Don't use AirBNB Photographers!

Hi All

Long time AirBNB Host here - first time user of their “Pro Photography” services, for one of our rental houses in a remote location - where finding a pro photographer was more of a pain. Since AirBNB seemed to have photographers in the area at competitive rates, I went with them.

The photographer COMPLETELY SKIPPED a bathroom, the deck, and our children’s loft area (which was the reason we wanted updated photographs, after remodeling this area - as communicated to the photographer in advance!).

When I reached out to AirBNB - after about 25 back/forth messages with AirBNB Support (no surprise there), they vehemently refuse to re-shoot the areas they missed, or to provide any kind of refund, since I need to get a new photographer out there for those areas now!

It’s not a lot of money in the “grand scheme” of things - but the fact that they have a “no reshoot, no refund” policy is quite concerning to me, given that a photographer can just SKIP a set of spaces and call it a day!

Wanted to share this concern in case others were looking into photography options. Next time I will find a local photographer, and at least have my CC company or Yelp Review as recourse!

Thanks :smiley:


I would make sure and tweet this on their Airbnb twitter account


Might not be practical if you’re remote, but –
I got a new iphone, not even the latest, and took my own photos for advert postcards (from several angles as I’m not artistic!).
I downloaded the best looking ones and accessed with Microsoft Photos app, used Edit and Create, Adjustments tab, and they came out great. You can fiddle with sharpness, color saturation and brightness. There’s also a filter called “Icarus” which, you guessed it, lightens the photo. They came out fine.
Cellphone photo quality just keeps getting better and better.


The only time I used the Airbnb photography is when its free for my yearly superhost present.

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I have read a few other previous Airbnb Forum postings, where the Airbnb photographers were too “artsy” in staging the guest rooms or they included close-up photos of a decorative vase (who cares!?).

I think the average guest, searching online for a vacation stay, is only interested in wide-angle and uncluttered photos of the rented spaces (bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, living room, etc.).

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I do my own taxes. I do my own interior decorating. I do my own pictures.

There are plenty of youtubes on how to stage or do VR photos.

Too many complaints that pictures look staged or too perfect etc. Guests want pictures to look like your unit.

If all your outside pix are perfect winter/autumn color scenes, and all your interior scenes are perfect light and staging, and Guest never sees that, it is not realistic.


I’ve been pretty direct with support…most of the interactions are with front line agents using form responses - but i finally got to someone who seemed like a real person - and seemed to agree that what we experienced wasn’t fair. After he “escalated it” I got this response from him:

This is Garith with Airbnb, following up with you. I brought this case to my team, such that we could discuss the details, including the clarification you provided over the phone.

You have my apologies, but my team insists that there will not be any refund, nor any reshoot for the pictures of your listing.

He goes on to say, in an ironic sentiment IMHO:

The good news is, as this is not a Plus listing, you can still add or edit your own pictures, as well as remove any you are not a fan of. I realize this may not be an ideal solution, but it would be a way to get the pictures you want of your listing uploaded.

uhhhhhh…thanks. so the GOOD news is that I PAID for these photos, and they aren’t what I want?

Have you had more success complaining about bad service from AirBNB on Twitter? How does that usually go?


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That’s my next plan - but wasn’t going to be visiting for 6+ months, and wanted to get some photos of the new kids loft up ASAP…alas :frowning:


No, but some people have. It can’t hurt.

And this is why I would never agree to be a plus listing. You lose control.

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Are there any plus listings like your place? Doesn’t all the vintage stuff have to be fake and all the sofas white?


Surely it depends on the photographer. Mine did a great job and no one else was available. Maybe check out their other work on AirBnB first.


This is the crux of my complaint, there was no way to look at this person’s work, there’s no way to review them, even though hosts and guests have The blind review system, there’s not even a way for me to leave a review for a future user to say this photographer did not do a good job. And there’s no recourse or resolution option for me.

again, it’s a relatively small amount of money, but I think it’s a blind spot of their system that is so unfair, and unilateral.


I think these posts have been about the Air Plus programme. When I initially listed, Air sent a professional photographer within a week for free! Brilliant photos but two years later I’m “invited” to join the Plus programme. Photographer duly sent out, fortunately again for free, with dreadful results. Simply ghastly photos, so I’ve stuck with the originals. No Plus for me; they were totally intransigent about changing them.

exactly, opening post should read “don’t use this particular plum”

Yep. The one they sent negated to take images of THE BARN DOOR in the barn! The fireplace, the guest room, the washer and dryer, etc. I didn’t go with airbnbplus bc of this. Def do not use their photographers. They are not trained or educated at all in what best reflects a rental.


If you don’t mind me asking, how much does Airbnb charge for photography?

I have three rooms. Airbnb sent a free photographer in 2012 for our first room. The photos were great and considered “verified”. When we got our second room ready we also got an AIrbnb photographer. The photos were so “Architectural Digest” that they really exaggerated the size of rooms and spaces within each room. Our tiny bathroom looked huge. We used one “verified” photo and put our online for the rest. When we listed the third room, they had begun to charge for photography but we were not interested. My husband and daughter were both professional photographers but Airbnb didn’t consider their work “verified”. The funny part is that no guest ever mentioned the photographs.

As a photographer I can say a few things about their program, they go for cheap! So that’s what they get, cheap photographers. Unfortunately that is the reality of how they do business.
As far as all the photos having the same “look”, that is on purpose, they actually have a style guide that explains how they want the images taken, and there is a whole science behind it. So even if you do not like the style, they are actually going for uniformity to increase sales overall, not necessarily your sales though.
So if want good photos done your way, get someone local, ask to see their other work, and see if it fits your requirements. Just remember that you get what you pay for.


Good info. Thanks…