7 Steps to help you choose the best hotel photographer
Here are the steps to follow to help you choose the best Photographer for your hotel:
- Choose a photographer with experience in Interior photography – A photographer who knows how to take an image of empty space is a unique skill set, and finding someone who can show off a space through photography is vital.
- Look for someone who has a good personality and soft skills – When meeting or interviewing photographers to take pictures of your hotel, you need to make sure their nature fits your hotel culture. After all, the Photographer you hire will be liaising with your staff, events managers, models and most importantly, customers or potential customers etc.
- They need to have a good hotel photography portfolio – As obvious as this sounds, you need to pick a photographer with great hotel photography or interior photography portfolio.
- The Photographer needs to have attention to detail – This can move the needle for your hotel marketing. Find someone who knows how to pick out fine details which can potentially help promote your brand.
- Identify someone creative and able to provide direction – A confident photographer who can provide leadership to you, your team, and all stakeholders makes a big difference.
- Try and find a photographer who understands marketing – Finding a photographer who understands digital marketing is like hitting the jackpot.
- Find someone who knows their worth and has a reasonable pricing model that suits your budget – Meet and agree on pricing before starting any photography project. Remember, however you get what you pay for; look at all of the above points before considering pricing and come to a fair agreement with the Photographer. There are different pricing models when it comes to hotel photography. This could include per day, per hour, per image, and don’t forget about licensing costs. Make sure you understand the total cost of the photography project before putting pen to paper.
So you have decided that you need a photographer to take images of your hotel for use in your marketing material, website, social media and so on. You may be worried about how to choose the right photographer for the job. We have outlined how to pick the perfect photographer to take your hotel marketing to the next level.
In today’s increasingly competitive digital world it is important for you to make your hotel stand out in a crowded hospitality industry. To stand out amongst your competitors it is vital for you to represent your hotel through a mixture of interior photography, architecture photography, lifestyle and food photography.
Photography for your hotel has become so important in marketing now that you can no longer rely on getting a friend to do it in return for credit, or thinking you can get away with using your iPhone to produce images. It is vital that hotels show off their interiors, food and rooms with high quality professional photography. A great professional hotel photographer will have the experience to know that your images will be used on a wide variety of mediums including billboards, brochures, website, social media and more. Professional equipment is needed and you also need a photographer who is experienced enough and confident to direct models, set up a scene and lighting during the lifestyle shoots.
According to Hospitalitynet.org 55% of users buy products or book online after discovering these products through social media (Kleiner Perkins, 2018). 73% of consumers want to see social media posts concerning discounts and sales; and with this in mind you want to be showing the best images your have of your hotel, products, services and surrounding areas in order to generate those leads and take your customers further down your sales funnel.
Bernard Ward of DerryPhotos recently completed interior and lifestyle photography for The Villa Rose Hotel & Jackson’s Hotel in Ballybofey, Donegal. We asked the Head of Marketing, Leona McGee a few questions about what she looked for when choosing her hotel photographer and why she chose Bernard as the official photographer.
How did you begin your search for a hotel photographer?
My initial search for a photographer began on LinkedIn – I was looking for recommendations from my peers in the hotel industry for someone who was experienced in commercial photography.
What experience do you look for when choosing someone to photograph your hotel?
Our previous experience was that of using photographers who were highly skilled in the areas of wedding photography and family portraits however this simply didn’t translate into the type of interior photography we were after. We wanted photography that would showcase the atmosphere and ambience of the newly renovated Jackson’s Hotel in Ballybofey.
Why did you choose to hire DerryPhotos over other photographers to photograph the hotel?
Bernard Ward/Derry Photos was a popular suggestion from a number of LinkedIn users. Bernard got in touch and linked us through to his website where we were able to view his portfolio of hotels and other commercial photography work. We knew straight away that this was the style of photography we were after. From the lighting to the attention to detail the photographs were on a different level from anything I had seen before. It was another level from what most of our competitors were using.
A year later when we needed fresh photography for our sister property -the Villa Rose Hotel to coincide with our new website launch. It was a no brainer that we would use Bernard from DerryPhotos again. This time we employed the use of models to showcase the Villa Rose experience and took in all areas from the spa and restaurant to the bar and bedrooms.
How has the Hotel photography produced by DerryPhotos helped your business?
The result was a new portfolio of photos that fit in perfectly not only to our new website www.villarose.ie but also to our social media campaigns. We have gone from requiring stock photography on a regular basis to being spoiled for choice with a bank of photography. Bernard made the whole process a straight forward positive experience.
What makes a good interior photographer?
This might sound like common sense but finding a photographer who understands how to photograph an interior space is quite a different skill set than a wedding photographer, portrait photographer or products. Commercial interior photography comes with years of experience. Interior Photography is the skill of photographing a room or space usually by professional interior photographers or architectural photographers.
Interior home photography for Self Build Ireland Photography by DerryPhotos. Interior home photography for Self Build Ireland Photography by DerryPhotos – Bernard Ward Photographer from Derry Northern Ireland Interior home photography for Self Build Ireland Photography by DerryPhotos – Bernard Ward Photographer from Derry Northern Ireland
According to Fast Company – Interior design is a nearly $10 billion business, and advertiser spending on Instagram is set to hit nearly $7B, up from $3.64B. This is big business for home owners, real estate and hospitality. Photographers who are experts in this field will be so valuable to your business.
The personality and soft skills of a hotel photographer
It is all too easy to look at a photographer’s hotel photography portfolio and admire the images and choose to hire based on looks alone. This can sometime be a fatal error. You need a photographer you can rely on and be able to trust him or her in and around your hotel, dealing with staff, giving access to certain areas of the hotel and liaising with stakeholders and customers.
How to know if a photographer has the right personality?
- Interview – now we aren’t talking about your standard job interview here…what I mean is, meet your photographer first. This can be multiple times if you wish. Do a Skype or Face time chat if location is an issue and even meet for an informal chat over coffee. A good photographer who is eager to work with you will be more than happy to meet and bring to the table ideas and be willing to show past work and experience.
- Ask the right questions to the photographer when you meet. For example the following open question is a good way to get the photographer talking:
- How did you get in to photography?: This question will allow you see how the photographer responds and hopefully open up about his or her background. A lot of photographers start out having had past work experience completely un related to photography but possibly completely related to the type of personality you are looking for. Let’s say you are speaking to a photographer and they tell you that they started out working in retail then moved on to a call centre but always had a passion for photography. It is a safe bet that this person has worked with people before, has had some sort of customer services training and can adapt to all sorts of situations.
- Communication: Photographers, like a lot of creatives can be introverts by nature so if you get past this you can realise the true personality of the photographer. If someone is truly interested in doing business with you they will be prompt with their communications over phone, social media email etc. The photographer should also be clear about deliverables such as, how long the project will take, how the images will be delivered and expectations from the client.
A good hotel photography portfolio
Common sense I hear you say? Yes, you are absolutely right why hire a photographer to photograph your hotel without a good portfolio. Portfolios can come in all shapes and forms. Not all photographers are good at graphic design, web design or have the knowledge to build their own website so dont be put off by the technology or they way the portfolio is presented. Some common ways a photographer will present their work to you is shown in the list below. Don’t let a fancy photography website skew your decision making.
How photographers store their photos
- Photography website
- Social media
- Google Drive
- Printed examples
Attention to detail in interior and exterior photography
have you ever been looking at the market, flicking through other hotel websites, blogs, industry blogs or interior design magazines and suddenly you stop at an image that for some reason just catches your eye, it made you stop and take notice. This is likely due to the attention to detail the photographer puts in to making the image. You noticed that I said making the image… a famous photographer (Ansel Adams) once said “You don’t take a photograph, you make it. This is so true for Interior photography and hotel photography.
The end goal for a top quality interior photographer is to produce an image of high enough quality to appear in a magazine or a billboard to attention to detail is key.
Examples of attention to detail in Interior Photography
Knowledge of lighting
A photographer should be able to know how to work with the lighting in a room in order to make the photograph work. If a room is too dark or bright then then photographer should be able to make adjustments to either the environment or they way he or she takes the pictures. Often hotels can be dark in one room and bright in another with a range of lighting in the scene. This can be difficult to capture with one picture. One common method of professional interior photographers is to use HDR or bracketed photographs taken at different exposures. The final result is a combination of 3 or more images showing the complete dynamic range in the shot.
Interior hotel photography composition is key
The composition of an interior photograph is key to guiding the viewer through the image and telling the visual story of the room. Knowing the angle to shoot at, which features to have in the foreground and how to make sure that they viewer isn’t distracted with anything in the picture. This all relates back to basics of a good picture such as leading lines, use of white space, picture depth, balance and colour.
A creative photographer who is able to provide direction
The day of the shoot should be well planned out by both the photographer and the client. The photographer should now know the client well enough and be comfortable enough with the brief that he or she can now go in to full creative and direction mode. In some instances the hotel may have their own designer who has a particular style so it will be a true collaborative effort between the photographer and the design in this instance.
As a hotel manager you want to show off your hotel space in all its glory. However some photographers make the mistake of over using their wide angle lens to try and capture a space. A creative photographer will have a few lenses in his or her kit bag and know when to use each for specific purposes. Wide angle lenses are of course an essential piece of kit however other lenses with different focal lengths can allow the photographer to be creative.
All photographs in this blog have been made by myself (Bernard Ward). I am an Interior Photographer based in Derry Northern Ireland. I have been taking interior and architectural photographs for a range of clients now for the past 6 years. In the past number of years i have specialised in hotel photography as well as interior photography for homes all over Northern Ireland and Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. check below for a list of my clients: