When it comes to Hotel and Resort Photographer job, there are many elements to consider beyond amazing photos that sell the space.
First, you need to come to the understanding that pictures that sell are what matters and not “creative artistic ones”.
This is a technical profession, that requires attention to detail, specializing in architecture and design photography, and an understanding of marketing, advertising, and consumer behavior.
Let’s jump into what mistakes you should be keeping your eye on before you start your project.
Table of Contents
How many Pictures does Hotel Need?
While quality matters we must not forget that quantity has a purpose, while many properties have only 1-2 photos per standard room and maybe 2-3 for large suites or luxury rooms it’s important to understand the goal.
Our goal is to showcase to the potential guests, what their room/suite will look like when they arrive and what amenities does the room has to offer this includes the views, size, design, amenities, and features.
We always start with one or two photos of the main space of the room including the view (view has a huge impact on the decision and some time for the price as well), then one visual of the bathroom, one of the working spaces or the sitting area.
Luxury hotels may have bigger rooms or more features to showcase, therefore you might need to have 4-5 images or even more depending on what else can be captured, maybe it’s a kitchen, wet bar, living room, or dining room.
It’s important to have good communication with the Marketing Manager or your client and understand the importance of room views to their pricing and clients.
At the end of the day, our goal is to reflect exactly what will be the guest experience and this includes different views, such as city, mountain, beach, or any other premium and regular views.
There is nothing more crucial than setting the expectation when a potential guest views the images online and arrives at a completely different room and/or views.
Make sure to plan at least one good shot of the general space and the views reflected in the scene.
Maybe it’s a lake or a unique landmark, maybe it is just a plain view, no matter what type of landscape is out there make sure to accommodate it in the shoot.
No matter what, don’t manipulate the background and remove/add objects and make them closer than it seems in reality, the last thing you want is an unhappy guest.
Understanding the purpose of Hotel Photography
Many hospitality photographers think the goal is to have an amazing interior shoot, but the real goal Is to have the right type of image.
What is the right type of image you might be wondering about? It’s simple, it’s the one that sells!
Enough with high-talk, let’s get to the technical aspects of the main shoot.
First, we start by positioning the camera in a matter to reflect the best overall shoot possible that includes the bedroom, sitting area, and or working desk including the views.
In major suites, you might be focusing on the living room area as the main shoot.
After we incorporated into a fashionable matter the best of everything space has to offer, think about usability.
Ask yourself? Can the guest see how big is the bed? How nice is the design? How much space is in the room? How great are the views? Can he sit and relax anywhere other than the bed? Can he work while staying there?
The main shoot should somewhat show and somewhat hint at the main features of the room and what makes this place their preferred choice.
Staging Hotel Rooms
Can you see the garbage bins around the room? Should you see them? Do they provide additional value?
While people see there is a TV in the room, they don’t need to see that remote laying around, the same applies to the garbage bins and branded items and magazines that change frequently and say when was the shoot taken.
The best way to think about it, is immortality, remove the items that are not aesthetic to the room like garbage cans and bins, toilet paper from the bathrooms, turn around those branded bottles of water, and remove those magazines away.
While they may be included in the room offering, They will be changing the design every 4-7 years, while those magazines will change every 1-3 months. This is one trick that allows a photo to be immortal.
Make sure those beds are organized, steamed, and stretch, the pillow aligns perfectly with your angle and not just in the center of the bed, the chairs, curtains, and all the rest are ready for the shoot.
Remember: A great fule is to do now whatever you don’t want to get stuck in post-production later!
Capture the reality, Many resorts like to add some flowers or additional staging for photoshoots, while it is nice, it can impact dramatically the guest experience.
Things like roses in the bath, wine or champagne, water bottles, or any other items that do not come with the day-to-day offers.
While it may look better to stage them for the shoot, imagine you would look online and think about the bathtub filled with roses, a glass of wine in your hand, and two beautiful white bathrobes.
Now you come in, fill the tub, and go look for those drinks, roses, and robes, only to find It was staging accessories, how would you feel? And yes I know you can request them from the housekeeping but this is not the point.
This is one of the projects you don’t have the luxury to re-shoot.
- Make sure you capture all your images in RAW format to allow maximum flexibility.
- Use the dual cards to make sure all images are backed up during the shoot.
- Stary above 1/180 shutter speed for maximum stability.
- Contain your ISO to the minimum to avoid grain and noise in your visuals.
- Stay in the range of F7-F11 for maximum sharpness and details
- Check for the details, focus, and sharpness on location.
- Make sure you are on the high resolution you better have more than less.
- Open all the shades and curtains, open all the lights and keep your eye on temporary elements that need to be removed from your frame.
Mistakes to Avoid
Things you need to have in mind in a nutshell
- Quality is more important than quantity.
- Quantity matters as one image can’t generate excitement with all the offerings out there.
- Understand the project scope, sometimes you need to understand there are no shortcuts and this can impact your future work.
- God is in the small details, make sure you keep your eye on those details.
- Great project start with Grea planning, the execution is the “easier” part so make sure you plan properly and have the resources from the property.
- Working on “existing properties” that have guests requires more time, more planning, and working around the clock, make sure you plan those pool shoots as the sun you can’t control, nor the guests, make sure you work with all managers to coordinate each shoot.
- Work as a business or just as a photographer, many properties require different types of insurance, contract, and have different demands, make sure this is calculated when you provide your quote.
- Keep open communication and involve your client through the shoot, make sure you are on the same point, like we said you can’t do this later again.
Updateing Hotel Pictures
Sometimes there is only one great angle for a space to shoot from, and sometimes you can re-invent the wheel.
That’s fine to check for inspiration from previous work that has been done in the past, but try to be creative, unique, and even to re-invent the wheel.
After all, you should advise your client to see what can be done in their mind to improve on the existing imagery and see how to incorporate it into your own style.
Time of the Day:
Some Resorts may have a gorgeous daytime views and some may have evening stunning views, it’s important to ask your client what time of the day should all the photos be done, as you may find yourself limited to daytime and evening times only, which can double the time of photography, leaving you 50% off the mark of time estimate.
Have a great shoot….