Planning an architectural, interior design, or lifestyle shoot for a hotel is a complicated task, but it does not have to be one.
Your first mission is to understand that you are aiming for high-end selling images, not just beautiful ones.
The right image should help attract new and returning guests in a few seconds.
Table of Contents
Planning Hotel Photoshoot
A great project starts with planning and understanding the needs.
Start by opening a communication channel to discuss the main points for the shoot. Have an understanding of client needs, time frames, budgets, expectations, dates, licenses, and other elements.
Usually, clients send an RFP / Request for pricing or a detailed email with their needs, it’s important to make sure all main questions are asked and answered before starting a project as we know anything can be done either in a day or even two weeks and anything in between.
Hotel Photography Brief / Request For Pricing
Start by asking the main questions
- How many spaces do you need to photograph (interior, exterior, amenities)?
- How many images do you need from each space?
- What time of the day do you want them to be done (some prefer only a day shoot for rooms, if you have 20 types of rooms it means you need many more days).
- Do you need lifestyle images (with talents)?
- What are the limitations and timeframe (don’t forget, active properties may need you to work around the guests?
- When you need the final product delivered.
- Samples for previous work or similar work you are aiming for are always great to see what the client has in mind.
- What type of photo licensing do they need (limited, long-term, buy-out)
Photographing Hotel Exterior
The exterior is the most complex job in hotel photography, the reason is that you can’t control the light and surroundings (people, wind, cars, objects).
You need to understand the direction of light and plan accordingly for the shoot.
It also can take a few hours to complete one exterior shoot depending on the final results, especially in twilight
To capture an amazing daytime exterior, we have to work with the sunlight, find the perfect angle of the building and then utilize the sun for the perfect lighting.
The goal is to capture the hotel with the right angle of light that will include a great sky (if not you might need to replace it in post-production) and wrapping light on the building.
The daytime visual up on the left was taken at 4 pm, working with the sunlight allowed us to capture beautiful skies, and a golden feel when the sun was out left.
Twilight and Dusk
The twilight shoot may take several hours to capture, we are starting by scouting for the perfect angle. Starting to capture the exterior while there is still sunlight and then waiting for the perfect time to capture the shoot.
Most of the shoots are compiled from several images from daytime and after the sunset when the light from the building shines out, so take the time, it will be definitely worth it.
Photographing Hotel Interior
Capturing the interior is not an easy task when talking about an active hotel.
The best time to photograph the front desk, lobby, and general areas is during the night or early morning.
You should always take in mind not to disturb the guest experience.
The rooms need to be done based on the need and availability of the hotel, typically its or day or night time.
As a guest myself, I am always “afraid” to book places when there’s only one image or the room. Give your guest more than just one shoot, our goal is to show the experience and lifestyle when staying in your properties.
We want to create an experience while the guest is in the consideration phase, one visual is just not enough to get excited on.
Even if it’s a small room, capture 2-3 shoots of the room and bathroom. This will give your guest more time to be invested in the decision of booking with you.
When it comes to suites and premium rooms that cost a few thousand and sometimes ten of thousand you need to work efficiently and fast, use all your experience and tools to accomplish the task.
There are no magic tricks, you have only two options when time is an issue.
Capture it properly and take your time and then invest a little bit in post-production to perfect it. Or capture is fast (the right way) and do the heavy work in post after the shoot.
The experience is much more to offer beyond rooms.
The spa, pool, restaurants, shops, casinos, and many more public spaces are available for the guests.
Make sure all of them are captured professionally, even those boutique coffee or gift shops.
Don’t forget this is part of the experience leading your guest to invest more in your property and making you their desired destination.
Your dining experience is a huge part of the offering.
You need to capture this in the most appealing way.
Culinary is much more than fantastic food, it’s an experience of design and culture.
Make sure the images represent the design, experience, atmosphere, and everything the space has to offer.
This also applies to Coffee shops and Bars.
No matter if you have great brands offering exquisite coffee or Cocktail bar, Your guests deserve to enjoy the food and beverage but before they need to be aware of this option via visuals.
Personally, I remember great properties with great food and beverage offering and I would go to them again just because of that.
Today Retail stores provide a treat to the buyers, design is a key part of the retail experience.
Make sure to capture the stores as well, and let your guests plan their shopping experience in advance.
it’s important to show the space and not just logos of the brands as your guest’s other options available for them and we want to bring added value beyond stay and sleep.
Convention centers and meeting rooms are one when it comes to business travel.
It’s much more than an “empty space” that can be dressed up to host a convention, trade show, or meeting.
With many options for conventions, it’s important to showcase your meeting space in the best light as they ultimately will impact the decision-makers if to choose your hotel to host their business.