Hotel Photography: Essential Tips for Making a Visual Impact

July 30, 2021

Powerful hotel photography invites you to sink into that huge bed, sip from a cocktail or dive into the glistening water of the pool. Although such high-quality images require an investment, they will most definitely positively affect your brand perception, market share, and ultimately your rates and revenue.

Selecting the Photographer
The choice of photographer is a significant first step. The right photographer for the job does not just shoot great images, but has in-depth knowledge of how hotels need to present themselves visually. The photographer should have the ability to blend technical skills with an artist’s eye to capture your brand in beautiful images that not only support your brand story, but manage to evoke strong emotional connections with your potential guests.

Once you have made your choice for a photographer, a thorough briefing should take place. This should include a clear objective of the shoot, brand values, target market, detailed shot list, timing, and models’ potential use.

For lifestyle images, consider hiring a stylist. Not only to style the models, but also to advise and arrange the styling during the photoshoot. The photographer can often arrange this as they work with various stylists, depending on the shoot’s objective.
Thorough preparation is the key to achieving high-quality visuals and a smooth production process. A detailed shot list will help the photographer to understand your wishes and requirements fully. It also allows you to plan the shooting process and get everybody involved aware of the requirements.

On the shortlist, you indicate your requirements, such as the areas you like to get photographed, whether it is about product and/or lifestyle shots, wide or detailed shots, day or night shots, the number of shots, etc. As different scenarios might be possible, discuss this list with the photographer before the shoot.

Once the shot list has been finalized and agreed upon with the photographer, you can create a shooting plan. This plan will detail the location and timing of each shoot. Share this plan with all staff involved to get the various areas ready on time with the necessary props, staff or models, and anticipate potential logistical issues.
Preparing for the Shoot

You need to ensure that all spaces and rooms used for the photoshoot are clean, tidy and reflect your brand identity. A few general tips to take into consideration when preparing for the shoot:

  • Check all areas in advance on possible maintenance issues, to have them fixed on time. For example, for an exterior shot at night time, the hotel’s exterior (and where included interior) lighting should be 100% in order.
  • Please select the appropriate props in advance and have them ready on time.
  • Ensure that one person representing the hotel is available throughout the photoshoot for the necessary communication with the photographer and making decisions on the spot. This could be a brand manager or somebody who fulfils this role on behalf of the hotel.
  • Remove unnecessary items such as outdated newspapers, technology, excessive décor and any other items that add value to your images.
  • Make sure that all spaces and products are spotless, clean and wrinkle-free. Pay attention to tables, surfaces, floors, sheets, curtains, pillows, linen, silverware and glassware.
Interior Photography

Research shows that photos with the highest impact on website visitors are interior spaces, specifical bedrooms with a view. They evoke positive feelings and invite guests to see themselves in the context of their future trip. Here are some things to consider when photographing your hotel’s interior.

  • Make sure to include all key interior spaces: these could be your lobby, bars, restaurants, lounge, fitness centre, spa and more.
  • Rooms should be cleaned (again) just before the photo shoot.
  • Include all room pieces such as closets and bathrooms due to their functional role.
Exterior Photography

When shooting exterior photographs, you should take into consideration the following points:

  • Try shooting both day and night to capture a different feeling and atmosphere! Daytime photos illustrate clearly your landscape, whereas night photographs usually create a more sophisticated, cosy atmosphere.
  • Include your surrounding area to promote your destination and location.
  • Remove items that don’t add value to your pictures, such as vehicles, ashtrays, and garbage bins.
Food and Beverage Photography

A few things to take into consideration when preparing food and beverage photography:

  • Decide on the theme and occasion you want to present before creating a shot list; it could be your room service breakfast, your fine dining experience etc.
  • Check with the chefs well in advance to ensure that they will have the necessary time to prepare and plate the dishes
  • Use fresh food, with colourful ingredients and different textures
  • Include your staff to add a human touch and the service aspect. It’s the best way to portray the hospitality feeling, and it gives your brand a human face.

Promoting your brand through powerful images has become even more significant over the last years. The tips mentioned above are just some glimpses of what to consider when preparing for your hotel’s new visuals. For a complete overview on the interior, exterior, food and beverage and lifestyle photography, as well as more tips on how to choose the right photographer and checklists for your next shoot, click here to download “The Hotel Photography Guide”.

Promoting your brand through powerful images has become even more significant over the last years. Selecting the right photographer, compiling a detailed shot list and thorough preparation of all spaces go a long way in creating stunning visuals that showcase your brand and make your property stand out.

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