They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to vacation rentals, that cannot be more true. In fact, photos are arguably the single most important part of any good vacation rental listing, as many renters merely scan over the photos before stopping to actually skim any of the information you’ve worked so hard to compile together. Not only can improving rental photographs significantly increase click through rates, but it can also increase bookings by making your specific property stand out among the millions of other rentals available in any given vacation spot. And while it is sometimes well worth hiring a professional photographer, there are plenty of ways to personally ensure that your home looks its absolute best online.

Travelers rely heavily on photographs of any property when choosing where they will lay their heads each night while away from home. Here are some tips on how to make your vacation rental photos shine

Follow These 5 Tips For Good Vacation Rental Photography

1. Spacing.

In order to fully showcase the look and feel of your home-- as well as most clearly depict the size of the space-- it’s important to do your best to fit the whole room into the photograph. Think of a stellar photograph as four equal quadrants, so try to feature something interesting in at least three of the four.

Feel free to move around that furniture in order to make sure everything’s included in the frame, or get a better angle of the entire area by standing on top of a chair or ladder. Make sure to orient the camera for horizontal shots instead of vertical shots, as these wider pictures will show more of the room—they’ll also appear much better on the various sites where your property will be listed!

2. Staging.

Inviting scenes help even the dullest rooms come "alive," and in order to brighten up your property, it all comes down to how you stage it. The bottom line is that when it comes to vacation rentals, people want their vacation homes to be enticing, appealing, and super inviting. Most want to rent out spaces where they can picture themselves in, so be sure to stage every single room, inside and out.

Add bursts of color and set the dining room table. Place a book on the table or some wine glasses by the pool. Light up the BBQ and decorate the patio for a grilling party—if you’ve got a balcony with a great view, make sure the table and chairs on deck look good for having morning coffee while overlooking the surrounding scenery. Basically, arrange everything in a way that any sort of guest will most likely use, even down to miniscule details in the bathroom with folded towels and an amenity-filled basket of spa items. Think of your vacation rental as an alternative to a hotel, so those fabulous photos have got to be attention grabbing and more than immaculately styled.

3. Put your best shot first.

So for people whose sideways bathroom photos are the first to show off their rentals, this if for you. It’s pretty self-explanatory: Put your best FIRST. Too often, pictures are loaded up in the order they are taken, which doesn’t always necessarily do you any favors. Look through your photos and ask yourself which pictures capture the essence of a vacation home at its best. It could be the pool or the view or anything else but whatever the strongest selling point is, that should be the picture you lead with. The front picture of a home or condo listing can even come two or three pictures in, as you have just about 30 seconds to capture a visitor’s attention. Make sure that first photograph, headline, and opening sentence draws 'em in to take a closer look.

It is also critical that your photos look somewhat professional and are properly showcased on the web. Display the images in high resolution and full screen. Also use relevant captions, tags, and keywords to describe each image. According to Flipkey, travelers are 83% more likely to make an inquiry on your property listing if you have over 20 photos, so get the best click through rates and the most bookings by bulking up on good old images.

4. Lighting & Color

Shadows are not your best friend when it comes to vacation rental photos, so turn on those lamps, open those shades, and light up those fires. Lighting is perhaps the single most important and most difficult thing to capture correctly. For outdoor pics, pretty blue skies are a must, as no traveler wants to imagine their vacation being in a gloomy, cloudy, and overcast location. The best time of day for outdoor pictures is probably dawn or dusk, since the light is typically softer, the sky more radiant, and the shadows available abler to help dramatize the landscape.

Indoor photographs are best taken mid-morning or late afternoon with as much natural light as possible. Open those blinds and windows and try turning on all incandescent lights. Be careful of the sun’s glare and make sure to watch for lurking shadows. Superb lighting can make any room warm and inviting, so draw those visitors in with clarity, high resolution, brilliant hues, and by making good use of all available light to brighten up your rental without washing it out.

5. Be Clean & Clutter Free.

This is a no brainer: Clutter is bad and has got to go. Remove any and all unnecessary items on the countertops and bookshelves—basically, to get the best photos possible, your home should be free of clutter. Also make sure there are no people or flash reflections in your photographs and that all images are recent and up-to-date (i.e. no time stamps from 1997)! You might also want to deep clean your space.

Tame those unruly cords hanging from electronics, lamps, or window shades. Be sure the surfaces of your beachfront property are not covered in shells and rubber crab shells. No traveler likes the tangle of unappetizing black electrical spaghetti or messy dirt filled oceanfront porches. Neat, clean, and worry free is the way to go.

This article was written by Pamela Chan.