go along. Remember, you can share 2-25 photos per listing, and the more you share, the better you can represent your space.

Also, be sure to share your photos on social media and tag us @FurnishedFinder. We love seeing our landlords putting our tips to use!

Author : FF Team