In today’s article I would like to continue talking about the importance of good photography for a hotel or a bed & breakfast. I have reached out to some professional and very talented photographers asking them to share their interior photography tips. I hope the advice below will help some of you improve your photography skills.
You can also read our previous article: Photography Tips for Taking Better Hotel Interior and Architecture Photos.
For me it’s essential to work with Tilt-Shift Lenses.
Wide views with very angular lens can give information but you have to choose very well the point of view so as not to deform objects. These views may not be the most attractive images but are necessary, even if objects in the corners of the frame will suffer from distortion.
With medium lenses you can select what you show and be more intentional in order to transmit the atmosphere.
Try not to position the camera too high, because you will show a large white surface of the bed.
If there are windows you will have to take multiple bracketed shots for lights and shadows and blend them in post. Thin curtains on the windows will help remove brightness in the scene.
Wrinkles are horrible to correct in post, so spend some time arranging the bed and the curtains before starting the shoot.
My personal advice is to ALWAYS take photos with natural light and turn-off the artificial light in the room! This way the image will be more fresh, soft and white!
As for camera lenses, for a good interior photo you will need a wide-angle lenses (16mm – 35mm). The image becomes “open” and you can include more details of the room into the shot.
I think one of the most important tips would be that the photographs should reflect the brand that the hotel wants to portray without being too obvious about it (subtle hints, rather than “in your face” branding).
Another general good tip is that the more input you bring to the table as a client, the better the results will be. I mean, if you brief your photographer really well, this will help her/him to create better results suited to the client’s needs. In other words: the better you explain and the more time you take to explain your photographer what it is you are after, the nicer the end result will be.
This could mean sourcing existing photographic examples, making up drawings of certain angles, telling him/her which areas are important to you, how many shots per room you are after, if the shots should be “horizontal” of “vertical, if the images will be used in a specific layout, if the images are going to be used for print and/or web use, etc…
Don’t force the setting, in most of cases less is better.
Make sure the room is clean and tidy, no stuff around etc. After that, you can add a touch of presence if you wish (example: a breakfast, a pot of coffee and an open magazine, etc). But don’t force the setting, in most of cases less is better.
Shoot as less wide angle as you can. Sometimes we don’t realize we still can step a little backward and use less wide angle. This makes a big difference because wide angles distort interior spaces and it’s better to not overdo it.
Try to catch the best natural light: this make a big difference. A ray of light on the bed is always nice to see. Try to spend some time guessing the best moment for shooting a room according to the sun’s position.
For the night picture, shoot the fully lit building a few minutes before the sky gets completely dark.
If you shoot exteriors, try to shoot both day/night, they both create a different feeling and atmosphere. For the daytime picture, make sure that the sun is in the best complementary way, usually early in the morning is best for shooting exteriors. For the night picture, shoot the fully lit building a few minutes before the sky gets completely dark.
One of the most crucial aspects of hotel photography is styling. A good stylist is part editor, part designer. Someone who can translate the design personality of a hotel.
Lively modern botanical’s and just-right details warm up sterile spaces, making them inviting. Furniture placement is also critical. It’s an art form to compose beautiful photographs, and a strong creative collaboration between photographer and stylist (like the one between Ron Blunt & his wife, Keleigh Swan) results in finely-crafted images of the highest level.
Hotels need to build styling into their photo budgets.
Hotels should feel comfortable, shifting guests’ mood through Architecture & Design. Good design inspires productivity, encourages relaxation, and creates a social vibe. A successful hotel makes a guest feel like he/she is part of something larger: a location, style, or social scene. Photographs must capture this. That means dynamically carving out spaces with well-styled, architectural compositions that reflect the brand.
And, you need nice light! Few photographers are stellar at lighting these days. No one is taught, really.
It takes a lot of lighting to make a room look like it’s not (artificially) lit.
Ron’s background includes formal photographic education in England, and this has served him well. His eye is ultra-sensitive to lighting conditions, but he also has the technical skills required to properly light a space – and to troubleshoot problems as they arise.
In hotels – especially guest rooms, lighting is a big factor. You need a photographer with excellent lighting know-how. Ron says, “It takes a lot of lighting to make a room look like it’s not (artificially) lit.”
The #1 advice would be to hire a professional photographer that knows his/her job.
Tanja’s quick tips for shooting interiors:
- Make sure the room is neat and tidy – this will save time in post-processing.
- Use a wide angle lens.
- Take multiple bracketed photos for post-processing.
- Learn about HDR (High Dynamic Range imaging) for post.
My number one suggestion would be to take the time to involve as much as they can the photographer in the atmosphere of the hotel/b&b/resort. This way the photographer will have a better chance of translating into pictures their idea and their vision.
I think that one of the key takeaways from this article is this: the photography should reflect the value of the business. If you value your business and you provide high value to your customers, then you shouldn’t rely on photos taken with your iPhone or low-resolution photos from 10 years ago. You should update and invest in photography the same way you invest in better sheets, furniture maintenance, etc.