As GM or or Director of Sales and Marketing getting the best hotel photography for your property is key. Maybe you’ve just opened, recently renovated, or maybe you’re in need of social content - whatever you’re need, your hotel photography should reflective this particular need, your brand and your audience, and tell that visual story. This may mean that your hotel photography may be architectural photography, interior photography, travel photography, or lifestyle photography - and likely all of the above to truly get the best hotel photography.
Having worked with hotels around the world from Los Angeles to South Africa, let’s talk insights and prep so you’re not only getting the best hotel photography possible, but it’s an easy and fun experience as well.
Be A Prepared Hotel Marketing Team
Create a shot list. These are your ideal shots - the rooms you need photographed, the food menus you want highlighted, the amenities at the resort guests have to know about.
Discuss with your photographer how (lifestyle marketing campaign, conference/event marketing website, etc) and where you plan on using the photos (online, billboard, etc)
Every photographer has their own eye and distinct style. Understanding the aesthetic you’re after will ease the search for the right hotel photographer. For example, I’m someone who doesn’t like shooting wide angle. It distorts the space, and feels cheap and lacks story. I like to make a room feel spacious AND interesting at the same time.
What’s your timing for the shoot. Do you need photos yesterday? Understand images aren’t typically delivered overnight, so better schedule soon.
Understanding the hotel photography Process
The length of your photoshoot will depending on the size of your shot list and how many moving parts are involved (models, styling). A hotel shoot could be anywhere from 1-3 days. A good rule of for the thumb is to budget about an hour per shot.
Will your shoot require models? How many, and how long are they needed on set? Be sure to discuss this with your photographer as models are an additional expense.
Is your photographer able to style the shoot? Does their pricing include a stylist? With a photoshoot we want to tell the story of your hotel’s brand and the lifestyle that guests can expect to enjoy. Styling is integral. Read more here about why any shoot without styling is incomplete.
A scout visit is another must when it comes to a hotel photoshoot. The photographer will want to understand the various spaces and determine the best lighting for each shot.
Nailing The Hotel Photoshoot And Beyond
Your photographer should have a schedule for the day. This allows your hotel team to stay one step ahead of the photographer and understand where and when to redirect foot traffic. cleaning crews, and more.
Will your photographer be editing the images? It’s important to find out upfront if the shoot pricing includes retouching. There’s nothing worse than being delivered a bunch of images you still can’t immediately.
Discuss the delivery timeline. If your hotel photographer is retouching the images understand that in and of itself is a process. For example, my standard delivery time is around 7-10 days. That, of course, may vary depending on the size of a shoot and/or the urgency of the images.
Curious about my hotel photography? Check out my hospitality portfolio here.
Marni Epstein-Mervis is a hospitality and interiors photographer based in Los Angeles, California. She’s shot for boutique hotels around the world and her work’s been featured by LA Times, Dwell, Domino, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, and more.