Landlord Guide On Professional Property Photography

Landlord Guide On Professional Property Photography

Landlords are still getting it horrifically wrong, and I honestly don’t know why. Even worse, agents are also completely screwing it up, and they’re meant to be the professionals (which mostly charge ludicrous amounts, but that’s another story).

I’m always left bewildered whenever I jump onto Rightmove/Zoopla (or any other property portal) and view vacant properties with dingy-ass photos that look like they’ve been taken on a Nokia flip-phone straight out of the 90’s by a toddler. Blurry, lop-sided, and clouded by profoundly poor lighting. What the hell?! Common sense, people!

You’d think they were trying to flog old rags, not assets worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Baffling.

I’m not even going to waste my time on those that don’t provide any images at all. They’re on a totally different dim-witted planet. Bloody animals, they should be locked up if you ask me.

Table of contents

How Poor Photography can KILL profits!

Exhibit A: Apparently an image to entice tenants…

Terrible marketing image!

An actual image used to market a property. Corner of a room, with a laminate wall… brilliant It was shared by a baffled prospective tenant on Twitter


Poor thing, desperately making it clear it’s not her property. And who can blame her?

The worrying thing is, there is someone out there, whom is presumably very dangerous, that believes that image is fit for purpose. The presumption is, that person believes that image is useful, and optimised to generate enquiries, as opposed to scaring the shit out of someone.

Like I said, monkey.

The all-too-common practice of supplying insufficient photography is truly baffling. Please stop it if you’re guilty. Right now. Because there really is no excuse for it, and it’s extremely damaging.

One of the most expensive and frustrating periods for any landlord is when a property remains empty in-between tenancies. A vacant property is landlord cancer.

Alas, the ongoing costs of running a BTL continue with or without revenue flowing in. That’s why it’s crucial to minimise void periods. Ideally, we want the new tenants piling through the front door before the old one’s have had a chance to pack their crap up and roll out.

While there are many ducks we need to put in a row in order to find replacement tenants ASAP, I believe using high quality photography is one little ducky that cannot be forgotten or understated. Actually, other than price, I’d say photography is right up there at the top of the pecking order. Of course, none of this is rocket science, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that:

  • Dingy and lop-sided images repel interest (refer to ‘Exhibit A’). Engaging images generate more enquiries, and more enquiries equate to shorter void periods, which ultimately means big savings!
  • Poor presentation will attract low level tenants. If it looks like you’re trying to flog a steaming barrel of shit, what kind of tenants do you think you’ll attract?
  • We’re trying to sell an extremely expensive product, not a pack of peanuts (to be fair, I’d want to see a clear picture of a pack of peanuts before I order them online. But that proves my point!).

Warning: avoid going live with any adverts on major property portals like Rightmove & Zoopla without decent pictures, otherwise their date sensitive algorithm will destroy you (i.e. they give precedence to newly listed properties, so you don’t want maximum exposure when your advert isn’t all it can be, because you could miss out on a lot of enquiries).

Case study: the power of using professional photography for property adverts

I swiped this case study from Upad (with their permission of course), demonstrating the importance of quality images.


Here are the images a landlord used to market his vacant two bedroom property in West London:


Poor composition, bad lighting, wonky, and blurry as hell. Basically, they’re ridiculous. Waste of time.

I know, I know! *slaps forehead*

Despite being in a busy rental market and being competitively priced, the property received a big, fat zero enquiries in the first week. The landlord eventually cottoned on (after a careful nudge from Upad), that his terrible photography might be his Achilles heel. So he decided to get some professional photographs taken.

The after shots

Professional photography by Upad

Professional photography by Upad

This is too obvious.

Within seven days of adding the new professional photos, he had received ten tenant enquiries and found a professional tenant at the asking rental price.

How to purchase Professional Property Photographs & how much do they cost?

If you’re paying a high-street agent…

If you’re paying a high-street agent for a tenant-find service, ensure the service includes a photography service (I’d literally avoid any agent that doesn’t include one, because that would be… weird). And for the love of God – for the reason already explained – do not allow them to launch any listings without any pictures at all.

Exhibit B:

Another quality listing

*slaps forehead*

If you’re a self-managing landlord…

If you’re a self-managing landlord that’s using an online letting agent (or any other means that entails online marketing), then I recommend splashing out on a professional photography package (most online agents will offer it as an optional add-on for roughly £100, so it’s relatively reasonable).

Alternatively, you can order a professional photography package as a standalone service (options listed below).

The good thing is that the images can be reused for future marketing campaigns (presuming they don’t show an out-dated and misleading story).

Professional Property Photography & Floor Plans
SupplierNotes / IncludesPrice
Notes / Includes

Property Photography

  • Up to 10 high-quality photos
  • Helps grab online attention
  • You own the photographs
  • 48 hour delivery turnaround
£99Inc VAT
(Normal price: £109)
More Info

£10 Discount Code: PIP10

Notes / Includes

Professional Floor Plans

  • Includes room measurements
  • Helps tenants visualise
  • Recommended for larger homes
  • Free amendments
£89Inc VAT
(Normal price: £99)
More Info

£10 Discount Code: PIP10

Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each service up-to-date, but you should read the T&C's from their website for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Can I take my own photographs?

Absolutely. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take half-decent photos, but you will require a half-decent camera and lens, and a good eye for detail.

Modern smartphones with high-res cameras can do a reasonable job these days, but nothing beats a high-end DSLR camera with a wide angle lens – operated by someone that understands composition and lighting – to maximise appeal. If that’s you, go for it.

However, be warned, the “I can do it myself” approach is how self-managing landlords often run into problems. This is very much one of those cases where you need to play to your weaknesses and strengths.

In other words, if you don’t have a creative bone in your body and photography is absolutely not your thing, then you’re likely to end up with a bodge-job that will inevitably cost you more in the long run. Being under the false pretence of having an objectively keen eye for design and presentation is half of the problem in this situation, the other half is landlords being total cheapskates.

Tips to taking good quality photos (in case you feel up for the challenge)

  • Use a wide angle lens, they are essential for capturing the full view of rooms
  • Phone cameras have improved leaps and bounds over the years, so newer models with high-res cameras can do a nice job. However, avoid old camera phones like the plague, like my Nan’s faithful Nokia. Of course, no phone, regardless of how “smart”, can compete with the results a high-end DSLR camera can produce.
  • Take the pictures in daylight
  • Make sure the rooms/property is well presented e.g. clean, uncluttered and tidy
  • I don’t think staging/props (e.g. furnishings) are essential as long as you can show the space available, but they can help prospective tenant’s visualise how the space can be used
  • Bathrooms and kitchens tend to do most of the selling

Word of warning: Relativity & Deception

Before I checkout, I want to end this email with a dose of reality!

What I mean by that is, if you have a property that’s realistically going to achieve £200 PCM, then spending £100 on professional photos probably wouldn’t be a wise investment. The reality is, prospective tenants won’t be expecting much in return for £200 PCM- they definitely won’t be expecting glossy images of a show home. That said, no matter what the value of your property, ALWAYS post clear and useful images, with or without professional photography.

Secondly, you’d be wise to recognise the difference between showcasing a true representation of your property and selling a fantasy. The point of using high quality pictures is to present your property in its best light and highlighting its key features, it’s not to sell something that doesn’t exist.

Hope this has been useful… to someone!

Landlord out xo

17 Join the Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Matthew 28th June, 2010 @ 19:52

The viewer always feels there is something to hide if there are no photos. Nobody wants a deceitful landlord!

Guest Avatar
Ginsterlam 30th June, 2010 @ 09:54

Absolutely! Visual imagery is a very powerful communication tool.
Take for example dating websites. Boy you would need a charisma that would set the screen on fire if you were to get any dates without a profile picture!!

Guest Avatar
GillsMan 1st July, 2010 @ 07:08

Completely agree. I was attempting to sell a house just as the market crashed when you'd thing agents would be doing everything they could to market the property properly, but actually the dumb fucks didn't put any of the pictures on and only used a really wanky description so I sacked them took the house off the market, marketed myself for rent and am now making a nice little profit off of it.

Moral of the story: yeah, always use pictures.

Guest Avatar
Ginsterlam 1st July, 2010 @ 10:05

...but then if you have crap images you may as well have none at all.
The person responsible for taking the pictures really neeeds to do a little bit of creative art direction.
I find a wide angle lens is absolutely essential! Remove any clutter away from the space you are going to photograph. What I can't stand are photo's displaying nothing but mess and pictures of overgrown gardens and so on! What's all that about? It would help also to invest in some imaging software like Photoshop. It does wonders to add a little contract and also brightness to the pictures taken under poorly lit conditions such as dark hallways and so on. It just helps to freshen everything up a little.
But I definitely agree, pictures and especially good pictures will increase your selling/renting power.

Guest Avatar
David GW Barlett 1st July, 2010 @ 20:43

We all agreed on the use of images, but which one to use as the 'default' image that is displayed in the listings gallery of properties?

Most estate agents indicate that the first (default) picture should also be a front exterior shot. However, in my area most mid-terraced houses look almost identical to each other, so I'd be interested to conduct the same experiment again, but this time measuring the responses to adverts with differing default images (i.e. internal shot of kitchen Vs. internal shot of lounge Vs. external front shot)

Best regards, David

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 2nd July, 2010 @ 06:39

Hey David,

I've never actually thought about the importance of the "default" image, and you make a good point about terraced housing tending to look similar!

It's well worth experimenting with if it means generating more enquiries and/or page views!!


Guest Avatar
Ginsterlam 2nd July, 2010 @ 08:52

I think an external image is really important for the first shot.
similarly you can say the same thing with an image of a block of flats. Which one is it? The description then plays the part i.e. 1st floor, 2nd floor, so on and in your scenario 'mid terrace'. People generally get the idea. But if you don't illustrate this, then my prediction is that there is something really unsavoury or possible wrong about the exterior/area in general.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 2nd July, 2010 @ 09:04

Yeah, I'd have to agree. I think the external image is the important first shot! My thinking is, if the outside of the property is awful, I don't want to look any further! But that's just my speculation...

You'd probably need to run a few experiments to find out what works best. For agents who compete on sites like Rightmove that are trying to shift multiple properties, it might be worth seeing what converts best.

Guest Avatar
Propapedia 6th July, 2010 @ 15:58

I am in absolute agreement, the results from our website (which I can not describe due to blog rules) indicates that using visual imagery is absolutely critical.
Yes tha above experiment may have been rudimentary, however it is on the mark.
We find that properties with photos recieve far more attention than those without, bith for the rental market and the sale site of the business.

Guest Avatar
Fredo 20th November, 2010 @ 14:29

I'd just like to point out that property 2's external shot, which will be on the thumbnail next to the listing link, is more appealing.

Basically the photo to No.1 has the building and it looks like there is a busy car park right in front of it. Photo No.2 has greenery, blue sky and shows the area in front of the building isn't some pokey car-park/backstreet.

Guest Avatar
Sian 9th September, 2012 @ 17:49

Although we create AudioVisual tours we rely heavily on Estate & Letting agents providing quality images that don't show the loo seat up or the cats tray in the kitchen.

Sadly they don't like being given direction on how to take the best photo's preferring the "point & shoot" method as its quick and less time consuming for them which translates to awkward and time consuming for us.

I agree with "Ginsterlam" that a wide angled lens is a must and also not to over process the photo; an enhancement is all that is needed if the original photo has been done well.

Guest Avatar
R.Hopkinson 6th December, 2018 @ 22:42

Why do people need so many photographs? Why not go and VIEW the property! It irritates me so much, as other factors such as location may be good or bad for potential tenants.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 7th December, 2018 @ 11:02

I don't think photographs are intended to substitute viewings. Just like glossy car brochures aren't meant to substitute test drives. They're simply there to peak interest...

Guest Avatar
Benji 7th December, 2018 @ 20:08

They're simply there to peak interest...

Pique interest, twat.

Prospective tenants who don't already know the area will be lucky to get a viewing on a decent property. Timewasters are two a penny.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 7th December, 2018 @ 21:07

Yeah, that too, I guess.

You know what I meant!

Guest Avatar
Dace Dastardly 9th June, 2022 @ 17:19

Phone cameras are surely good enough nowadays though? (11 year old post) I admit ignorance in photography still though, rarely take any.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 9th June, 2022 @ 17:34

Agreed, modern smart phones are more than capable these days :)

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