It is essential for any brand to be presented consistently across all collateral and platforms, but for a hotel or resort, the photography needs to be spot on as that is the make or break “nano-second” that will make a browser click to book or keep scrolling.

Have you ever googled Hotel Photography – I did today, and it gave me 1.34+million results, that is a lot! This is because guests are looking for that “escape” or that dream vacation, hoteliers are looking for inspiration when planning their shoots, hotel developers and architects are looking for some creative stimulation when planning their next project, creatives are always on the hunt for some fabulous imagery… and the list goes on….

A good outcome from a hotel Photo Shoot can increase your bookings and in turn, increase your revenue.

Two of my favourite Australian based Hotel and Lifestyle Photographers are listed below. I asked them for some top tips, when shooting a property. It is always helpful to take the perspective of a photographer…

Meet David Li, my go-to for amazing Lifestyle photography. You couldn’t find a more genuine person, who just gets on with anyone and has a real eye for creation, inspiration and detail. Based in Sydney, Australia David is a fabulous content creator for lifestyle.

Top Tips for Hotel Photos:
Don’t miss the Storyline
Something that I’ve picked up from my corporate days building quarterly business review slides, where there is only enough space to add a single image that needs to be impactful and encapsulate the key message that we are trying to convey, so make sure every image that you produce tells a story and links back to the client brief, no matter how beautiful your images are.

The Early bird gets the worm
There is an old saying in the media industry, if you arrive on time, you are in fact already late.  I always arrive at least 30 minutes earlier for each job, that way you have enough time to familiarize the space, find parking, cool down and setup. This is especially important if you are working with a client for the first time.

Invest in your customer, Not Ads
50% Photography skill, and 50% People skill, without this mix you will always end up on your client’s backup photographer list.  If you invest in making my customer 150% satisfied, they become your best salesperson, to date 99.9% of my client base is based on word of mouth.

Meet Mauro Risch –The Hotel Photographer but I know him as “the photographer in the hat”. Mauro is a dedicated hotel and resort photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. I have worked with him on a number of shoots for many brands and many properties. His friendly and can-do attitude are a great foundation for any successful Hotel photoshoot.

Mauro’s 2 Top Tips:
1- We tend to always look at what works and all the positives, but I find it extremely important to hear from the client/hotelier what did not work for them in past experiences. This helps me understand a bit more about their expectations prior to the shoot.

2- 2- Share some visual mood boards. The marketing team might be able to create a mood board with some images that would give us some direction. What type of lighting, what is the colour temperature, how wide, how close, talent, no talent. I am a visual person, of course, but once you show me your ideal scenario, I will be able to start visualising the colour palette that will allow me to tell your story. 

Bonus tip – HAVE FUN! The creative process is not supposed to be a burden. I get the best out of any team I work with when we are enjoying the creative process. Be open to suggestions, include everyone and aim for nothing less than perfection. 

Lastly, from a Hotel Marketing-Lead perspective, here are my Top 7 Tips for a successful Hotel Photo Shoot:

  1. Be prepared – co-ordinate with the Photographer, stylist and hotel team well ahead of time. Encourage your photographer to use natural light, where lighting is needed always try to make it look as natural as possible.
  2. Stay on Brand – ensure you have a clear Brand Photoshoot Guideline document that covers off:
    – An intro to the Brand Guidelines with key brand messages to allow the photographer to tell the story
    – Planning outline
    – Photographing rooms and particular areas – some key guidelines
    – Styling standards
    – Show examples of what you think works for your brand and your property – stock and other property styles can work.
  3. Comprehensive shoot list – work with the hotel team to ensure you get the right number of shots and cover off the essential areas of the hotel – Lobby, F&B, various room types, Facilities, exterior, signage. Remember to consider future uses of every photo – try to capture as many images as both portrait and landscape where you can.
  4. Styling and models – will the talent used be in house team members, family and friends or through a Model Agency. Advise your Talent on the types of clothes (leisure, corporate, elegant) and suggested colour palettes.
    – What props (magazines, flowers, crockery and glassware, technology etc…) decorations, specific design pieces, etc… will you be using in each of the spaces – ensure the image set-up portrays reality as closely as possible.
    – Try to incorporate your brand colour palette where you can but please remove collateral.
    – Classic styling is key, make sure props are timeless and if you include technology try not to get it in too much of the frame as these can date so quickly.
    And remember try to create an inviting space in which a guest could easily envision themselves.
  5. Talent Release Form – always ensure you have this for every person who is in any of your photos, this protects the Hotel and the Brand from any future legal issues on use of images.
  6. Communication – where possible block off the appropriate room types and take them out of the system to avoid sale of those appointed rooms, ensure they are set up 24 hours ahead of time and that the curtains are straight, the bed is perfectly made, cushions are well
    positioned and that towels and bathroom amenities are well set up and displayed.
    – Team Communication – ensure your entire team are aware this shoot is taking place. Ensure your team members who will be in the shoot – Front desk, Restaurant, Housekeeping, etc… are well-groomed and meet grooming standards, in the correct uniform, wearing a name tag (if that is on-brand). If they are acting as “guests” be clear in advising the types of clothes and colours they should try to wear.
    – Guest Communication – please prepare a guest letter to advise guests of the shoot, please also put posters up in public areas with timings of the shoot if you are going to close off the area.
    You and the Photographer – build a good rapport with them and don’t be shy to share some input (without telling them how to do their job) and ask if you can see shot set ups through the lens across the shoot, it can make all the difference
  7. Runner – ensure you have a hotel team member on hand throughout the shoot period, to assist with final touches, to be able to get housekeeping to help with any room issues, to grab a trolley if you need it, to prepare the kitchen in time to prep dishes and so much more.

Photo shoots are supposed to be fun, so be well prepared and choose a photographer you trust, have a good relationship with and who can work “with” you throughout the shoot and who you can have some fun with… and it will all work out.