10 Easy Tips For Eye-Catching Retreat Listing Photos

Take Great Retreat Photos the Easy Way

We’ve all heard it before: pictures are worth 1,000 words.

That’s because the brain is able to process information from a visual image in a snap.

Depth, color, relationship, positioning.

It’s all information that conveys a feeling. It brings the viewer into the scene itself.

When you are promoting your retreat that’s exactly what you need to do…

…bring the visitors into the feeling of the retreat.

They need to feel what it’s like be energized, peaceful, and relaxed in a wonderful environment.

So show, don’t tell.

Bad photos

If pictures say a 1,000 words, then poor quality pictures say a 1,000 poor words.

This is why the photos of your center are so critical in having an optimized retreat listing.

Do I need an expensive camera?

Now days, it’s not a necessity to have professional photography equipment. Taking quality pictures is possible with a smart phone.

However, we highly recommend hiring a professional photographer for at least one shoot. You can even do a work-trade with them to cut down on costs.

Professionally shot images on your listing will make a huge difference in the way potential customers perceive and react to your listing.

According to MGD Advertising, 67% of consumers deemed detailed photos imperative to them, and another half said photos are even more important than product information, long descriptions, or ratings and reviews.

They’re the first thing prospective guests look at when browsing through retreat events and centers on BookRetreats and your own website.

As a rule, listings with engaging photos get more eyes, more interest and more bookings, so set aside some time to make them sparkle.

Draw in potential costumers, highlight what’s amazing, and set their expectations appropriately. Let guests book with confidence.

Here we’ve have gathered the most valuable tips for taking awesome photos of your place.

1. First Photo is Key!!!

When people are browsing through hundreds and hundreds of listings on BookRetreats, you need to make your listing stand out from the crowd.

The featured photo must be your best one.

It needs to draw your potential costumer into your retreat and start planting the seeds. Seeds of the feeling your place radiates.

Play with which photo you lead with. Test different ones.

Asking your friends and relatives for their feeling and reaction to the photos is a crucial step. A photo that looks great to you may not be so in the eyes of others.

Asking your customers would be best. On Facebook, at your retreat, or through email. People love giving their opinion, so giving them a simple question works very well:

“Which one do you like better: #1 or #2?”

2. Tell a Story

People will often browse through all your photos in a sequence. This gives you the ideal chance to tell the story of your retreat with your own unique angle.

You can begin with a picture of the outside or one that you think best speaks your space. Then gradually take them through the space. Take them through the emotional experience as though you were holding their hand on an individual tour.

This is your opportunity to show off your place.

Do it the same way that you would if a valued customer arrived at your door.

3. Show Your Personality

No doubt that you need to cover the fundamentals in your photographs. You have to show the landscape, the accommodation, classes, etc.

But also feel free to toss in a few shots that are more fun. Shots that showcase the personality of the place (and you).

Have an astounding oak tree? Are your walls painted by an amazing artist? Do you have a fat lovely cat? Show them off!

Ask yourself: what feelings am I trying to pass with my photos ?

Make sure you have photos that elicit those feelings.

Let your photos radiate your vibe.


4. Be Clean and Tidy

No one wants to stay in a messy place.

This might seem obvious, but make sure your center is extra clean and organized in all your photos.

Tuck things away in drawers and closets that could interfere with the photos.

You don’t have to take photos of every detail in your center.

Try to give a feeling of a family home. Of spaciousness.


5. Light, Light and Light

There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in

Leonard Cohen

People are attracted to natural light.

Make certain to open up any blinds or shades and get extra lighting sources before you start shooting.

The best shots are taken when the light is coming from the side, and not directly at the object.

Try to play with the light source to get the perfect shot.

The best times of the day to take photos are few hours after sunrise and few hours before sunset.

The warm and natural light in these hours favor the photos and gives a feeling of warmth and love.

6. Find Your Right Angle

Not every center will look amazing from every angle.

Find what works best for your place.

This ties back to the story you’re telling with your photos and your retreat listing itself.

If your story is about warmth, harmony and relaxation, its good to have photos that are in alignment with that.

For example, if your story is about the beautiful nature or beach, try to use wide angle shots to give the feeling of openness.

Simple rule of thumb: If you can’t find a good angle to take an amazing photo, then just don’t include it at all.


7. Take Low Shots

How high should I hold the camera from the ground?

An important decision.

The best inside shots are usually done when the camera is at 40 inches (1 meter) high.

Magazines often use this technique to create a great effect.

Important tip: when you photograph people, you want to take the photo from their level.

So if you take a picture of a little boy, you should bend down and meet them.

What do you think would happen if you photographed a child from above?

They would look tiny!

On the opposite, if you shoot someone from below they will look bigger. Keep this in mind as you craft your photos.

8. Turn Off Your Flash

Remember what we said about people being most attracted to natural light?

Shooting with flash kills the natural feel. Why?

Well because it’s not natural :)

Instead of using flash, shoot at the right time of the day. Open the windows, or shoot from the outside.

You’ll get beautiful, natural light photos without ever using flash.

If you do feel that a flash is necessary, try to shoot from a distance. This way the light will blend together with the flash.

9. Avoid Extra Editing of Your Pictures

Keep your photos simple and natural.

Try to get it right during the shoot. The more post-processing you have to do, the less natural it will feel.

You may crop or add a little brightness to your photos, but avoid massive editing if you can.

Remember the unique story and feeling you are trying to convey to viewers.

10. Always…Take Extra Shots

Take more photos.

You never know which one will turn out to be the best.

Its much easier to press delete on a computer than to wait for the next perfect time and season.

Take extra photos, from different positions and angles.

Don’t aim for the perfect one…

…try to take many perfect ones.


If this is a bit much for you, I highly suggest hiring a professional photographer.

Its defiantly worth the extra money, as these photos will bring you many happy costumers.

Here are 3 different ways to hire a solid local photographer:

1. Find a Google Trusted Photographer from this list

2. Google “Local freelance photographer”

3. Go here to hire a local, professional photographer

4. Do a work-trade with someone in your area, or a customer who comes through

Want Help Filling Your Retreats?

Share the love