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Airbnb Plus Program -- anyone else who thinks the new photos suck?


#1

I was invited to join the Airbnb Plus program last fall. The photographer spent 4 hours taking the photos mid-November, and I just got them to review today. They are horrible. The “professional” photos are way overexposed – they are devoid of much color which makes my place look bland and boring; and, for the most part, the photos are stupid! He took a photo of a Kleenex box, a corner of a bed pillow, and a close-up of the powder room faucet, to name a few.

I contacted Airbnb because when I try to edit the photos, it is not giving me to option to add my own. Has anyone else had experience with this? I want the “Plus” added to my listing, but I don’t want most, if any, of their photos, because they suck.


#2

For those who are interested, Airbnb got back to me. They don’t allow you to add photos and they do not offer reshoots. However, my Airbnb team member is going to find out if I can get special permission to add my own photos – because the “professional” ones are so unbelievably bad.


#3

I just added a thread here about the difference between my photos and Airbnb’s

https://airhostsforum.com/t/airbnb-professional-photographers-see-the-difference/30038/10

I thought mine turned out great. Your photographer must just have not had a very good camera. My photographer actually took almost the same exact photo angles I did but the pictures turned out better solely because of the camera.

My listing isn’t an Airbnb Plus but I downloaded the photos and I can edit them and re-upload them. They aren’t verified that way but I can do it.


#4

I’ve been on Airbnb long enough that I got the free “professional” photography five years ago. Again, they were so overexposed that I ended up using my own photos, along with a couple of the professional ones; if my memory serves – only a couple of the “detail” photos. My place faces the south with big windows so it is hard to get the light right. The current photos make the south master bedroom look completely white. No shot from the foot of the bed, which would have shown the beautiful duvet and the accent color headboard wall. Here’s there photo compared to mine. I would love your opinion.


#5

Alright since you asked but you’ll regret it because I’m a liberal arts major! Just kidding you probably are too! haha

It looks like a really great room. Well thought out and comfortable. The Airbnb photo definitely has the color washed out a bit compared to yours. I think its a stylistic difference. The photographer was trying to use the framed photo in the background as a dramatic center-piece with lots of black and white contrast. The photographer was following the 2/3rds rule because the bed is only 1/3rd of the way up the photo and the framed photo is 2/3rds of the way over to the right. The proportions and angle make that technically a nice photo and visually appealing but maybe not highlighting the most important parts of the room from a hospitality standpoint. The photographer was also using the light to the fullest extend possible as it was coming in at that particular moment.

Your photo was taken when the sun was higher in the sky and not touching the bed. Thats going to affect the color on any photograph. It definitely shows the details of the duvet and headboard more than the other photo though.

One thing I might point out though is that although your photograph geometrically shows more space in the room, the ‘pro’ photo makes the room feel larger. I think the reason primarily has to do with the 2/3rds rule and ratios. Shots with lots of carpet always make the room feel small while shots with lots of wall and ceiling make the room feel large. From the same angle you took your photo, if you’d get down on a knee, the room would look bigger. The window in the corner of the pro photo also gives the sense of something more and that the experience goes beyond whats in the photo. In your photo, I don’t get that feeling because I’m focused squarely on the bed which is a bed.

Your photo definitely conveys more relevant information correctly but the photographers artistic influence was present.

As a side note, you may want to ditch the bed skirt to create a sense of space. This room is kind of small, I’m guessing 10’x11’ and the shadows under the bed aren’t helping. It looks like this might not be a platform bed frame and there’s a box spring under this mattress. I ditched my box springs and went with Zinus steel and wood platform bed frames. The beds are lower but with more space underneath. It opens up the room a little bit because the bed becomes less of a thing taking up space. Visually the room looks more spacious with the same size bed.


#6

You are awesome! However, rule number 1 with Match.com is do not post pictures which might leave them disappointed when they face reality. In other words, I would rather my guests be pleasantly surprised that the room is bigger (it’s more like 14x14), then expecting a huge room and finding out that it is really much smaller in person. Maybe (if they will let me use my own photographs), I will use this angle. But, this is the VERY BEST PHOTO of the six they sent me for this room. The other five are – shot over the bed in the other direction with the room door open, so what you see is a washed out bed with 3 white doors in the background (absolutely no color), the Kleenex box (which actually was in another room!), a detail shot of some books, a detail shot of a bed pillow, a way over-exposed shot of the windows opposite the headboard, and another detail shot of two books with a little bird on top (and the guests will never see those books on the headboard with the little bird on top). I’m a graduate of Parsons School of Design, btw. No photography classes but I did major in environmental design, which was mostly pre-architecture and interior design. I’ve been flipping houses for the past 6 years – kept this one! Thank you so much for the help!!!


#7

Also, Ikea bedframe so the bed legs are not very attractive. Under the bed are folding chairs for the deck that is off this bedroom, and extra blankets. The bed skirt hides all of that. This townhome is small – 850 square feet. I need to utilize every available space!


#8

No need to reply, but as another example, here’s the only professional shot of the powder room – the tiny little sink (which is one of the only things I kept from the remodel of this place) versus one of my two shots of the powder room (the other is a bigger shot of the sink).


#9

And here’s the best professional pic of the living room versus mine. While my shot does not show the sofa, I have other pics that do.


#10

I had exactly the same experience. The photographer even took a stupid photo of our boot room! My originals were professionally done and paid for by Airbnb, within a week of joining up and are superb, but no, they won’t allow me to use them instead. I have been astonished by their intransigence; it’s like speaking to robots.

As I host guests in my own home, set up as a smallish B&B, I cannot allow strangers self check-in 24/7. Again, total intransigence.


#11

Fortunately, Airbnb paid me $350 for cooperating. I’ll see how it works. If I have to use their photos and my reservations go down, I’ll opt out.


#12

One thing I noticed is that the photos I uploaded to Airbnb look like garbage when I view them on a high-resolution monitor, The originals look great, but Airbnb has run them through a post-processor that scales and compresses them so that they look terrible. They still look OK when viewed on a phone, and I assume that’s the audience Airbnb is targeting. No way I would pay for professional photos to have them butchered like that before they are shown to potential guests.


#13

I’m having exactly the same problem - the colour in the Airbnb Plus photos is completely washed out and they look terrible. CS tell me that the Plus team ‘does not take any direct calls or messages’ and ‘there is no possibility to change images or request new photoshoot’. Kind of ironic given one of the benefits the advertise of Plus is ‘Premium Customer Support’! So I’ve paused the upgrade process for now while I decide what to do.

Anyone else manage to get their photos changed?


#14

Interesting. I am going to contact Gia, again, as I haven’t heard from her tonight. Argh. The other hosts who are on Plus in my city seem to have great photos. Once again, an idea without a proper plan or follow-through.


#15

How about starting a new listing with the new photos, or if you can’t, start a new listing with the old photos?


#16

I think the choice is to be on the Plus program with their photos, or say no to the plus program and keep my listing the way it is. I have over 200 reviews – I’m a superhost with a 4.9% rating. I would lose that if I started another listing.


#17

YOU don’t lose any of that. The new listing would just be without reviews hosted by a Superhost!


#18

I don’t understand how that would be an advantage. I can keep going the way I have without starting a new listing. The choice is – Plus with bad professional photos, or no Plus, and keep it the way it is.


#19

You would have to link the two listings but you could see which was getting more bookings.


#20

That sounds way too complicated. I’ll wait to hear from Airbnb Gia, and report back.


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