Tips to take great photos for your home swap listing

Looking for a home swap holiday? Taking great photos is one of the most important things you can do to make sure that your home swap offer stands out. You don’t need to be or hire a professional photographer. All you need is a smartphone or a point-and-shoot camera, along with some time and attention. Search home swap holiday offers

Tip 1. Get your home ready (clean and declutter)

Home swap listings where the photos show cluttered, messy rooms can be quite off-putting. That’s why great photos start well before you pick up the camera. Think about how to show your home to its best advantage and convey a sense that it would be a comfortable, pleasant place to stay. Also, keep in mind that what people see in the photos gives them a strong impression of the kind of person you are and how well you take care of your home.

Clean up the kitchen and the bathrooms
Dirty dishes in the sink or on the counter? Toothpaste splattered mirrors and crumpled towels in the bathroom? These initial impressions can often be a key factor in deciding if you feel comfortable staying in their home and whether you’d trust them to stay in your home.  
Make the beds and put away your clothes
You might have a great bedroom with a brand-new bed, but that won’t matter if photos show unmade bed and clothes scattered on the floor.
Put kids’ toys away or arrange them neatly
Even people with kids might be put off by toys strewn willy-nilly around the house. (Ever stepped on a bunch of Legos or tripped over a toy truck on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night?) It’s okay to leave some toys visible (a train set is always nice) to show that yours is a family-friendly home. Otherwise, stash them all.

Tip 2. Choose the right time to take the photos (think about lighting)

Your home will look more appealing if the photos convey a sense that it’s light and airy, not dark and claustrophobic. But even a spacious room with a wonderful view will look gloomy in photos taken at night or on a heavily overcast day. You can’t control the weather but do your best to take photos when the sun is out.

Tip 3. Take enough photos (but not too many!)

You want enough photos to get a good accurate feel for the home. At the same time, you don’t necessarily need to see five photos of a vase from multiple angles! Members of the London based home swap club, Home Base Holidays, want to see (1) if it looks like a place they’d like to stay in and (2) it has everything they need for a comfortable stay.

Show the space, look, and furnishings of every room
A good set of photos gives potential guests and exchange partners a “walk-through” of your home: here’s the living room, with full-size sofa, two armchairs, bookshelf… the master bedroom with king-sized bed, two nightstands with reading lamps... the kids’ room with bunk beds and a play structure... the den with 42” TV and entertainment centre… the kitchen with gas stove, microwave, full-size fridge, and eating area... the master bath with walk-in shower, the kids’ bath with tub… Okay, so your home doesn’t have all those things. But let me see what it does have.
Show the spaces between rooms
Do you have an entry hall? A hall that leads to the bedrooms? A cubbyhole with a little desk? Include them in your photos. Hallways and other spaces convey a sense of space and help people see how the various parts of your home go together.
Include photos of the amenities mentioned in your listing
Even though you check the relevant amenities boxes when you set up your listing, it’s nice to include photos. For example, when you photograph the living room or den, include shots of the television and entertainment centre. The kitchen photos should show at least the oven/hob, fridge, microwave, and dishwasher. A shot of your desk can show the high-speed wireless modem. Don’t neglect the washer and dryer, if you have them. Travellers, especially those with children, always appreciate being able to do laundry so they don’t have to pack as much.
Remember the outdoors
If you have an outdoor area, it’s really good to show this in your home swap listing. Take photos of your balcony, deck, patio, garden, and/or backyard. Show your barbecue, outdoor table, play structures, basketball hoops, hot tub, swimming pool… anything that might interest potential guests.
Highlight your home’s special features
Original features such as a stone fireplace? Make sure to show this in your listing. If your home has a fabulous sea view, this will be such a selling point and so make sure to take photos that show this off at it’s best. Think about what you love about your home and try to capture those features in your photos.
Show the exterior
Take a few photos that show what your home looks like from the outside, including one that shows the front door and walkway. For apartments, it’s nice to include a photo of the building, the lobby, and/or the hallway with lift and front door. Also include a photo or two of the immediate neighbourhood.
Add personal touches / welcome folder photo
Personal touches, such as showing flowers or folded towels and toiletries for your guests will really make your listing stand out. Also, include a photo of your home swap welcome folder and local travel brochures …this will add an extra level of reassurance to any potential guests that you will have taken the extra effort to make their stay in your home / neighbourhood a good one.
Have a pet? Include a photo
If you have a pet it can be a good idea to include a photo as this will be useful information for potential guests (for example if they have allergies). Also, if you're looking for pet care during the swap, it's nice to use the photo to introduce your pet friend.

Tip 4. Add captions to the photos

It’s good to include a brief caption with your photos so people know what they are looking at: “Second bathroom with tub and shower,” “High-speed wireless internet modem.”, “Our Home Swap Welcome folder”, etc.

Home Base Holidays: arrange a home exchange holiday

Sign up to Home Base Holidays two-week free trial and start planning your home swap holiday accommodation. 

March 25, 2024

March 15, 2024

March 07, 2024

February 27, 2024

February 20, 2024

February 08, 2024

Search home swap blog posts:


Home Base Holidays - Home Exchange Vacations