The Art of Capturing the Ambiance of Travel & Hospitality Experiences

The Hudson Valley and Catskills region of New York is a magnet for those seeking a peaceful retreat from city life. With its breathtaking mountain views, quaint towns, and rural charm, it’s no wonder why this region has become a sought-after destination for Airbnb renters from around the world. Whether it’s the appeal of modern rustic style, farmhouse living, or cabin life, the Hudson Valley and Catskills region offers a unique experience that can’t be found in traditional hotel stays.

The Art of Capturing the Ambiance and the Best Angles for Your Airbnb Photos – by Photographer Maxwell Alexander, MA(FIT), BFA(SVA) – Presented by Alluvion Media

As a professional travel lifestyle photographer, I have had the pleasure of capturing the essence of hundreds of top Airbnb listings and other short-term and vacation rentals in this region. From cozy cabins nestled in the woods to sprawling farmhouses with rolling pastures, I have seen firsthand the beauty and charm that each property has to offer.

What sets Airbnb listings in this region apart from others is their rustic charm and connection to nature. To capture the best angle for your Airbnb photos, it’s essential to keep these unique features in mind. Showcasing the natural beauty of the area, the warmth of farmhouse living, and the coziness of cabin life is key to attracting potential guests.

Photographer Maxwell AlexanderAirbnb Photographer New YorkHudson Valley – Catskills

One of the towns in the Hudson Valley and Catskills region that stands out for its Airbnb offerings is Woodstock. Known for its vibrant arts scene and laid-back vibe, Woodstock has become a popular destination for travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city living. While shooting a farmhouse property in Woodstock, I was struck by the peacefulness of the property’s surroundings. The rolling hills and fields provided a stunning backdrop for the rustic charm of the farmhouse, which made for an ideal photo shoot.

Another town that caught my eye while shooting Airbnb properties is Rhinebeck. Located in the heart of Dutchess County, Rhinebeck is known for its historic charm and upscale vibe. I had the opportunity to shoot a stunning Victorian mansion in Rhinebeck, which was the epitome of luxury and elegance. The property’s grandeur was captured perfectly in the photos, which showcased the beauty of the mansion’s architectural details and lush landscaping.

Photographer Maxwell AlexanderAirbnb Photographer New YorkHudson Valley – Catskills

As a professional travel lifestyle photographer who has shot hundreds of top Airbnb listings in the Hudson Valley and Catskills region, I have learned the art of capturing the best angles for your Airbnb photos. In this article, I will share some tips and tricks that I have learned over the years to help you make the most out of your Airbnb photography.

First and foremost, it is important to understand that the photos you choose for your Airbnb listing can make or break your rental business. People are visual creatures, and we are more likely to book a property that looks attractive in photos. With that in mind, let’s dive into some of the tips that can help you take the best photos possible.

Start with a Plan

Before you start taking photos, it’s important to have a plan in place. Take some time to walk through your property and think about the areas that you want to highlight. You can even make a shot list to help you stay organized during the photoshoot. Don’t forget to hire professional cleaners too! We all think that cleaning a house is a no-brainer, but there are things that will show up in your photos that you’d never thought about, like the tiny specs on your kitchen faucet or a shower head, or your paper towel streaks shining in all their glory in a photo that has a window in it. Photographs naturally have a lot more details than a human eye can see, human vision is barely a couple of square inches of HD resolution in the center, while a still photograph will have an entire room in this resolution.

Photographer Maxwell AlexanderAirbnb Photographer New YorkHudson Valley – Catskills

Natural Light is Your Friend

When it comes to Airbnb photos, lighting is everything. Natural light is the best option for capturing beautiful photos of your property. Open up the curtains and let the light shine in! It’s also important to pay attention to the direction of the light. Shooting during the golden hour, which is the hour after sunrise or before sunset, can create some stunning photos. I always schedule my photoshoots in the late afternoon for a softer natural light and of course in most cases I shoot dusk photos for the exterior, so it works out perfectly.

Highlight Your Property’s Unique Features

Every property has something that sets it apart from the rest. Maybe it’s a unique architectural feature or a stunning view. Make sure to capture these features in your photos. For example, if you have a property in Woodstock with a beautiful view of Overlook Mountain, make sure to capture that view in your photos. We always recommend having an overview aerial shot, however, it’s not always possible to have optimal lighting conditions for those as each house is positioned differently and chances are the property could be in the shadows when the photoshoot is happening.

Photographer Maxwell AlexanderAirbnb Photographer New YorkHudson Valley – Catskills

Show Off Your Property’s Amenities

Whether it’s a cozy fireplace or a luxurious bathtub, make sure to highlight your property’s amenities in your photos. These details can make all the difference in enticing potential renters to book your property. If you have a property in Hudson with a hot tub on the deck, make sure to capture that in your photos. When you shoot an amenity like that, make sure to turn it on and stage it up a bit with a fresh and nicely folded towel.

Photographer Maxwell AlexanderAirbnb Photographer New YorkHudson Valley – Catskills

Use Wide-Angle Lenses

Wide-angle lenses can help you capture more of your property in a single shot. This can be especially useful for smaller spaces or rooms with unique angles which Hudson Valley has no shortage of. Just be careful not to overdo it – using a wide-angle lens can sometimes distort the image, making it look unnatural, but there are, of course, lens correction procedures that professional photographers perform in post-production.

Funny story here: We often work with Vacation Rental Management Companies based on the West Coast and Midwest and they are accustomed to 7000+ sqft luxury properties and create their art direction guidelines based on that size of a house, including a big NO-NO to ultra-wide angle lenses. However, when we have to shoot their listings here in the historic Hudson Valley and Catskills, local properties are tiny compared to what they used to, so when we are talking about a laundry closet in Texas or California, in the Hudson Valley it will be your “spacious” living room that barely fits a tiny couch for 2 people. So shooting in this kind of tight environment gets very tricky and a wide-angle lens is a must, but this is where we get to the next tip.

Photographer Maxwell AlexanderAirbnb Photographer New York – Hudson Valley – Catskills

Hire a Professional Photographer

If you’re not confident in your own photography skills or simply don’t have the time to take photos yourself, consider hiring a professional photographer. Professional photographers are a bit more than just camera operators, they are storytellers and their craft is to visualize the story of your hospitality experience. A professional can help you capture the best angles and ambiance and create stunning images that will make your property stand out from the rest. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was shooting an Airbnb in Saugerties, and the owners were struggling to capture the essence of their property with their “real estate” style photos, you’ve probably seen lots of those on Zillow. After a professional photoshoot with Alluvion Media they had professional assets appropriate for travel and hospitality marketing, and sure thing, they got back to us with the great news that after uploading new photos to Airbnb their booking rate has nearly doubled!

In conclusion, capturing the best angle for your Airbnb photos in the Hudson Valley and Catskills region is all about showcasing the unique features that make each property special. Whether it’s the natural beauty of the area, the warmth of farmhouse living, or the coziness of cabin life, the key is to highlight these elements in a way that captures the essence of the property. By following these tips and taking the time to plan your photoshoot, you can create stunning images that will attract potential renters to your property. Whether you have a property in Rhinebeck or Phoenicia, Beacon, or Newburgh, taking great photos is essential to your Airbnb success.