The Guide to Hotel Photography | By Thomas McDermott


Today we are talking about…

The many types of hotel photography.

Photography is the most important asset in your digital marketing arsenal.

A great photo of the exterior of the building can set you apart from the competition.

A great wedding photo

can sell a wedding for $25,000.

But getting great hotel photos is complicated.

Because hotels need it so badly.

Bedroom photos, exteriors, food photography, weddings, social networks?

And so on.

To top it all

Not all photographers are created equal.

An architectural photographer is not a food photographer.

And vice versa.

Different types of photography

often require very different disciplines.

Let’s break it down. Let’s go?

The many types of hotel photography.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

Architectural photography.

Architectural photography is the success or failure of hotel photography. How you present your hotel spaces, rooms, and lobby can have a huge impact on whether or not a guest books with you. In a way, architectural photography is informative, it answers some basic questions about ownership and what rooms and spaces look like. But the art is in making architectural photography aesthetic, which means proper lighting and careful selection of angles.

The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

How to get the right shot.

  • Hire a professional who specializes in architectural photography. This person has a very different approach to a lifestyle photographer, who has to be good at working with people.
  • Hire a stylist who will go so far as to eliminate every crease in the duvet.
  • Style the pieces before the photographer. Nothing slows down a shoot more than a lack of preparation.
  • If you have meeting spaces, prepare the rooms and photos. (And be sure to capture any spaces that can be used for meetings, from patios to ballrooms.)

Bonus tip.

Check out your competitor’s architectural photography. If it’s good, hire this photographer. (Or, you can always check out photos from our team of photographers work).

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

Lifestyle photography.

Lifestyle photography focuses on capturing a moment and creating a narrative. It offers potential guests the opportunity to visualize their stay and establish an emotional connection with your property. Lifestyle shoots tend to be larger and much more complex productions that require models, locations, sets/stylists, hair and makeup, wardrobe, etc.

The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

How to do it right.

  • Hire the right team needed for a successful photoshoot. This means hiring a professional photographer, stylist, models, as well as makeup, hair and wardrobe teams.
  • Make it timeless. Avoid being fashionable. Don’t introduce lots of phones and laptops that will start to age photography in as little as a year.
  • Simultaneously record videos and photos to get the most out of your investment.
  • Getting great lifestyle photos is not an easy task, be sure to check your photographer’s past work. Ask about similar things they’ve done in the past.

Bonus tip.

Believe us when we say, don’t cut corners. While it may be tempting to enlist friends and family to model in order to save marketing money, we suggest taking a more professional route. Why? Having inexperienced models will cost you and the photographer more time, effort, and ultimately the need for a new shoot sooner than you would like.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

F&B photography.

F&B photography is all about bringing your menu to life. This type of photography is very detail-oriented.

The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

How to do it right.

  • Hire a professional food and drink photographer. Someone who has a lot of experience lighting your drinks and food in the most appetizing way.
  • Pre-select the dishes you want to photograph so the chef and kitchen staff can prepare ahead of time.
  • Once served, most food and drink has a short window for the photographer to take the shot before the dish starts to look dull and “unphotogenic”. So plan accordingly.
  • Include the chef, so they can add finishing touches to the dish as needed.

Bonus tip.

Bring the dish to life by involving the action: cutting a cake, positioning a fork nearby, etc.

The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

Weddings.

There’s no doubt… having great wedding photography will help increase bidding. Couples often struggle to imagine their special day when all they see are empty ballrooms and empty lawns. Photos help them visualize what is possible in your property.

The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

How to do it right.

  • Arrange a fake wedding. Invite all your vendors and share the photograph.
  • Hire a professional wedding photographer and/or invite a few local wedding photographers.
  • Build relationships and make deals with wedding photographers to utilize the assets of real weddings at your property. This gets tricky because you need a release form signed by anyone appearing in a photo, so we suggest specifically requesting lots of detailed photos, images of the bride and groom only, and room setups with no people. .

Bonus tip.

Collecting photos of various weddings at your property will help your sales team have assets of different possibilities and examples for engaged couples inquiring about their big day.

The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

Seasonal photography

Seasonal photography is not for everyone. But, we include it for properties that are refurbishing for the holiday season or for properties that offer seasonal activities.

The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

How to do it right.

  • You guessed it, call a professional. Depending on your seasonal photography needs, you should hire a professional photographer who meets your needs. For example, a foliage lifestyle photoshoot at your Vermont property featuring fun fall activities requires a different type of photoshoot and photographer than capturing the delightful holiday decor of your hotel.
  • Plan ahead. Be sure to coordinate the photo shoot accordingly. If you anticipate a sprout of fall foliage, schedule it for peak season. If you are planning a holiday decorating session, make sure all the decorations are put up.

Bonus tip.

Capturing seasonal images may seem like overkill, but hear us out, once you have these assets, you earn promotional assets for years to come.

The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

Photography on social networks

All the items you have collected, if used correctly, can make for great photos on social media. But don’t forget the importance of creating content specifically for social media. Social media photography is all about highlighting the intimate details of the customer experience. It means putting yourself or your models in the real everyday moments of a guest.

The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

How to do it right.

  • Hire a team experienced in collecting social media content. (Hello!)
  • It’s okay to be trendier with these shots (unlike timeless lifestyle photography).
  • Create a story. You want potential customers to see an image and feel like they’re on your property.
  • Bring in a role model, but don’t always show her face. The slightest presence of a person brings the picture to life. Also, you don’t necessarily want all of your snaps to have the same person smiling in all of them.

Bonus tip.

Build relationships with local influencers who would be willing to hand over content in exchange for a discount, that way you can supplement your feeds with influencer photography (just be sure to share brand guidelines and what you are looking for).

Backtrack!

Does your property need an updated photograph? Where are your sales and marketing teams lacking photo resources? Do you currently have specific content shoots for social media posts?

About the tambourine

Tambourine is an award-winning digital marketing company that has been driving demand, revenue and brand awareness for the hospitality world since 1984. The company continues to disrupt the industry with custom integrated marketing solutions for hotels, resorts and destinations around the world. Tambourine’s emergence as a market leader in branded hotels and independent hotels is a testament to its core values: putting customer service at the center of attention, setting the standards for hotel website design and make successful digital marketing easier and more profitable for its valued partners. Visit tambourine.com for more information.

Thomas McDermott
Vice President of Corporate Marketing
+1 954 975 2220
Tambourine

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