The Dos and Don’ts of Choosing Your Cover Photo

Imagine you’re a guest looking for a Studios location in Los Angeles. With almost 2,000 production listings in and around LA, you’ll likely feel pretty overwhelmed (that’s 58 pages of spaces to flip through!).

You apply a few filters to really nail down what you’re looking for. Let’s look at lofts in Downtown LA. Okay, 138 listings (and only five pages)that’s much more palatable. Within a few scrolls, you’ve opened three or four of your favorite spaces. Why did you click on them?

The cover photo: Your first impression

It may be cliche, but you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Think of your cover photo as this first impression. In essence, your cover photo (aka the one that displays on search) is your storefront, your chance to grab guests’ attention and invite them in.

With just over 10,000 live listings on Book Dance Space, it can feel like a daunting task to stand out. While there are many ingredients for success on Book Dance Space, a memorable cover photo is a great and easy place to start that we’re confident will give you a competitive edge.

Ingredients of a successful cover photo

In a nutshell, Jonathan’s choice is very thoughtful for a few key reasons:

✅ The natural light helps showcase the raw space in all its beauty

✅ The space appears clean and well-maintained

✅ The photograph is in landscape format (horizontal) to avoid awkward cropping

✅ There are nods to cool amenities and props that make the space unique

You might notice that all four cover photos I clicked on from my loft search have these elements in common. So, if all these components make up a good cover photo, what are some frequent faux pas to steer clear of?

The easiest mistake we see hosts make is captured in the comparison above. Although we love how the photo on the bottom showcases helpful amenities in Jonathan’s space, it doesn’t work as the cover. To fit within our formatting, the photo is awkwardly cropped. It also doesn’t seem to match the title. Where’s that cool, classic LA, industrial loft I expect to see?

Stay away from cover photos that depict a view from the space or a close-up of an amenity. Rather, let your space shine through a cover photo that shows off the entirety of its beauty.

How to capture the right cover photo

No need for a DSLR or Advanced Compact, a smartphone is perfect. Consider these few tips when photographing your space and you’ll be on your way to more listing views and more bookings:

✅ Take advantage of that time of day when the natural, ambient light pours in

✅ Consider cleaning and/or staging your space in preparation

✅ Stand in a corner and capture the space from the widest angle available to you

✅ Hold the camera horizontally (we know, this feels unnatural!)

✅ Before uploading to your listing, make sure the image is at least 1,000 pixels wide (right-click the image and press “Get Info” to check your dimensions)

If you’re hoping for professional photos but don’t feel totally comfortable behind the lens, there are many cost-effective ways to achieve this look – and the return on investment is almost guaranteed. We recommend Snappr for those in LA, SF, or SEA (sessions start at $59). Thumbtack is another great option if you want to see a variety of quotes before making a decision, although sessions will likely start a bit higher ($100+).

Know your guests

Okay, back to search. Imagine you’re a guest once more, now looking for meeting space to host your quarterly offsite and a cool happy hour spot to go to afterward.

Besides the superficial elements that make up a great cover photo, like natural light and a wide-angle, the most successful cover photos speak to the types of activities they can be booked for.

Take Hillary’s Offsite listing for example. From the cover photo, I can see that her space can be arranged to accommodate a classroom-style meeting, with what looks like a raised area up front that’s perfect for presentations.

Likewise, the cover photo for Sam’s Event listing focuses on the bar – a common want from guests looking to book for a private event. There’s even room to mingle, and not to mention great decor.

Final thought: Know your space

You know your space better than anyone, so leverage any trends you’re seeing in your favor. Are guests falling in love with your patio and spending most of their event there? Are they shooting the majority of their photoshoot on your grand staircase? Try highlighting these areas in your cover photos.

And remember, your cover photo makes up one significant aspect of your first impression. Learn how to set a smart price to really round it out:

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